The following two articles are about the Gore presidential bid. As the reader can quickly discern the first of the two "The Fix Is In" was written just prior to the November 2000 vote while the second article, The November Surprise was written after the final judicial decisions in January 2001.
Ten years ago Republican Congressman Bill Dannemeyer gave an historic address in Eureka, California. He warned his listeners of the emergence of a new political party in America "in some ways more powerful than the combined clout of the Democratic Party ad the Republican Party - the environmental party." As one who disagrees with the former Congressman on practically everything else I must say he was on to something here.
He was, of course, hyperbolizing. The environmental movement is not an official political party. It holds no general conventions, it has no official membership, it has no fixed party platform, nor is it registered in any state.
On the other hand, every environmental non-governmental organization is a political campaigning organization. There are now upwards of 10,000 legally incorporated, professionally staffed, environmental NGOs inside the United States. Scores of these organizations such as Sierra Club, National Audubon Society, World Wildlife Fund (USA), Natural Resources Defense Council, and Greenpeace, have annual budgets in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars and have hundreds of full time employees each. Even the smallest "Save the Whatever River" enviro-NGOs relentlessly churn out propaganda, engage the public, seek new recruits, and pursue legislative change. My estimate is that cumulatively the American environmental movement is bread and butter for about 50,000 to 100,000 political workers.
As well, anyone who believes there is no established party platform within the eco-movement would do well to survey the websites of the worlds' top 40 enviro-organizations. What one will uncover is a massive, integrated propaganda network distributing freight train loads of monotonously uniform Neo-Malthusian, Neo-Pagan, Neo-Luddite, and apocalyptic balderdash. There is a party line and a party press.
The movement also has a broader degree of organizational centralization than most people realize. Whereas the seemingly disparate local eco-activist groups number in the thousands these groups are financially dependant on, and are in the control of, about 100 funding agencies. These agencies consist principally of about three dozen private philanthropic initiatives supplemented by an ever larger, ever more activist EPA. (The cavalry of Young Turks in the Secretary of the Interior portfolio also merit mention.) Basically, when Carol Browner, Bruce Babbitt, Ted Turner, Steven C. Rockefeller, and William Clay Ford Jr. sit down to a power lunch, the executive of the "environmental movement/party" has convened.
Getting certain persons elected to public office is a principal preoccupation with most modern political parties and the "environmental movement/party" is no exception. This year the "Environmental Movement/Party" candidate for President is Al Gore.
The singular feature distinguishing Al Gore from his flock of fellow politicians has been his passionate commitment to environmentalism. He hit the deck running as a junior congressman in the early 1970's leading hearings into waste disposal controversies. According to his promoters Gore "fought side-by-side with the League of Conservation Voters" to establish the Superfund for cleaning up real and alleged toxic waste dumpsites. Gore is also credited with the Clinton/Gore accomplishment of using the Superfund to clean up three times more toxic sites than the two previous administrations combined. (Never mind that most the money coming through the Superfund goes to lawyers and administrators - dump trucks are such dirty, noisy things.) The Clinton/Gore administration is also credited with having created 13 new national parks and in so doing have kicked the last air of original intent out of the Antiquities Act. But what more evidence of his dedication to the green crusade is needed beyond his writing of the ponderous and radical eco-tome "Earth in the Balance".
Does the "Environmental Movement/Party" support Al Gore? Does the sacred bear do you-know-what in the fragile forest? On February 14th over 100 leading environmentalists and a few eco-celebrities endorsed Gore's candidacy with a Valentines for the Planet event. Ten days later 75 of Florida's leading ecos came out in favor of Gore at a gala that included eulogies from Carol Browner (head of EPA) and Eric Draper (National Audubon Society). At the end of the same month Bobby Kennedy Jr. and his colleagues at the Natural Resources Defence Council released as list of 1,000 prominent 'Environmentalists for Gore'. Less than a week later Gore was endorsed in a letter from 20 leading members of the California League of Conservation Voters including the League chairman even though the group had a policy of not making endorsements during the primaries. Since then Gore has been formally endorsed by the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, League for Conservation Voters and numerous lesser entities.
So what does the support of the "environmental movement/party" entail? Well, the LCV alone is boasting a $6 million war chest for this election so the total amounts moving from the overall eco-scene to influence this election would have to be counted in the scores of millions. And thousands of professional eco-activists have no doubt already transferred their labors to aiding Gore.
