Bush Leads: Be Very Afraid
by Ari Armstrong, November 27, 2000
Finally, it appears that not even outright election fraud could cut Bush's lead sufficiently to hand victory to Gore. Even though Democratic election officials tried to second-guess voters' intent on so-called "dimpled" or "pregnant chads," Bush eked out a slim victory in Florida and picked up official certification (for whatever that's worth).
That may be a terrible outcome for those who favor freedom and a constrained federal government.
Sure, assuming Bush maintains his lead through the court challenges, we'll have a president who lost the popular vote, which should be excellent from the standpoint of gridlock. However, Bush campaigned on his ability to "cross the aisle" and "bring people together." He's a "uniter, not a divider." Unfortunately, the only thing unity is good for in Washington, DC is passing more socialism.
If Gore had finally won, he would have been loathed by half the population. Unlike Clinton, Gore actually cares about his policies beyond how they will affect his popularity. That means Gore would have proposed legislation consistent with his big-government world view, which would have been shot down by the Republican Congress. An unpopular Gore would assure gridlock.
Bush, on the other hand, will likely tuck tail and run to the left when the criticism starts. We in Colorado have already seen what happens when a centrist Republican leader presides over a Republican legislature. Governor "Gun Control" Bill Owens strong-armed Republicans into voting for statist legislation like no Democrat could have done. Federally, Republicans will feel duty-bound to support proposals from Bush that would have earned contemptuous laughter if offered by Gore. Bush's proposals may not be quite as far-reaching as Gore's would have been, but they are much more likely to be passed into law.
To make matters worse, Bush is now widely perceived to be the victim of leftist lawyers and judges who are trying to steal the election for Gore. Indeed, I have heard from several sources the specter of "blood running in the streets" should Gore finally win. This kind of emotional investment in a demonstrably statist politician is unhealthy. I can already hear the apologists covering for Bush's big-government initiatives.
Even though Bush adopted the rhetoric of "smaller government," let us not forget that ALL of his proposals would make government bigger and more powerful. While it's true that the presidential election manifests a cultural rift in this country, Bush is only a proxy for the "give me liberty" side of that divide (much as Clinton is a proxy for feminism).
How does Bush want to expand federal control over our lives? Let us count the ways. Bush told the Denver Post that he wants universal Brady registration checks at gun shows. With the support of both Bush and Owens, the disarmament lobby had little difficulty persuading Colorado voters that expanded Brady checks are "reasonable." Even though Colorado law allows parents and educators to protect the children in their care with concealed handguns (though the right is highly restricted), Bush said he would prohibit the practice. In fact, the Democrats quoted Bush's support of more disarmament laws in their hit-mail pieces that won them control of the Colorado Senate.
In education, Bush wants to further federalize the industry. Bush also wants to hand control over part of the stock market to the federal government. Let's get something straight: we aren't "privatizing" Social Security if we're replacing it with mandatory savings accounts, regulated by the federal government, as Bush has called for.
Has anyone ever heard Bush try to give a Constitutional defense of his call for federalized gun control, education, and investment? Of course not -- because no such defense exists. I almost choked when I heard Al Gore talk about how much he respects the Constitution, but Bush is hardly a greater champion for the principles of limited government.
The best-case scenario for this election would have been for Bush to win the popular vote but Gore to win the electoral vote. Perhaps as good would be a Gore victory mired in legal wrangling and perceived to be fraudulent. A Bush victory given present circumstances is rife with danger. The freedom advocates who have taken to the streets in support of Bush may learn in a very intimate way the wisdom of those old words: Be careful what you wish for.