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Saturday, April 30, 2005

The best President they never had 

Robert Stanfield was often described as the best prime minister Canada never had.
Well, I think its fairly clear that the United States also has a near-miss best president. There have been lots of losing presidential candidates in the US over the last 50 years, from Hubert Humphery to Bob Dole. But the one that stands head and shoulders above the rest, the one they missed by a single vote, was Al Gore.
His recent speech, An American Heresy, just demonstrates again how much they missed. Gore has a rare political ability to frame issues in a way the media and the public accept without even recognizing who is doing them this service -- the politics of fear speech, the global warming speech, the ideological Bushspeech. Now, he is doing it again with the heresy speech:
. . . if the justices who formed the majority in Bush v. Gore had not only all been nominated to the Court by a Republican president, but had also been confirmed by only Republican Senators in party-line votes, America would not have accepted that court's decision. Moreover, if the confirmation of those justices in the majority had been forced through by running roughshod over 200 years of Senate precedents and engineered by a crass partisan decision on a narrow party line vote to break the Senate's rules of procedure—then no speech imaginable could have calmed the passions aroused in our country. As Aristotle once said of virtue, respect for the rule of law is "one thing." It is indivisible. And so long as it remains indivisible, so will our country. But if either major political party is ever so beguiled by a lust for power that it abandons this unifying principle, then the fabric of our democracy will be torn. The survival of freedom depends upon the rule of law. The rule of law depends, in turn, upon the respect each generation of Americans has for the integrity with which our laws are written, interpreted and enforced.
Yes, Al, that's exactly what is at stake.

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