The Spectacle Blog

The Recount Lingers

By on 11.18.05 | 7:46AM

Near the end of a typically strong column by Daniel Henninger in today’s Wall Street Journal, he makes a point in passing that probably doesn’t get made enough: that the 2000 presidential recount has played a significant role in weakening our national security:

"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in

Washington/>/>/>/> arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency."

It’s hard to believe that the vituperation against President Bush would be quite the same without the backdrop of that election. Most presidents don’t take office with books alleging they stole the presidency on shelves before their inaugurations. The moment that election went into dispute, our adversaries gained an important advantage. Bush went into office with a target on his back, and it would have been similar, though easier, for Gore. We lost more than we know that night. 

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