Politics & Policy

Dear Readers…

A time-out.

Dear Readers,  

As this drama plays on in Florida, we are caught in an odd situation this morning. No, no, not an odd situation like we woke up in a strange hotel room with Polaroid pictures of us, an ice bucket of coke, and the cast of Barney and friends. But an odd situation nonetheless. We like to feel that we’ve owned if not the election story, than certainly the Florida post-election story. Thanks mostly to the phenomenal work of Chris McEvoy, Kathryn Lopez, and Jessica Kelsey, we’ve averaged more than a dozen articles a day and on some days more than double that. We’ve covered every legal angle, moral angle, political angle and, of course, every single Right angle.

But there’s not much left to say. We don’t like to repeat ourselves. But there’s just not much left to say. The Gore team has now completely discarded any sense of principle. They argue in their Florida supreme court briefs that Judge Sanders Sauls has “rewritten” Florida law, judicially usurping the legislature’s rightful role as the only branch of government charged with that duty. The Gore team now claims it is “unfair” to change the rules after the election. Doesn’t that sound familiar? They claimed for what seemed like an eternity that every vote must be counted, and now they place their hopes on court actions in Seminole and Martin Counties which would throw out some 25,000 votes. Why? Because, county supervisors allowed some applications to be fixed by Republican operatives. This transgression is the equivalent of allowing Republicans to fix the flat tires on get-out-the-vote vans in a municipal parking lot. There is no evidence that any fraudulent votes were cast.

We have run articles from some of the finest conservative legal commentators making these and many other points. But the fact remains that this is no longer — if it ever was — a principled battle between two well-intentioned camps. It is a 16-lawyer steel cage match. We will keep covering all of this, of course, though pace and volume can only keep up with developments. If nothing particularly interesting happens, well, it will be difficult for us to run particularly interesting analysis of those developments. But, Lord knows we will try.

Indeed, it may well be time — like the nascent Bush administration — to start contemplating the transition. What do you think NRO’s post-election agenda should be? Obviously we will be covering this story, the new administration and the Cabinet picking and confirmation process. We are planning on upping the wattage of our political reporting in exciting ways. But what else? What will keep you people refreshing your NRO browsers like a monkey hitting the bar in a cocaine-addiction study? What writers do you feel NRO should throw over the side like Lani Guinier in Clinton’s first term? Which contributors do you feel deserve an extra ladle of gruel on their cafeteria trays come Christmastime?

I would very much like to know these things. Not so much because I value your opinions — but to justify my existence to the suits. Just kidding, I love you guys. This post-election story has been for NRO what the VCR was for the porn industry. We have seen explosive growth and we’d like to keep it, grow it, exploit it, etc. So please send your ideas, suggestions, and criticisms to VoteGFile@aol.com.

Also, you could do me one last favor. I have not written a corrections column in a very long time. As long-time readers know, the corrections columns are a big deal for me. The problem is that I have been too distracted by events personal, professional, and imagined (I went on a long dream quest, hopped up on Nyquil and banana peels about a month ago, more of that later) to keep detailed notes of everything I got wrong. This was really hammered home to me yesterday when I said one of the most moronic things I’ve ever written in a Goldberg File, which is saying a lot. No, I didn’t say that Irving Kristol was a resident of the Stalinist Alcove at City College. No, I didn’t say that Kierkegaard’s leap of faith was made into a Steve Martin movie.

I said that it was important to listen to Paul Begala. I wish I could explain how this happened. All I can do is apologize and promise I will try to never do anything like that again. Just to be clear: It is never important to listen to Paul Begala — unless he has the combination to the safe that holds the antidote to the poison you just swallowed, or something like that.

Anyway, what I’d like from you are corrections. If you’ve sent me a correction in the past that you think was particularly interesting, intelligent or funny, please send it again. It can be about any column I’ve written since the last corrections column which was months ago. I know that most of you don’t save old criticisms you’ve dashed off while the boss was in the bathroom. But if you remember it, please try to reconstruct it and send it along. I will be writing a corrections column soon.

Lastly, thanks again for all the congratulations on my engagement. I stopped trying to answer all of them when the number of congrats-e-mails topped 600. I really appreciate it and I did read them all, which is one of the reasons the column has been posted so late recently.

Ok, the Florida supreme court is about to hear opening arguments. As ever, we promise to be on it like Bill Clinton on a Happy Meal.


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