What if Gore had won in 2000?

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by bostjan, Sep 6, 2017.

  1. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I know this might not be the best thread idea ever, but this has been gnawing at me for a few years. I feel like Bush should not have won in 2000. He handily lost the popular vote and he narrowly won the electoral college vote. The controversy over the situation in Florida that gave Bush the electoral votes he needed to win was never really resolved. It was actually the Supreme Court that declared Bush the winner and placed an injunction on Florida, such that machine rejected ballots should not be counted in any case. Seldom reported, 20 congressmen objected to the result, but were summarily disallowed to speak.

    In the past, when the electoral college had voted against the popular vote, there was a compromise necessary, but this was the first time in US history that the election was decided by the Supreme Court with no concessions made by the victor.

    So...

    What if Al Gore had won that day?

    Here's what I think:

    1. Climate Change Denialism would not have gained a foothold in government. The reason I believe that is because the science had already gained a strong foothold everywhere else, and government denialism policies usually have a difficult time getting traction once an idea has been accepted by the public for 5 or more years, and Bill Clinton's administration had only just got the public behind the idea a year or two prior to the election.
    2. The Iraq War would have been very unlikely. Even though Lieberman was pro-war, and would have been VP, I do not believe that a Gore administration would have allowed 9/11 to have occurred. I am also quite certain that, had 9/11 occurred under Gore, the false connections back to Iraq would have not been made by anyone in a position of power.
    3. The failed educational policy of "No Child Left Behind" would have not taken effect. Thus, US school systems would have remained on a steady decline rather than a rapid downturn in effectiveness.
    4. Due to the three above points, as well as Gore's stronger economic policies and willingness to provide a stimulus, I have reason to believe that the 2008 recession would have not likely occurred.
    5. I don't think Lieberman would have ran in 2008, so there is a chance either HRC or Obama would have still run. It could have been possible that Gore would have lost re-election if he had proven to be ineffective as president, but I am going to assume that he would have likely won. It could have been entirely possible, though, that McCain would have had an appeal toward a change that would have resulted in a McCain presidency in 2009.

    What do you guys think Gore might have done to effect the nation negatively? Would we still be in this quagmire today of economic sunken-ness and science denial? Probably somewhat, but not as much, I think.
     
  2. CrazyDean

    CrazyDean SS.org Regular

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    You're like, livin' in the past, man.

    Seriously though, I think you're giving too much credit to the president. He doesn't have as much power as we all like to believe. Other than Trump, politicians tend to do what their party tells them to, regardless of position. I only exclude Trump because he's a nut, and he'll do what he wants for better or worse.

    1. Maybe. Climate change still needs a lot more investigation which congress would have to allow funding for. We had Obama for eight years, but there is still significant denial. You would think that some reversing should have taken place during that long period of time.

    2. I don't know much about the cause of 9/11. How would a different president change the fact that commercial planes were hijacked and flown into multiple buildings, killing thousands?

    3. No child left behind was a Bush thing, for sure. That would have been different, I guess. On the plus side, it was able to shine a spotlight onto education and how terrible it is in this country. Hopefully, pointing out some inadequacies that will be fixed sooner than later.

    4. This is too big of a stretch to make. I remember that one of the big problems with the recession was balloon interest rates on mortgages. He wouldn't have been any more effective against that than anyone else.

    5. It seems that after two terms, the side that feels under-represented will be more likely to be voters in the next election. Hence, McCain would have had a stronger claim against Obama. Ugh, that would have been worse. Would you take Gore followed by McCain over Bush and Obama?

    Ultimately, this isn't something I think about until it gets asked. It's not healthy to concern yourself about things you can't change. The purpose of history is to learn from the past. What could/would have happened is irrelevant.
     
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  3. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Idunno... I forget who's memoir it was, Wesley Clark, maybe, who went into a fair amount of depth about the handoff between Clinton and GWB, and the Clinton administration was pretty explicit about the fact they thought Al Qaeda was a significant and still-growing threat, and they were showing signs that maybe they were planning something domestically. The incoming Bush administration seemed more concerned to how that might tie into anything related to Iraq. It was absolutely a missed opportunity; whether or not Gore (who would have been far more focused on this, coming from the Clinton administration himself) would have been able to stop the attack is hard to say, but Iraq wouldn't have been on his short list of countries to invade after 9/11.

