Monday, December 14, 2009

Newsweek's Gore Fantasy

Seriously, does anyone actually subscribe to this magazine anymore or is it being kept afloat by doctor's offices? This little fantasy piece about Al Gore becoming president, and how the world might have gone, is just begging to be fisked. So here's my take:
An August 2001 Daily Intelligence Briefing warns, "Bin Ladin [sic] Determined to Strike in the U.S.," which prompts the president to authorize the strategic bombing of targets in the Khost province of Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border.

Frank Wall, White House counterterrorism adviser: "We had it on better-than-reasonable authority that Osama bin Laden, or at least his top guys, were hiding out under the protection of the Taliban who, if you remember, had just blown up the Bamiyan Buddhas that April, which was a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nasty guys. It didn't go over well. We were not greeted as liberators there, and here at home, the general consensus was that the president was trying to look manly. I still maintain it was the right thing to do. American interests haven't been attacked by Al Qaeda since the USS Cole in Yemen, but who can really judge if an endeavor is successful by something not happening?"
So bombing the Khost province in August would have killed Mohammed Atta and his 18 co-conspirators here in America who by most accounts were getting their marching orders via KSM in Pakistan? Had Gore succeeded where Clinton failed in killing bin Laden then why wouldn't Zawahiri have given the green light on 9/11 with everything already in place and ready to go? Besides, one could easily say a dead bin Laden becomes the great Islamic martyr, creating scores of wanna-be's and new terrorist recruits determined to take revenge on the great Satan.
June 2002: The president signs a bill giving tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, worth $1.35 trillion over 10 years. There are cries of foul from both left and right.
Why would the right cry foul? By the way, only Newsweek would use Andrew Sullivan as 'the right'.
the robust economy and no major foreign or domestic conflicts are enough to secure a second term for Gore-Lieberman in November 2004, beating out the McCain-Kemp ticket by 51 percent to 48 percent.
Peace in our time, all accomplished by bombing Khost province a month before 9/11. Wow.
March 3, 2005: At a Rose Garden ceremony, the president announces his health-care-reform package that includes a public option offering coverage to compete with private insurance. Polls indicate the American public is overwhelmingly in favor of such a program.
Hey, this is a hit-piece on Lieberman, isn't it?
Hurricane Katrina strikes Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama, with winds of up to 140 miles per hour. Although meteorologically one of the most significant storms in decades, the surge of water into New Orleans floods low-lying parts of the city to a depth of just three feet. Within hours, FEMA mobilizes supplies of food and water, and the Army Corps of Engineers shores up the levees and pumps out the flood waters within six days. Total mortality in New Orleans for the hurricane is just 17 people.
Newsweek doesn't say how Gore repaired the levees because in the real Katrina, the storm surge did not top the levees, it collapsed them. Wetland maintenance would have done little to affect the water level in Lake Pontchartrain, which leads directly into the Gulf--unless he's saying wetland maintenance would have lowered sea level. Hey--we're talking about Gore!

But he does have a point. With Gore in the White House neither Nagin nor Blanco would have any reason to drag their feet or blame GOP bogeymen and they would have been held fully accountable, so who knows how things may have turned out.

And apparently in this alternate reality Saddam Hussein, his maniacal sons, Hamas, Hiz'ballah, Iran, and North Korea somehow vanished into the ether as soon as Gore bombed the Khost province. Amazing.

As to global warming, of course Gore signs us onto the Kyoto protocol in 2001 but it doesn't predict whether the gridlocked Congress would have ratified it or what the global temperature would have done those eight years. Oh right--the global temperature would have been exactly the same as now.

Admittedly, the fantasy 2008 election was kind of funny with the Bush brothers against Hill-Billy. Also notice that Barack Obama ends up in the Supreme Court in this fantasy, which would have been a difficult sell in 2005 with his weak legal background and no anti-Iraq war speech in 2002. That's debatable of course, but is Newsweek trying to tell us something here by sticking Obama in a Spock-like environment with no political future?

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