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Rosalea Barker: One Shot Deal Don't Matter

The superstitious among us say things come in threes, so I wonder if Al Gore is at home in the VP mansion listening to his Van Morrison collection, trying to choose a soundtrack for his concession speech. Russell Crowe and Don Johnson both searched their very soul to the Van Man's tunes today in San Francisco - Crowe in the movies at the Century in the Marina district, and Johnson on the small screen in "Nash Bridges", that lifeblood of SF extras.

Hell, I don't know what Al's musical tastes are but things sure took a left turn this morning, with the US Supreme Court granting a stay to the Bush team. In the Caravan Cafe on Chestnut Street the brunch talk was of how Gore is his own worst enemy, secretly not really wanting to be President. Seinfeld psychology aside, one TV channel is now reporting that there'll be no president sworn in on 20 January, just an acting president in the form of the leader of the House of Representatives. What a rich irony that would be. It's like the big kids fighting over the new toy so much that their mom gave it to their cousin instead.

So, for spoiled children everywhere I present this cautionary tale:

The Veep was in his counting house, counting all his chads, Riling up the brothers Bush and countless moms and dads, Protesters roamed the city streets, calling for a halt To undervotes and overvotes, and the rubbing in of salt.

The governors of This and That declared that Bush had won, "That isn't so," the Veep replied, "so go and bite your thumb." (He would have said much worse than that, but well-up was he brung.)

The lawyers were all out in force, their pockets filling fast, The coffers for both Bush and Veep were gasping their last gasp. "Oh friends", they cried "Desert me not, 'tis I who'll win this prize." But all around the Dems and Reps were rubbing tear-filled eyes:

"We want to win some votes ourselves, next time that we all stand For public office in the states comprising this fair land. Oh can't you see your selfishness is costing us our jobs, Not to mention all the funds the lobbyists have lobbed?"

And so it was, and rightly so, that on the sixtieth day Of claim and oral argument, opinion, appeal and stay, Neither of the candidates got to be the one To get the big red button that fires the final gun.

Yeah, OK I won't give up my day job to write poetry, but I reckon my doggerel is as good as the next person's. It's just that ending I've got trouble with. According to "When No Majority Rules" by Michael J. Glennon (in PDF on the web at if it comes down to a vote in the House and no presidential candidate receives 26 votes by January 20th but the new vice president has been elected, he becomes acting president until the president IS elected by the House. And since the current Veep will be the tie-breaking vote in the new 50-50 Senate, where the new vice president is elected, doesn't that mean Joe Lieberman will be president?

Then again, I sure hope for Al Gore's sake that he never riled the boss's wife. In an editorial written before the election a local reporter in the Berkeley Daily Planet gave us his grandmother's predictions for the outcome. Only one person has a face with the right feng shui, she said. Dick Cheney.

Lea Barker
Saturday 9 December PT

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