    Other than that... Climate change would have still become a contentious political topic. Gore would have made it a priority of his administration to be a global leader on climate change, so of course the GOP would have made it a priority to oppose him on this. At some point the GOP would have taken control of Congress and/or the White House, so it's tough to say how that would have played out. I think we might be slightly ahead of the issue from where we are today, but it's tough to say for sure.

    The recession probably would have still happened. In the wake of the dot-com crash we had a housing bubble on our hands as people took money out of the "risky" stock market and instead opted to invest in "safe" assets like houses, pushing prices up, and requiring increasing home-value-to-income, increasing leverage, and relaxed lending standards to keep housing affordable. And as affordable housing was a Clinton initiative, Gore would have likely kept the spigots on trying to keep housing affordable in the wake of ballooning prices, so it's possible the mortgage crisis would have been worse under Gore. The response after that... Tough to say. There weren't any clear options better than what Bush actually did, so it would have been messy for whoever was in the White House. And, with that recession, any Republican running against a Democrat forced to run with Gore's legacy would have been at the same sort of advantage Obama was running against McCain after GWB.

    I tend to agree with you on Iraq, anyhow - even if 9/11 had happened, Gore's response would have been VERY different, and any military intervention would likely have been more international in scope than Bush's "Coalition of the Willing," and almost certainly more targeted at Al Qaeda.
     
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  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Haha, you're right, of course. I guess I'm just liking the idea of the thought experiment. Of course, there's absolutely zero hard data behind any of this, so speculation shall abound.

    The president is a weird thing. He has very specific powers enumerated in the Constitution, yet, he seems to be more visibly pulling a different set of reigns than that, and delegating more constitutional powers to the cabinet. Furthermore, I think who is president dictates a few aspects of what is the dominant culture in the nation, but that's a very hand-wavey argument, so I won't push on that.

    1. I still think that the denialism set in early on and was mostly defeated during the Clinton years. Once Bush was in office, it seemed to go back into mainstream style to deny the science. Maybe Gore's hard stance would have simply fueled the fire, but the denialists around me at the time seemed to take Gore's defeat as vindication against "Global Warming."

    2. I'm going to try not to get into government conspiracy nonsense here, but, there was intelligence going around executive offices that the attack was coming. I don't think Bush is in any way directly to blame, but indirectly, as he appointed a lot of confused people and gave them confused orders, which they used to appoint more confused and inept people to head up the departments which dropped the ball on the intelligence, I think it is safe to say that, at least, things would have been a little tighter under Gore than under Bush. Anyway, that wasn't my main point. I do feel strongly that the Iraq War, being as that it was based on Bush's lies, would not have happened without Bush. I think that's a pretty solid prediction, but, of course, it is all speculation.

    3. I really think that my education without NCLB was objectively better than my kids' educations under NCLB. I worked part time at a middle school for a semester right when the policy was going into full swing, and it was an absolute cluster. Perhaps someone working in education full time over that same time period could more accurately assess it.

    4. I agree that the trigger was there regardless, but I really think Gore would have been better equipped to have responded to the crisis that stemmed the recession more appropriately, as damage control. Again, this is highly speculative on my part, and I could be entirely wrong. It's just that Gore had a lot more experience dealing with such things, and Bush's policies, IMO, didn't help the situation. This was something I give Obama credit for helping to mitigate, with his economic stimulus packages (which, of course, were legislation, which is a congress thing anyway, see my comment above).

    5. I really don't like Bush. :lol: I think McCain, prior to running for president, seemed like a decent guy. I would have taken Gore -> McCain over Bush - > Obama, even though I prefer Obama over McCain, by a quarter mile. It's just that I preferred Gore over Bush by a few Earth radii. :lol:

    You are right again, that this is not really conducive to effecting a political change. I thought maybe by talking about it a little bit, I could get a better understanding of where we went wrong between 2000 and 2016, and maybe where we might have gone even more wrong had things played out more in line with my expectations as a voter casting his first presidential ballot.

    I guess, as far as climate change, I think two steps forward and one step back is better than no steps forward and one step back.

    One of the first things Obama did was offer huge incentives to first time home buyers. I know, because I took advantage of it. At the time, I don't think I would have otherwise been able to afford both a livable house and food. Maybe under Gore, the housing bubble bursting would have created a lot more backlash. I think you would be far more the expert on that than me.

