Al Gore: Democracy is in danger. I agree. In fact, I do not think the case can be stated strongly enough: the precedent set by Bush v. Gore in the first place has placed us on such a dangerous, dangerous road. I'm pleased to see recognition of that, (see my next link).
That the most serious threat to democracy is usually the accumulation of too much power in the hands of an executive, whether he be a king or a president. Our ingrained American distrust of concentrated power has very little to do with the character or persona of the individual who wields that power. It is the power itself that must be constrained, checked, dispersed and carefully balanced, in order to ensure the survival of freedom. In addition, our founders taught us that public fear is the most dangerous enemy of democracy because under the right circumstances it can trigger the temptation of those who govern themselves to surrender that power to someone who promises strength and offers safety, security and freedom from fear.
AUDIENCE GASPS AS JUDGE LIKENS ELECTION OF BUSH TO RISE OF IL DUCE. 2nd Circuit’s Calabresi Also Compares Bush’s Rise to That of Hitler.
“In a way that occurred before but is rare in the United States…somebody came to power as a result of the illegitimate acts of a legitimate institution that had the right to put somebody in power.That is what the Supreme Court did in Bush versus Gore. It put somebody in power,” said Guido Calabresi, a judge on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which sits in Manhattan.
“The reason I emphasize that is because that is exactly what happened when Mussolini was put in by the king of Italy,” Judge Calabresi continued, as the allusion drew audible gasps from some in the luncheon crowd Saturday at the annual convention of the American Constitution Society.
“The king of Italy had the right to put Mussolini in, though he had not won an election, and make him prime minister. That is what happened when Hindenburg put Hitler in. I am not suggesting for a moment that Bush is Hitler. I want to be clear on that, but it is a situation which is extremely unusual,” the judge said.
Judge Calabresi, a former dean of Yale Law School, said Mr. Bush has asserted the full prerogatives of his office, despite his lack of a compelling electoral mandate from the public.
“When somebody has come in that way, they sometimes have tried not to exercise much power. In this case, like Mussolini, he has exercised extraordinary power. He has exercised power, claimed power for himself; that has not occurred since Franklin Roosevelt who, after all, was elected big and who did some of the same things with respect to assertions of power in times of crisis that this president is doing,” he said.
The 71-year-old judge declared that members of the public should, without regard to their political views, expel Mr. Bush from office in order to cleanse the democratic system.