Sunday, August 22, 2004

A day dream for the GOP

I was just thinking the other day about what would have happened had Al Gore won the recount battle. So just play along with my scenario and write a comment if you think something is missing or off.

Gore faces a incredibly hostile congress who is sure that he cheated Bush out of the presidency; as a result, almost none of his agenda or appointees move. In the spring of 2001, moderate Republicans in the senate from Rhode Island and Vermont are so fed up with their colleagues that they both leave the party and form their own moderate caucus, thus giving control of the Senate to the Democrats. Gore's appointees move on, and some of his agenda is passed, although his health care initiative is stalled in the house.

After 9/11, America rallies around Gore but the media quickly asks why this wasn't prevented by the Clinton-Gore administration. Clinton administration alums are paraded up to the Hill to explain themselves. Gore uses temporary popularity to dethrone the Taliban in Afghanistan and convince Pakistan to join in the hunt. By December, Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Laden have been caught. Gore's State Department begins negotiations with UN for financial and security assistance for newly democratic Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Gore dispatches Clinton to Israel/Palestine to help restart the peace process (and Carter to North Korea to get a better deal than the 1994 agreement). Not much progress is made on either front, but the Infedada that started after PM Ehud Barak's loss the winter of 2000 ends and tensions are relatively low.

Gore's popularity hovers around 55-60%, due to the lingering animosity from the right wing over Florida and moderate voters doubts about the Clinton administrations culpability in 9/11.

During the GOP primaries, all the usual right wing nut jobs seem to do well at first, only to flop in Iowa to "America's Mayor" Rudy Giuliani. The former NYC mayor has used his post-9/11 popularity to overcome his pro-choice stance and overwhelm his GOP opponents. Media pundits talk endlessly how the GOP party has radically changed to become more moderate, but Rudy's nomination has made many party groups uneasy and nervous about turn out. Although Giuliani's first choice is John McCain, he instead chooses Senate Minority Leader Bill Frist (Lott still gets dethroned for his comment at Strom's b-day party) from Tennessee. Frist is perfect, a radical conservative with a moderate tone, good looks, and a "Doctor" to boot [IMHO he is as much a doctor as Bill Clinton is a lawyer]. Frist helps neutralize the Democratic advantage in health care, even though he owns an HMO.

On November 2, 2004 Al Gore loses due to an unexcited Democratic base and moderate undecided voters moving towards America's Mayor and America's Doctor. Frist gets lots of publicity when he saves the life of a man in Iowa while campaigning. GOPers win NY, TN, IA, and PA to score a convincing electoral vote win.

That evening, Governor George W Bush sits in his ranch in Texas and shakes his head, wondering what might have been.

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