    Military action in Afghanistan, probably, would have been inevitable, even if a 9/11 plot was exposed and stopped. I don't necessarily agree with the policy, but I don't see how any politician would have really handled it any other way. But I'd take one war over two, given no other choice.
     
  5. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    You and I will almost certainly never agree on military intervention... :lol:

    ...but, in this limited aspect, I think there's room for us to see eye to eye. If we knew Al Qaeda was in Afghanistan, then I think a fast, targeted strike, with clear objectives and clear conditions for what we would consider a successful mission, and little in the way of long-term aims save for removing the Al Qaeda operatives who'd orchestrated the strike, would be something that would have been palatable for most Americans.

    I remember having a deep feeling of misgiving as we took steps towards engaging in war with Iraq, like we had gone fundamentally astray.
     
  6. Overtone

    Overtone SS.org Regular

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    I was thinking about this too a few months ago... how basically if things were just slightly different in terms of how the election played out, the world we are in today would be significantly different, and significantly better. It's hard to take Gore seriously, but at the end of the day it kind of feels bad to see him mocked and ridiculed for his beliefs, activism and personality when it's very possible that he would have been much much better for us than the alternative.

    Harder to comment on the specifics of what would/wouldn't happen, and how much of it comes down to the person rather than the party. I think a lot of the bad that came from the Bush administration was because he was a pliable person surrounded by shrewd and ruthless people who did not have the American people's best interests at heart.
     
  7. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    When Powel and Bush were talking about WMD's in Iraq and ties to Al Qaeda, I protested quite vocally right away, since none of that made a goddamn bit of sense to me. Needless to say, I was not at all surprised when they were caught in the (multiple) lies. The saddest thing to me, though, was the complete lack and subsequent disregard for accountability over it. Like, "Yeah, we flat out lied to the UN, to congress, and to the American people. Yeah, our lies didn't even make any logical sense. But this is totally not about a personal vendetta between the Bush family and Saddam Hussein, this is, umm, to, uhh, aha - this was to liberate the Iraqi people! Yeah! That's the ticket!" And the American people, who I love dearly and of which I had respected the intelligence, were like "Oh ok, that's totally cool, we trust you, even if you lied to us a few times about this very issue and your story passes literally zero logical sniff-tests. Here's another four years of power!" Ugh. Clinton got impeached for lying to the grand jury about getting blown by an intern. And he deserved it. Bush lied about a number of things in order to play on the negative emotions of a nation facing the worst terror attack in its history to send hundreds of thousands of America's best young men and women into peril - all over a personal grudge. The repercussions of which were nil.

    As for Afghanistan - well, that's the tough part. Approach it like any other problem solving situation, and keep emotion out of it as much as possible. First, you have to define what the problem is. Describe the current situation and then the ideal situation moving forward. Identify the key differences between those two situations. Next, look into those effects and try to identify the causes. Ok? ---
    So, the situation with 9/11 was that terrorists were able to carry out a devastating plot by crashing jets into buildings. The ideal situation, moving forward, is to be able to defend against such attacks. The problem, therefore, is piss poor intelligence and ineffective security against hijackings. I fail to see how Afghanistan is the root of the issue.
    If you argue that there was some Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, well, the main problem was the Al Qaeda in the USA itself, right? Also, there were Al Qaeda cells all over the ME and in Africa, and, as we found out, also in Europe, and virtually everywhere. Saying these guys got some training in Afghanistan follows the same logic - the most deadly part of the training they received was in the USA. We are not going to bomb ourselves...I hope.

    But that's all another discussion. There's maybe some BS in the Afghanistan argument, but the entire Iraq thing was 100% BS. Going to war should never be taken lightly, but, the levels of the amount of rational thought that went into those two decisions were different orders of magnitude.

    Gore won the popular vote by something like ~530k, IIRC. That's actually not a bad margin. He lost Florida by a literally a handful of ballots. If he won in Florida, he would have won the electoral vote, but whatever, my point is that he was objectively more popular among voters than Bush, at the time. Bush somehow became more popular, the more things he screwed up. I don't think of Gore as having a strong backbone, himself, but at least he had an above-average intelligence, and was able to articulate his thoughts. He slaughtered Bush in the debates, but no one cared after Bush was elected, even though the guy could hardly figure out how to put words together into a sentence or figure out how to open an unlocked door.
     
