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Concession met with split reaction

When all was said and done, the 2000 presidential election essentially came down to nine votes.

Those critical votes from the highest court in the land Tuesday night dashed any hopes of candidate Vice President Al Gore’s pulling off a recount in Florida – the hotspot for a nation captivated by the collision of politics and law for the last five weeks.

In South Shore resident Sherry Eddy’s eyes, the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic decision that led to Gore’s concession was long overdue because the vote Gore sought but couldn’t get was one of “sympathy” from the public.



“I think it went on too long. Gore was trying to fight for something that wasn’t there,” Eddy said of one in four presidential candidates in history to win the popular vote and lose the electoral college. “He tried to take away from Bush’s win.”

Like some other South Lake Tahoe residents, Eddy – glad the race is over – is not disappointed in the outcome.



“I’m all for people putting up a good fight,” she said, marking her breaking point at Gore’s first call for a recount. “But he should peacefully let it go.”

There are dissenting opinions from the lake.

“I feel it’s very unfair. I personally feel it’s all a put-up deal,” Opal Shaeffer said, implying unethical behavior related to the political maneuvering and legal wrangling.

The South Lake Tahoe resident took issue with the butterfly ballot, the focal point in West Palm Beach County, Florida, that Gore supporters believe took away votes from their candidate.

In an act of diplomacy, El Dorado County Republican Central Committee Chairman John Stelzmiller said he understood the fight Gore made.

“We would have done the same,” Stelzmiller said, also suggesting that now the heat is on Bush.

“Republicans haven’t been this close to controlling all three elements (of government) since 1954,” he said, referring to the House, Senate and White House.

Can the Republicans expect a revenge vote in 2002 halfway through Bush’s first term?

“No. I think Bush is probably one of our finer diplomats who can pull both sides of the aisle together,” Stelzmiller said.

El Dorado County Democratic Central Committee Chairman Ron Goben disagrees.

“I expect a strong vote in 2002 for Democrats. Whether it will be a revenge vote or not, I don’t know. It depends on how Bush handles the presidency,” Goben said.

The Democrat called the Supreme Court’s ruling that rejected recounts as “a blatantly partisan decision.”

University of Southern California law professor Erwin Chemerinsky insisted that, to some degree, at least 49 million Americans who voted for Gore may think that.

“The vast majority (Wednesday) believe the Supreme Court acted in a partisan way,” Chemerinsky said, suggesting the high court was tarnished with its stacked record of Republican appointments.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, said she was heartbroken by the high court’s decision, an opinion that “undermines a core democratic principle – that every vote counts and every vote must be counted.”

“I am also perplexed that the court sent the case back to the Florida Supreme Court for further proceedings on the recount, since it did so while also suggesting that time had run out for the recount. That suggestion is disingenuous,” Boxer said in an issued statement.

Chemerinsky, a constitutional law expert, considered this move a technicality by the court.

There could have been more volatile results if the race continued any further, according to leading Republicans.

“I think it’s clear that if the Supreme Court didn’t make any definitive decision like (that of Tuesday) night, Congress would have been involved,” said Richard Robinson, spokesman for U.S. Congressman John Doolittle, R-Roseville.

Robinson said the District 4 representative was very pleased with the decision from the court that ruled “the absence of standards (by the Florida Supreme Court ordering recounts) denied equal protection.”

“I think the court did its job in doing what the law had established,” South Lake Tahoe resident Larry Kiger said, wrapping up a telephone call with his mother from Florida.

“I’m teaching her how to vote,” he quipped in a lighter sentiment shared by both parties.

“It’s now time to work to accomplish what both parties promised during the campaign, including adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, strengthening our schools, passing a strong patients’ bill of rights and reforming our campaign finance laws,” U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said in an issued statement.


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