INSIDE THE BELTWAY: Resolving to be better: there are plenty of lessons to be learned from Election 2000

The blame for the debacle that was Election 2000 can be heaped happily upon many recipients. But the media, after undeniably affecting the eventual outcome by all but crowning George W. Bush in the wee hours of November 8, can certainly take the lion's share.

The blame for the debacle that was Election 2000 can be heaped happily upon many recipients. But the media, after undeniably affecting the eventual outcome by all but crowning George W. Bush in the wee hours of November 8, can certainly take the lion's share.

The blame for the debacle that was Election 2000 can be heaped happily upon many recipients. But the media, after undeniably affecting the eventual outcome by all but crowning George W. Bush in the wee hours of November 8, can certainly take the lion's share.

So in the spirit of the New Year, a new Congress and a new President, I, as a guilty political reporter, am making several resolutions. First of all, I resolve to take President-elect George W. Bush at his word that he will be a 'uniter, not a divider.' After all, 'W' has already appointed two African-Americans and one Hispanic to his inner circle and he is certain to convince at least one Democrat that he is striving for bipartisanslip.

I mean bipartisanship.

I resolve to believe that Senator-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton has no presidential pretensions for 2004. Even if Hillary gives up her Chappaqua home to move to the tony DC neighborhoods of Kalorama or Georgetown, I'm sure she'll maintain a Manhattan address.

And there is nothing devious in the freshman Senator taking an unprecedented dollars 8 million advance for her tell-all book that is slated to be published conveniently in 2003.

Thirdly, I resolve never to cover another car chase on live television, unless the car bears O.J. Simpson. Even Simpson said the image of a Ryder truck bearing pregnant chads on their way to Tallahassee was boring.

In a story that favored television over all other media, the talking heads-turned-legal analysts on the 24-hour news channels earned plaudits for at times intelligent commentary of the presidential soap opera (MSNBC's Dan Abrams), and at other times less than insightful analysis (Fox News' Rita Cosby, who took forever to figure out that the Supreme Court had not handed Al Gore the presidency).

Their ratings were sky high during the presidential 'crisis,' which left newspapers and even the futuristic Internet behind in the dust. The Web couldn't capture the surreally anachronistic images of Florida canvassing boards holding under-votes up to the light. Even so, I don't think I want to be a television commentator for a living.

But in what will surely be my hardest resolution to keep, I promise to stop calling Vice President-elect Dick Cheney 'Big Time' around the newsroom, despite the fact that Bush himself and even Cheney's security detail have taken to using the apt nickname.



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