  8. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I think the best case scenario for Afghanistan would have been identify the Al Qaeda camp where Bin Laden was located in Afghanistan, launch a tactical strike with US special ops to capture Bin Laden and other senior Al Qaeda commanders, notify Afghanistan only minutes before we entered their airspace, extradite them to the US, and try them in a US Court of Law for the 9/11 attacks.

    Since getting Bin Laden out of an Al Qaeda training camp alive in one piece is admittedly kind of a pipe dream, number two would be just to launch a surgical strike at the camp, exterminate everyone there, and then immediately withdraw.

    A long occupation after 6 months of debate would obviously be a ways farther down the priority scale.
     
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  9. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Sunbro

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    in this thread: bostjan thinks that Gore could have somehow prevented the banks from pairing shitty junk bond with good bonds, prevented the ratings companies from lying about the ratings of said bond packages, somehow prevented the ridiculous lack of oversight for mortgages/lending money and prevent the bailout of the banks.
    I actually heard on NPR that this is pretty common in American history- where everybody associates economic upswings with the president and vice versa when there's a downturn. It applies to other areas as well, since people credit job growth, etc to the president too. Basically the president gets way too much credit for when things go right, or when they go wrong. The core problem with that idea is that congress and their cabinets were culpable in all those upswings/downswings as well
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
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  10. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Sunbro

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    Nobody planned on staying in Iraq and Afghanistan for years, let alone over a decade. The prevailing theory at the time was that we'd be out of Iraq in a year or maybe two. If you look at how often armies/their generals have underestimated the length of campaigns, it's nearly every war. I agree that there was no reason to send large amounts of uniformed troops over there. All those soldiers did was serve as IED targets in the long run. If it was that easy to find al qaeda, we would have rooted them out of afghanistan years ago. I said it years ago and I'll say it again, all the Afghanistan/Iraq conflicts are basically Vietnam 2.0. We don't speak the language, the enemy is too embedded into the population to fight them well, our presence merely destabilized the country, and we essentially wasted american lives for nothing of value. We didn't learn from our own history and how non-local uniformed soldiers are always at a disadvantage to non-uniformed militia that know the terrain, know the local people, and don't fight fairly. That was what happened not only in Vietnam, but what we did to the British in the American Revolution. Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. We didn't learn from Vietnam/the American Revolution or from watching both the Russians and the British fail at taking Afghanistan. There's another saying in the military: "We're always fighting the last war"- ie we try to use our old tactics/doctrine against a different enemy and end up changing them during the conflict.
     
  11. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Well, I can agree with that. :shrug:

    You are correct that the president gets way too much credit for all sorts of things not within his power.

    But I think one could (perhaps ineffectively) argue that without a >$2 trillion dollar war funded entirely off of borrowed money and based entirely off of a personal vendetta of the presidential administration in power, the federal government might have had more economic power to handle domestic things a little better, or, at least, have been less preoccupied with the war, and therefore been able to tighten up domestic issues. Or, if our manufacturing facilities were building nifty industrial systems to bolster our own economic development rather than a bunch of prefabs, weapons, and vehicles that we would ultimately just abandon in the ME, that our economy might be a little more resilient toward taking the hit of a bubble burst (much like the dot com bubble some years prior). But you have a very valid point. We don't know. I don't know, either.
     
  12. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Yet, when the conflict began, I bet my friends that we would be there ten years. I was not wrong. I used to have a knack at being not wrong about how terrible Bush's administration was, and it never gave me a warm fuzzy feeling being proven right over and over.

    To me, these things were not a matter of guesswork, but just a matter of weighing out cause and effect to determine the most likely predictions. It's not that I think I used any particularly smart methods, either, I just was emotionally detached enough to identify rhetoric that was based off of empty optimism and sniff out promises that were flat out BS. Usually if someone promises something that they have no serious intent to follow through, you only have to look just slightly below the surface to see how things don't add up.

    For a military operation, the key is always the objective. In, say, the civil war, victories and losses had nothing to do with the number of casualties, as you well know, I'm sure. Everything boils down to accomplishing a tactical objective or not. With something like the Iraq conflict, there was not a damn idea of an endgame nor any overall objective for the action there. We were not backing a revolutionary side, nor were we threatening the leadership to "do this specific thing or else...," no, it was clear, since we were demanding the enemy to comply with a directive that was impossible (destroy that which you do not have, and stop being a "bad guy"), it was just the USA going in and kicking shit up. Sure, there were strategies to do this thing or that thing, but overall, no game plan. It's like the guy playing chess who just wants to capture as many pawns as possible, but has no clue what to do about positioning his own pieces or dealing with the enemy king.

    So we come in like an angry elephant into a bong store, smash everything, then feel guilty about leaving while it's still all broken, yet have no idea how to fix anything, so we just hang around occasionally smashing an item or two.

    TL;DR - Logically, we had no reason to expect a better result than exactly what ended up happening.
     
  13. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I'm sorry, but there are two points I strongly disagree with.

    1) "Nobody planned on staying in Iraq and Afghanistan for years." In the case of Iraq, that's because our "exit plan" was "oh, we'll be treated as liberators." I think the Bush administration thought it'd be a quick in-and-out, but they were about i; that was straight up poor planning. And the kicker was there was no case to be in Iraq in the first place.

    2) We actually almost DID take out Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. We knew where they were, we had resources ready to go... And Clinton hesitated because he was concerned (rightfully) that launching a military strike in the middle of a close election against an enemy who was not widely known at the time would be interpreted as an attempt to sway the outcome. So, he handed detailed plans off to his successor. Bush sat on them. Had we struck immediately after 9/11 we might have still been able to hit their leadership, but by the time we did move, they had moved, and we ended up trying to take the country instead, for some reason, rather than simply strike Bin Laden.
     
  14. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Sunbro

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    1. Maybe you should've read my post more thoroughly. Literally 2 sentences after that line I wrote all about how they underestimated the length of the campaign and that this is a common issue throughout military history. I agree that it was a huge oversight and that Iraq had no tactical value (which again, I talked about in the post you quoted).
    2. The problem with fighting terrorists, as detailed in books like Vengeance by George Jonas- is that they're like the hydra, you cut off one head and two more sprout in its place. Mossad had this problem with the PLO in the 70s (and arguably still has trouble completely eradicating them and Hezbollah). We had this problem essentially as soon as we tried to airstrike every taliban/al qaeda member worth killing, the leadership would shift to other members, and thus the hydra still lived. By the time we got Bin Laden he was basically irrelevant in the hierarchy (at least from what I've read) and that was more of a symbolic victory than anything. If it was easy to root out the taliban/Al Qaeda we would have done it by now.
     
  15. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    1) Well, yeah - my point was I think it was pretty broadly understood at the start of the war that Iraq was going to be a disaster, and a lot of the backlash against the Bush administration was because they had literally no feasible exit point there. That was idiotic, but again, Iraq isn't the question here. We almost may be in agreement here.

    2) Sure, fighting terrorists is like fighting a hydra. That doesn't mean you just stop. Had we taken out Bin Laden in the fall of 2000, then 9/11 almost certainly wouldn't have happened, and we could have moved on to identifying and tracking the next hydra head. If you're going to argue that "if it was so easy to find them we would have done it by now," though, we DID find him. Clinton just decided to leave it for the next president to order the strike, to not create the appearance of meddling in an election, never for a moment thinking his successor wouldn't bother to give the order.
     
  16. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Sunbro

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    I never advocated stopping our fight with the Taliban or Al Qaeda. One of your earlier posts gave me the impression that you thought we could definitively end the Taliban with just a few airstrikes. That's why I made the hydra quote, it wouldn't really have mattered in the grand scheme of things if we had blown up bin laden, some other psychotic zealot would have taken his place. Thus my reference to if it was easy to root out the Taliban/Al Qaeda, we would have done it by now. It will never be easy, unless we can crush the ideals that the terrorists believe in, along with annihilating every last one of them. As long as one of them can spread their message, wahabbism/radical islam won't truly die. What I can't believe is how there were well educated men (some with medical and engineering degrees) who also fell victim to these antiquated insane ideals.
     
  17. CrazyDean

    CrazyDean SS.org Regular

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  18. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    I don't have a lot of time to read through these yet, but contrary to what you thought, I believe this thread idea is awesome! This is basically like a screenplay or book idea.
     
  19. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I think my point, though, was had we struck before 9/11, we very likely could have prevented THAT attack. Yeah, we might have just had another threat pop up to deal with down the road, but we could cross that bridge when we got there and in the meantime more than 2,000 American lives would have been saved.

    Our inability to guarantee a final victory in the war against terrorism is no reason to give up on any particular battle, when we believe it can be won and we will be safer for winning it.
     
  20. Church2224

    Church2224 Guitar Whore

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    We would not have to worry about Man Bear Pig that is for certain.
     

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