Should the latest forecasts ...

from pollsters such as Zogby hold up, Republicans may very well end up wishing that they had just let the Democrats win the Battle of Florida back in 2000. Think of where they'd be today. They'd have effortlessly claimed the moral high ground by bowing out of the Florida battle for the good of the Republic. Then the Democrats would have had to face the responsibility of seeing the nation through the recession that began with the stock market crash of March 2000. The Democrats would have had to make all the difficult decisions about how to respond to 9/11, while the Republicans would have had the luxury of indulging themselves as backseat drivers. As it happened, the Republicans won in 2000. And as the happy-go-lucky era of the late '90s faded, they were thrust into some of biggest and least anticipated challenges of the last century. They faced them with a leader whose instincts on foreign policy and the economy have been fundamentally sound. But his vision, bold and expansive as it has been, has always outstripped his ability to communicate, unite the country around his ideas, or manage the complexities of a difficult and unpopular war.

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