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If this weren't all so sad, it would be funny. There's a paradox a minute popping through the scenery, a hypocrite on every corner, and the rest of us are just stuck here, waiting for the train wreck to, er, unwreck.

• For instance, how could George W. ever have guessed that the law he just signed in Texas about giving preference to manual recounts would come back so soon to bite him on the ass?

• How could Al Gore have guessed that losing his home state of Tennessee could cost him the election? Obviously he didn't, because he barely campaigned there.

• It's the Republican Party which warned about "putting the process in the courts", and yet they are the party which has done so. Even more amusing, they are the ones who say "Things are better handled at the state level, when it comes to education, abortion, and so on". And now they have gone to Federal Court to block a recount in a state election.

• The Democrats, of course, have little virtue here. "We only want to count the votes", they say, even while they snicker that they were clever enough to request recounts in the Democratic counties, while the Republicans let the deadlines pass in the Republican ones.

• Ralph Nader, who started off saying "I am not a spoiler" finished up by saying "I am a not a spoiler, if Gore weren't so incompetent people would vote for him and not me" and now says "Clearly Gore won against the rabid reactionary policies of the right-wing Bush campaign." How's that again?

• Pat Buchanan, one of the most partisan of politicians, gave forth a burst of non-partisanship when he admitted what the Bush campaign cannot, that it looks as though many people who voted for Buchanan actually meant to vote for Gore.

• People who presumably can play 30 bingo cards at once in a fast-paced game against hundreds of competitors now complain that they cannot understand how to vote a butterfly ballot when there is no time limit and there are people all around to help.

• Now we find out that "machine counting" can be off by as much as 2-5% on every count, and up 'til now, that's been OK. It certainly gives me confidence about the scanners at the supermarket, I'll say. And about that SAT score I used to be so proud of.

• Early on the Bush team urged Gore to concede, even before all the votes were tallied. Now they want to wait for the overseas ballots to come in. But they don't want the machine votes counted by hand, even though the overseas ballots must be.

• All the TV folks tee-heed for decades about that famous headline in the Chicago Tribune: "Dewey Wins!" Then they called Florida for Gore. Then they didn't. They they called the election for Bush. Then they didn't. Maybe they won't laugh at the Tribune quite so much anymore. Maybe they'll even rethink their own policies!

• The Electoral College was set up because the Founding Fathers didn't trust the passions of the public. So they set in place a "check and balance" to make sure that "electors" could vote their conscience and ignore party dictates, or even the voters! Now those people who most often preach about "The Founding Fathers" are aghast at the idea that a couple of electors might vote their conscience, and tip the election.

• The son of Mayor Richard Daley, widely credited with electing JFK by "helping" with the Chicago election, is now trying to unsteal, or steal (depending on your point of view) the election for Al Gore. What was that they say? History repeats itself?

• Politicians raised, and spent a billion dollars on this election. And you thought the dot-com bubble was a bust!

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