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It's Gut Check Time
May 1, 2003
By Cliff Schecter

If you have ever engaged in or watched competitive athletics, from elementary school kickball to the NFL, a phrase you have most likely heard when your team is being out-hustled, outplayed and out-thought, is that it is "gut check time." That is the moment when you need to look within to see what you are truly made of, and ponder how important it is for you to do what is necessary to win. The Democratic Party has reached this moment.

The Party of Jefferson has been suffering at the hands of a GOP might makes right machine for the better part of a decade now. These "Mayberry Machiavellians" will do anything to win, do not worry what the Editorial Boards think about their tactics and feel no shame over any hypocrisy that furthers their atavistic agenda. Attack Clinton during the War in Kosovo, impugn the patriotism of any who question Resident Bush during the War in Iraq. Attack Clinton for Monica, look the other way with Newt's cheating on his fist wife. And his second wife. With a Capitol Hill Aide. You know the story.

But as Republicans now prepare for the ultimate in the Nixonian political playbook, holding the Republican Convention in New York, later than ever before and curiously close to the three year anniversary of 9/11 in time and location, we are presented with exactly the gut check opportunity we so desperately need.

Remind me if I am wrong, but surely it was that walking wind-up doll Katherine Harris who "had to" certify the ballots in Florida in 2000, even before all the votes were counted, because that was the rule of law, and course Republicans always have respect for this principle (except when Tom Delay aides on an all expenses paid vacation to Dade Country start a riot to stop vote counting, but that is for another column).

Well the rule of law is not looking so good for the standard bearer of compassionate Creationism this time around. It turns out that holding the Republican National Convention in September poses some logistical problems. Most notably that Bush is not slated to accept the GOP nomination until September 2, 2004.

And according to a recent Washington Post story, "that falls after the deadline for certifying presidential candidates not only in Alabama, but also in California, the District of Columbia and West Virginia." Indiana and Idaho are also on the too late for ballot representation list, but in a surprise move those liberals in Idaho dumped that rule of law thing when it benefited a Republican.

So here is the situation. As any Democrat will win the District of Columbia with upwards of 75% of the vote, we have no problem there. We never had a chance in Idaho, unless we changed our core policy to strengthening militias and preemptively attacking the UN. But in every other state, we should block any attempts to change state laws to accommodate the WASP Corleone crew.

California, a state we will most likely already carry, would become impossible for them if Bush were a write-in candidate. We control both houses of the state legislature there, as well as the Governor's Mansion (at least for now), so if we play the game the way they would, no ballot change law should stand a chance. In West Virginia, a key part of Bush's electoral strategy, we also control everything, and with its Democratic leanings and Bush as a write-in, well, I think we could nail that one down too cause Mr. Rove a little heartburn.

In other states we could force them to play defense spending money and time in usually solid Republican Presidential states. In Alabama, where legislators are already trying to accommodate the Bush brigade, the State Senate and State House are controlled by our guys. We should block an initiative that has already been proposed to change the filing date. In Indiana, a law already sits on the Democratic Governor's desk to accede to the Bush schedule. It must be vetoed.

Lest you still somehow think the opposition would not do the same, let's take a trip back to Florida. Currently, Sunshine State law only requires an individual to file for a Senate race by April of that year, but the Republican State Legislature and Governor what's his name are working on altering that to complicate the Presidential run of Democratic Senator Bob Graham. I know. It's hard to believe a Bush is playing politics and not respecting the rule of law.

So let me say it once again. It's gut check time. After impeachment, the Florida debacle, the Supreme Court heresy, the attacks on the patriotism of veterans such as Tom Daschle and Max Cleland for electoral gain, and now a convention timed to reap the rewards of people's pain around the nation, it is time for us to finally realize that the ends justify the means, and do what is necessary to end the long national nightmare we are currently living through.

Cliff Schecter is a Democratic Consultant and political columnist for UPI.

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