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What would Al Gore have done?
By David A. Schwinghammer   

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If Al Gore had been elected would the recession have occurred?

George W. Bush’s recent publication of his book DECISION POINTS and his sudden backtracking on the WMD controversy leads one to speculate on what might have been if Al Gore had won the 2000 election.

The Kyoto Protocol: Republicans like to roll the dice on these kinds of issues. “60 Minutes” did a segment on natural gas shale mining, which seems to have been deregulated, thanks to Halliburton and the then vice-president and former Halliburton chairman, Dick Cheney. As a result ground water has been contaminated in some places. There’s no doubt Al Gore would have signed the Protocol. With part of Newfoundland falling into the ocean and 500-year storms occurring in Washington DC and Nashville, Tennessee, you just can’t take a chance. Republicans still use climate change as a wedge issue, despite 97% of climate scientists agreeing that it’s related to human activity (carbon-based fuels). Republicans get lots of money from Exxon and other oil companies. Coincidence? George Will seems to have gone off the deep end. He’s been obtuse about global warming for years, but now he’s topped himself. He’s after the new General Motors electric car, the Volt, claiming that the government is shilling the car to retrieve its investment. What would George have us do, sit around until we run out of oil or wait until Saudi Arabia decides to cut us off? George also conveniently ignores the original General Motors electric car trial run in California. People loved it and were shocked when GM discontinued the product line. If it was good then, how much better could it be now?

The Iraq War. No way in hell Al Gore invades Iraq, which would have saved us at least two trillion dollars, and we wouldn’t owe it to China. How does a conservative president borrow two trillion dollars from communists China and get away with it? Republicans are still fighting the Cold War.

9/11: Okay, maybe this would have happened anyway, but Al Gore would have probably listened to his terrorism expert, Richard A. Clarke, when he warned Al Qaeda was planning another attack on America. Cheney/Bush then cut him out of the loop. Could this have been political, since Clarke also worked for Clinton? Then there was the Minneapolis FBI affair where one of the terrorists, Zacarias Moussaoui, was captured before he could participate in the attack. The FBI denied the agents a warrant to search his apartment. Could the attack have been prevented if they had been allowed to search the place, and why was the warrant denied?

Tax breaks for the rich: If unable to balance the budget as his predecessor had done, Al would have tried to raise taxes. How do you start a war in Iraq while at the same time cutting taxes at home? Has this ever been done before? This is one of the reasons the national debt was doubled under Bush.

The National Guard: Al wouldn’t have needed the National Guard to fight in Afghanistan since Americans wanted justice. Aren’t they supposed to be the home guard? You know, they’re mentioned in the 2nd Amendment. How does a man who got into the national guard in the first place thanks to his rich father and later left early under questionable circumstances expect other national guardsmen to fight his war for him? At least have the guts to reinstitute the draft. Lately the army and the national guard have to promise to pay for college education in order to entice recruits to join. I wish they’d done that for me.

The Supreme Court: Al would never have chosen John Roberts or Sam the Sham (Sc)alito. Without those two, we would not have had the “corporations and unions also have the right to free speech” and the guns in every baby crib decisions.

Deregulation of Wall Street: When housing averages $500,000 in Boston, something stinks in Denmark. Would Al have formed a congressional investigative commission to see if there was any hanky panky going on between mortgage brokers, real estate agents and the banks (collusion)? Just about everyone knew that bubble was about to burst; yet, the Republican president did nothing. Meanwhile the Republican blame the blow-up on the poor. Maybe if there were no such thing are variable interest rates they would have been able to make their payments. When Republicans heard Gordon Gecko say, “Greed is good!” they all jumped up and yelled, “Amen, brother!”

Karl Rove: This guy is one of the most despicable human beings ever to inhabit the earth. Ann Richards, Max Cleland, John McCain, John Kerry. He smeared them all and his boys made sure McCain picked Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential choice, insuring polarization for another generation. Because of him, we have dirtballs like Andrew Breitbart slandering the Shirley Sherrods of this world.

“I’m a uniter, not a divider”: Gore was more of a uniter than Bush. Bush wasn’t the first one to do this, but was it a good idea to target fundamentalist religion as your political base? They now have colleges: (Patrick Henry, Bob Jones, Liberty) that train students to run for office. This violates the First Amendment; these people are theocrats who don’t even believe in democracy. Many of them also believe the Earth is only six thousand years old and that we’re in the end times. If that’s not regressive politics I don’t know what is. