Gore’s Hollywood Pals Are His Worst Enemies

Some of the good people at Miramax, whose commitment to free

expression and unfettered inquiry stops when reporters start asking

unauthorized questions, have formally requested a Presidential election

do-over. Requested? Oh, no. They demand it in the name of democracy, a form of

government they find pleasant enough when the results coincide with their

beliefs. They have declared themselves to be concerned citizens, interested not

in partisanship but in nobility, honor and decency, and they have described the

possibility that George W. Bush will be elected President as a crisis, a

national emergency.

Would they have been so concerned 40 years ago, when

graveyards were canvassed to help speed John Kennedy to the White House? Not

very likely, although if the company’s biases can be discerned from its

products, a few executives no doubt would have muttered something nasty but

socially acceptable about Kennedy’s taste in church-going.

The Miramax crowd, led by Harvey Weinstein, pummeler of the

free press and celebrator of SUV liberalism, joined with other show-business

types (and some  honorable writers and

trusted academics) in paying for a full-page ad in The New York Times on Nov. 10 that advocated a new Presidential

election in Florida’s Palm Beach County. As members of a group called the

Emergency Committee of Concerned Citizens 2000, scholars and historians like

Rosie O’Donnell, Robert De Niro, Bianca Jagger and Mr. Weinstein cited the

famous electoral precedent of 1876-77, when Congress and the Supreme Court

resolved a Presidential election as disputed as today’s. What a breathtaking

display of knowledge! How I wish I could hear Mr. De Niro or Ms. Jagger explain

the Tilden-Hayes election!

It’s just wonderful that Ms. O’Donnell, Mr. De Niro, Ms.

Jagger, Mr. Weinstein and Nora Ephron are so worried about “the dignity and

legitimacy of American democracy.” No doubt they were similarly exercised about

political dignity when President Clinton was inviting half of Hollywood to

sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom and lying to the country about Monica Lewinsky.

Surely these concerned citizens were outraged at the time and meant to say

something about Mr. Clinton’s deviations from dignity-but, well, they’re busy

people, and they just didn’t get around to it.

It’s a shame that Mr. Weinstein has to resort to mere

argument in trying to influence Presidential politics rather than rely on his

more customary form of asserting his beliefs. Given the nature of the national

emergency, why, who could blame Mr. Weinstein if he flew down to Palm Beach and

placed members of the Florida Election Commission in headlocks until they

agreed to do as he says? No doubt some of his fellow concerned citizens would

applaud such tactics, arguing that in time of national emergency, force is a necessary,

though regrettable, option. Nothing less

than their access to the White House is at stake!

The committee offered no advice on how a new election in

Palm Beach might proceed: Could people who voted for Ralph Nader on Election

Day now change their votes to Mr. Gore? (Well, of course!) If Gore voters are

having second thoughts about their man, based on his actions and the company he

is keeping, could they switch their votes to Mr. Bush? (Of course not! That

wouldn’t be fair!)

Americans live in a mature, stable democracy that needs no

lectures about dignity and legitimacy from committee members like Harold Evans

or Gloria Steinem, no hectoring from celebrities who believe fame imparts

knowledge. Their concern is not that incompetence deprived citizens of their

votes. If it were, surely they would have something to say about the routine

screw-ups that disenfranchise voters by the tens of thousands every year. Like

the Electoral College, ballot-box incompetence is a political reality, and one

that surely is bipartisan. Anybody who has been voting in New York City longer

than a decade probably has a ballot-exclusion story of his or her

own-celebrities, of course, probably vote by absentee ballot, which is a good

deal smoother and doesn’t involve any waiting or dealing with per-diem election

workers.

No, it is not

run-of-the-mill ballot-box blunders that so enrage Rosie, Harvey and others

who’ve hijacked the Democratic Party and liberalism. They simply don’t like the

result. This is a manifestation of Mr. Gore’s infelicitous equation of the

Democrats with good and his opponents with evil. Mr. Gore probably didn’t mean

it. His Hollywood supporters do.

The Hollywood Left has become to the Democratic Party what

the Religious Right is to the Republicans. Mr. Bush made a point of steering

clear of his fundamentalists this year. Mr. Gore, on the other hand, campaigned

with his.

Neither Mr. Gore nor the heads of the Democratic Party

realize that it is one thing to have respected historians and writers argue

your case; it is quite another to have airheads and dilettantes posit

themselves as arbiters of democracy. Speaking as a Gore voter-and one who has

next to nothing in common with the Democratic Party’s self-righteous celebrity

cheerleaders-I’d point out that Republicans have a greater appreciation for the

dignity which so concerns the Emergency Committee of Concerned Citizens. While

one can easily imagine a Republican ad signed by conservative partisans if Mr.

Bush were challenging the Florida results, propriety would exclude endorsements

from the likes of Tom Selleck, Charlton Heston and even Rush Limbaugh.

Conservatives, who are skeptical of the ephemeral, seem less likely to believe

that celebrity merits worship. That may explain the preponderance of Hollywood

types in the Democratic Party. It’s not about ideology; it’s about respect.

If Mr. Gore allows celebrities and Hollywood blowhards to

make his case to the American people, he surely is a loser.