It is worse than painful to reflect on how much better off the United States and the world would be today if the outcome of the 2000 election had been permitted to correspond with the wishes of the electorate. The attacks of September 11, 2001, would likely not have been avoided, though there is ample evidence, in the 9/11 Commission report and elsewhere, that Gore and his circle were far more alert to the threat of Islamist terrorism than Bush and his. But can anyone seriously doubt that a Gore Administration would have meant, well, an alternate universe, in which, say, American troops were sent on a necessary mission in Afghanistan but not on a mistaken and misbegotten one in Iraq; the fate of the earth, not the fate of oil-company executives, was the priority of the Environmental Protection Agency; civil liberties and diplomacy were subjects of attention rather than of derision; torture found no place or rationale?Here are two more incisive lines from the column:
In increasing numbers, poll results imply, Americans are disheartened by the real and existing Presidency, and no small number also feel regret that Gore—the winner in 2000 of the popular vote by more than half a million ballots, the almost certain winner of any reasonable or consistent count in the state of Florida—ended up the target of what it is not an exaggeration to call a judicial coup d’état. Justice Antonin Scalia routinely instructs those who question his vote in Bush v. Gore to stop their ceaseless whinging. “It’s water over the deck,” he told an audience at Iona College last month. “Get over it.” But it is neither possible nor wise to “get over it.” The historical damage is too profound.
Gore’s critiques of the Administration’s rush to war in Iraq and of the deceptions used to justify it were early, brave, and correct. On the issue of climate change, of course, he has exercised visionary leadership.Take a look, this is a must read.