The Presidency: Going Gently into the Night

There is no easy way for a loser to endure the transition of power from his own expiring Administration to that of his exuberant, victorious rival

A piece of George Bush's soul has been crushed. He will hide it behind his patrician grace in his season of defeat. Rejected by the American people, a life's ambition cut short, a political finale cast in defeat -- a heavy burden even for a man of Bush's discipline. Yet this cruel ritual is the heart of democracy.

Like the office itself, the pain of an incumbent's defeat has to be immense. A friend of Jimmy Carter's watched him confront the fact he would not be re- elected in 1980 and said, "a part of him died." Jerry Ford clung to...

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