But it is the intangibles that matter more. Intangibles like support from the over 1,000 working journalists on the Society for Environmental Journalists membership list. Or the support from the tens of thousands of "environmental educators" connected to the North American Association of Environmental Educators. Or the support of the hundreds of television writers affiliated with the Environmental Media Association. Or the support of the 135,000 priests, rabbis and ministers who for several years have been receiving regular eco-theological literature, endorsed by their religious hierarchies, through the profoundly successful National Religious Partnership on the Environment. The LCV claims to represent and influence America's 9 million environmentalists and conservationists. The NRPE claims to be able to reach an audience over ten times that size.
The religious support may be key. Gore himself has made no secret of his own religious bend of mind and has personally endorsed the work of the NRPE. Like other eco-theologians Gore has openly framed his commitment to environmentalism in hard-to-reason-with religious terminology. He refers to parks as "holy land". He refers to the earth as "God's planet" and he repeatedly deploys the eco-theological concept of being of one substance with God's creation and as such of being a mutual martyr in its desecration.
If victorious Gore promises an "Environmental Decade" of more parks and wilderness and much less oil and gas drilling. He likes high energy prices. He plans to channel many more billions than his predecessor into land acquisitions for preservation. He wants a restored wilderness, a roadless wilderness. He wants to push the global warming crusade around the world (yes, Al is also a member of the Flat Temperature Society) and he wants to use perceived ecological degradation as grounds for foreign intervention.
Al Gore's shade of green is more radical than the vast majority of Americans, including the business leaders, are comfortable with; yet the "environment" has not been a major issue in this election. This is because the "Environmental Movement/Party" has a substantial fifth column within the Republican Party. The group, Environmental Defense, wrote Bush's enviro-platform and the Governor has made numerous efforts to win the affection of the greens but to no avail. Bush was even assailed by greenshirts within the Texan Republican Party -- showing where their true loyalties lie.
So the fix is in. This election is all about an environmentalist seizure of power but the general public has yet to be informed of this let alone be treated to an actual debate about its merits.
The facts are incontrovertible. Al Gore is an eco-zealot. The environmental movement is united in praise around candidate Gore. The environmental movement is the main driving camp within Gore's presidential bid. Over the last 35 years the environmental movement has become so large, institutionalized and centralized that it must be considered, for all intents and purposes, a third party in this election. And it is their candidate Al Gore, also doubling as the Democratic Party candidate, who is the favorite to win. Uneasy lies the head.
Let us be perfectly clear about what just happened. Certain persons attempted to attain the executive positions of the US federal government by means other than a victory in a lawful public election. In general parlance this is known as a "coup" or a "putsch". The tactics of this putsch involved the launching of several spurious lawsuits combined with mass media manipulation, public demonstrations, and intense backroom elite lobbying. The goal was the overthrow of a lawfully elected president. The accused are Al Gore, William Daley, Warren Christopher, Joe Lieberman and about two dozen others.
In the wee hours of election night Al Gore crossed his Hellespont by ordering the DNC high command to overturn the results of the Florida election. At that time, Bush was ahead by 1500 votes and could plan on extending his lead by at least several hundred more once the military ballots were counted. The rain soaked true-believers who had waited into the Tennessee night to hear Gore's concessional began to chant "Recount, Recount" at around 3:00 a.m. Civil disobedience broke out among Florida Democrat election officials. Gore supporters claiming racial discrimination in the voting process occupied public buildings in Tallahassee. The "butterfly" lawsuits soon fluttered in.
In no jurisdiction in the modern parliamentary or republican world is a losing candidate in a public election allowed an infinite, or even an indeterminate, number of ballot counts. Everywhere there is a fixed number of counts and for obvious reasons. Who is to say the most recent count is the most accurate? Had the Supremes sang Al's song the other night, and had the Tallahassee sťance into voter intent continued further to divine Gore winner by a single vote, his legal team would have broken outdoor track records running back to Florida Attorney General's Ms. Harris's offices for an autograph. But wouldn't Dubya then start squawking for a recount of his own? What then, best out of five? No, it is common sense, unless the losing candidate is alleging some major fraud affecting the recount, the recount is the last count.
Up here, we have a legal phrase "frivolous and vexatious litigation" which basically means the improper use of the civil courts to harass and/or financially hurt someone through targeting them with ridiculous lawsuits. It's generally not considered a crime but it can fetch you some gymdandy legal bills. But then again it is not generally deployed as a means of seizing power.
Mass demonstrations play some role in every seizure of power but here they were only dabbled in. It was a remarkable degree of restraint given the lieutenants of this aborted coup were veteran organizers of scores of past mass mobilizations and even mass acts of civil disobedience. Gore, presumably feared the backlash from polite society to a "Tassle in Tallahassee" along the lines of a "Battle in Seattle". So, there was some evidence of demonstrations of up to a few thousand protestors and some evidence of mass bussing-in of protesters etc. but this tactic was held in reserve. (Although it was definitely hinted at by Gore on national television.) The principle theatres of struggle were not the streets but the judges' chambers and the executive suites of the American media oligopoly.
