NEW YORK-Comedian Bill Maher is a brilliant contrarian. He dislikes [George W. Bush]. Yet his view of the stolen 2000 election is conventional, ahistorical and quintessentially American: Forget it! Move on! "Oh, Ted," he replied when I mentioned the judicial coup d'etat on his TV show, which aired October 3, 2001. "That's so September 10th. It really is."Bush v. Gore gave us an illegitimate president. Bush presided over an outlaw government. If we sit on our asses, as we've done since that weird, soul-crushing day in late December of 2000, illegality will be hardwired into the U.S. government. The country itself will become, like the Soviet Union and its wonderful freedom-guaranteeing constitution, a caricature of itself. "What is the difference between the constitutions of the USA and USSR? Both guarantee freedom of speech," the old Russian joke went. "Yes, but the Constitution of the USA also guarantees freedom after the speech." A gangster regime presiding over the trappings of law and order is a vicious joke-illegitimate and ultimately doomed.When Charles de Gaulle took over as president of France at the end of World War II, he erased the Vichy regime from the history books. "Vichy is, and remains forever, null and void," he declared. Yale historian Jay Winter explained de Gaulle's reasoning: "Petain's government was de facto, not de jure; therefore, the Republic had not died [in 1940]; it had been usurped by the traitors who had signed the armistice with the Nazis." It's a kind of fiction (Vichy had a stronger case than Bush to be considered legitimate), but defining Vichy as an aberration reaffirmed France's commitment to democracy and the rule of law. Petain was convicted of treason. His death sentence was commuted to life in prison. Hundreds of officials were prosecuted during the postwar epuration (purge). France moved on.
Don't Move On, Start Over
"No one owes obedience to a usurper government or to anyone who assumes public office in violation of the Constitution and the law. The civil population has the right to rise up in defense of the constitutional order. The acts of those who usurp public office are null and void. "-Article 46, Constitution of PeruNEW YORK-Comedian Bill Maher is ...