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  • Lance Mannion
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Michael Bains

Great alternative history analysis, Lance. I'm especially in sync with your judgment of Gore's choice for VP. That is, ironically, because I thought at the time that Lieberman was an excellent political pick. I'd not yet realized that, rather than being a Liberal with Conservative credentials, he was (is) little more than a Conservative in Lib's clothing.

And the threads of his suit have left it well beyond bare.

As to your remarks on Miller: (He) made the mistake of thinking that because his fellow Democrats in the Senate acted that way, those morals and mores were Democratic. It apparently didn't occur to him that the Republican insiders were part of the same culture...

Ahhh yes. To my mind, this illustrates quite luridly how destructive partisanship, as a rule, can become. Rules of thumb are great in a pinch (as it were,) but one must always be clear as to the differences between one's Party and one's own thoughts and beliefs about the issues before them. Disappointment can easily be felt and thus construed as a much too personal betrayal. When such happens, as you strongly suggest it did for Miller, humans are frequently far more likely to become reactionary, rather than merely, and rationally, responsive.

BTW, I wasn't all that well-informed about Graham at that time either, but I did know him well enough that he was my choice for running mate too, even though, as I said above, at the time I was pleased with the choice of Leiberman.

Dan K

Lance: be careful with the lox/Joe Lieberman comments.

Marty Peretz (or as I like to call him, "Uncle Leo") is likely to label you an anti-semite!



The "what if" I use for my alternative history scenarios are "What if Theresa LaPore had designed a decent ballot for Palm Beach County?". With a decent ballot, Gore doesn't lose thousands of votes, and there's no recount at all, or if there is, it's sore loser Bush trying to get his brother to steal the election from the winner of the popular vote and the electoral college. Election 2000 would then go down as an unusually close, but otherwise unremarkable election. If in this history, Gore doesn't prevent 9/11, it doesn't work nearly as well for the Democrats as it did for the Republicans, because the media and the Republicans go after Gore for letting it happen. The Republicans have a very good year in '02, and John McCain wins in '04.

Another scenario I consider is Bush is president, but for whatever reason, 9/11 doesn't happen. In this scenario, he continues on the trend he was at in early '01 hovering between 45-55 in approval ratings. The Enron scandal hits in '02, and the midterms turn on outrage over that. Also, Bush can't blame the recession on 9/11, so he pays for that. Dems win big in '02, and take over both houses of Congress. In '04, national security credentials are no where near as important as they were in real life, so Edwards runs on a platform of economic populism, and defeats Kerry for the nomination, and Bush for the presidency. Because the Republicans don't have national security to hold the party together, they start to splinter between the far right and the moderates, leading to a slow realignment over the course of the '02, '04, and '06 cycles. Howard Dean remains an obscure former governor of a small Northeastern state, though perhaps he, not Bernie Sanders, is elected to the Senate when Jeffords retires.

Wil Robinson

The problem is that US foreign policy going back to the 50s is the cause of terrorism. Troops in foreign countries, decapitating democratically-elected leadership when it suits American interests, support for despotic regimes and the hypocrisy of supporting and arming Israel have led to the current "terrorism" problem.

Neither Al Gore to GW Bush are prepared to address those critical issues...instead they would both go after the immediate perpetrators. Gore might have done it with a little more tact and been less likely to provoke the rest of the world into their hatred, but not all that much different.

Killing bin Laden would do little, if anything, for the so-called "War on Terror." Removing US troops from foreign countries would do a ton.

Michael Bains

The problem is that US foreign policy going back to the 50s is the cause of terrorism.

As easy and obvious an Attack Point as that is for True Patriots®, it is definitively, and empirically, the truth.

The Cold War is over. It's time for America to start making amends, even as we refocus our enormous energies upon making our own nation, once more and forever, the land of the free, and the home of the brave.



Dan K

While I agree that it might be a contributing factor in terrorism, don't you find it odd that the U.S. has never seen a Korean (70,000 troops), German (100,000+ troops for most of the 20th century), or Japanese (10s of thousands of troops, not sure on the exact number) version of 9/11???

All of those countries have strong nationalist movements and none of them invited our troops.

And if you want to count only countries where American troops came in, were not invited, but not at the end of a war there are still plenty of examples. No Nicaraguan terrorists acting out against America. Can't recall any important Cuban terrorists actually carrying out a big attack. We overthrew elected governments in Guatemala and Chile which led to little terrorism directed at America (although our buddy Pinochet did carry out bombings in Washington).

Obviously, I don't agree with an imperial foreign policy but the United States has had military bases in over 100 countries for most of the past 60 years. Al Qaeda is a small group that has been effected by many different variables, including a general sense of humiliation. Certainly seeing American soldiers with a base in Saudi Arabia could play a role in what drives some of these guys, but saying it is "an empirical fact" that foreign bases cause terrorism just seems to make light of the definition of empiricism (or the scientific definition of a causal relationship).

Solve the Israeli-Palestinian issue b/c it is the right thing to do. Cut military spending and active military personnel because (surprise, surprise) WE ARE NOT UNDER ATTACK. But don't go closing military bases b/c you think it will solve the grievances that Al Qaeda has against the U.S. This is the same argument for why America needs to defend rights/liberty here at home. Al Qaeda can only hurt us to the extent that we react as if they are more important than common sense tells us.


Greg, your statement fails to take into account the massive shenanagins of the British following WWI, who redrew the map of the Middle East to deliberately divide tribes and sects among several different 'countries' that had never existed before. Only Turkey has managed to survive more or less intact with little major internal strife. For a full overview of this I offer the book A Peace to End All Peace, which details the state of things following WWI.
That having been said, I have to agree with Dan K, in that your premise fails to account for the lack of terror attacks by Guatemalans, Japanese, Germans, etc., due to our often continuing occupation of portions of their countries. I also agree with the premise of the original post, in that a Gore presidency would have made 9/11 totally impossible if for no other reason than he would have paid proper attention to the intelligence (and he also would not have taken 3 vacations between inauguration and 9/11). Even if it had, by some miracle, happened, he also would not have sat on his duff for half an hour after getting the official notification of an attack (and likely would have cancelled the entire school appearance thing upon learning of the first crash, and ordered all fighters scrambled to watch for follow-on attacks).
Yes, the world would have been a much different place if the Gore election had been allowed to stand, and all the legal votes had been counted, and all the illegal ones had been thrown out as they should have been.

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