From time to time during the 5 week power play the focus would be on the impending decision of a judge yet the topic was ever-changing. For the first few days after the first count the talk was all about "butterfly" ballots. Warren Christopher called the ballots illegal. The "dimpled chad" was just being born as the "butterfly" began weaving its legal chrysalis. And we still have ongoing litigation about both racist discrimination and about fraud relating to separate matters hitherto not adjudicated on by the Supreme Court. The Gorites simply let loose a flurry of litigation and combined this with intense public relations work and behind-the-scenes persuasion. The goal was to politicize the judiciary and handover the determination of the entire election to a pressurized Supreme Court. It was a long shot to begin with and it did not work.
How improvisational this endeavor was is debatable. The pre-election journalism lists up to twelve states as "key, battleground" states. These were states with close races and significant electoral college seats. The top three "battleground states" mentioned were Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida, with Florida having the most seats. So it was forecastable going into the last few weeks of the election campaign that the presidency could turn on a contestably close race in either of these three states, most likely Florida. What kind of contingency plans and traps had been prepared in advance only the historians of the future will discern.
The triggering event of this historic crisis will not be hard to discern. This was the near tie in the election. As the pollsters tell us public opinion can change significantly over the course of a week of political campaigning. Thus had the election been held three days earlier or later one of the two major candidates could have indisputably won both the popular vote and the electoral college. A near tie is on the other hand, not a suspiciously rare occurrence either, with the last century producing several examples of very close major election results.
The interesting thing here is not the trigger but the combustible matter into which the firing pin was thrust. Had it been another political party we might have had a nail-biter until the official recount was over, then a tearful concession. But another party might not have thrown several sacks of soldiers' ballots into the drink. No, this political party smelled blood and attacked. That is because Al Gore was not just running for President as head of the Democratic Party he was also running as leader of the "Environmental Movement Party". And the tactics and anti-democratic intent of the November surprise were clearly theirs.
As my pre-election submission "The Fix is In" explained; Al Gore is the most environmentally committed modern major politician in the world. His green politics are extreme. Read his book. To have a politician like Gore in the White House would have been a godsend for the international environmental movement. The movement could then grow past new thresholds of hegemony. The environmental movement will not get a serious presidential candidate so firmly of their feather for at least twenty years. He was their Constantine. To them, and only them, was this struggle a tragedy for on few other issues other than eco-issues were the candidates' views really distinguishable.
Senators and congressmen should heed this call. All around them green waters have grown. The environmental movement is a highly centralized and explicitly political crusade receiving in excess of $10 billion per year from elite and state sources. With the help of the EPA the North American Association of Environmental Educators helps coordinate and prepare the curricula for the over fifty thousand public education instructors currently teaching "Environmental Education". The National Partnership of Religion and the Environment boasts it can have environmentalist messages delivered via weekly neighborhood religious sermons to over 100 million Americans. The Society of Environmental Journalists now claims over one thousand working journalists as active members. The international environmental movement, including many organizations that barely existed at the beginning of Clinton/Gore period, participated in the most recent election as they never have before, spending scores of millions and lending the labors of thousands of their professional activists.
The overlap between European environmentalism and European fascism is as wide as the Atlantic. For one thing, the Italian, but particularly the German variant, of classical fascism were both virulently ecological in propaganda and practice. For another, the remnants of feudalism, the titled, large-estate owners of Europe are now playing the same central leadership roles in modern environmentalism as many of their parents and grandparents did during classical European fascism. For another, many of Europe's openly fascist political parties in Italy, Germany, and Russia have had equally open policies of encouraging their legions to join and activate local environmental groups with some of these infiltration programs having been in effect for over thirty years. With a few exceptions the American environmental elite is not so easily connected to fascism but the political records of some of our captains of industry do fit the bill. As well, there are at least four clear campaigns of fascist infiltration of the American eco-movement going on right now.
It was onto this combustible admixture that the firing pin of political opportunity did knock. That the Gorites lurched for a damn-the-torpedoes putsch of protest, propaganda and judicial politicization should not come as any surprise. The good news is that the Republic was not overrun and Americans can thank their lucky stars for people like James Baker. The bad news is that I do recall a five/four decision back there which meant we were just a whisper away from the whole card castle of republican constitutional rule of law collapsing.
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