We’ve all felt it, although not all of us are at the same stage of coping. Tammy and I have reached stage five, i.e. acceptance; what she describes as the “weird, hostile, paranoid remarks I got from what’s called the Fredhead base” indicates a mindset still trapped in stage two — anger. Most of HA’s resident Fredheads seem still to be trapped in stage one. I fear for them come Thursday. Try to at least get to stage three before the results start trickling in, guys, just to cushion the blow.

What’s up with Beckel getting all snotty here with TB? I thought he was one of the “good” Democrats. Exit question: If Fred finishes a distant third, does he drop out on Friday and endorse McCain? He could barely afford that new ad in Iowa; how’s he going to pay for ads in South Carolina if he stays in?

Update: See-Dub indulges the Fredhead within. He’s mostly right about the “fire in the belly” crap — it’s a weak knock, but it’s not coming from nowhere. Such was the hype for Fred this past spring that anything short of Reagan II was bound to disappoint. Criticizing him for lacking “fire in the belly” is just a sort of catch-all, I think, for the overall disappointment most people feel in him.

Update (Bryan): I don’t know where this myth of Bob Beckel being one of the “good” Democrats came from, but it’s not grounded in reality. After the Florida debacle in 2000, Beckel wanted to continue the struggle for the presidency by “persuading” electors whose votes were committed to Bush to switch to Gore. And by “persuading,” I actually mean blackmailing.

* Worst of all, as the Wall Street Journal reported on its front page on November 16, Walter Mondale’s former campaign manager, Bob Beckel, launched an intelligence operation to explore the backgrounds of Republican members of the Electoral College.

“It is information gathering on my part, using my own network” Beckel confessed. “I call on mostly Democrats, but some Republicans, too, and ask, ‘Who are these electors, and what do you know about them?’ I just wanted to know who these electors are.”

Blackmail anyone?

Just three defections from Bush’s 271 electors would secure Al Gore the Oval Office. It’s hard to believe that at least three of these mortals have not cheated on their spouses, cheated on their taxes or sniffed some cocaine here or there. Perhaps their grown children are engaged in behavior they would rather maintain as family secrets. If Beckel can find three such patriots between now and December 18 — when electors vote — who would “put country ahead of party, in the name of national unity,” Al Gore could win the White House after all. As the Journal reported December 8, Florida police were informed of an e-mail to one elector that stated, “We know where you live.”

Three defections would have done the job, and Beckel would have stolen the election for Gore by using very extracurricular means. He’s not one of the “good Democrats.” He’s a snake. I wish Tammy would have clocked him.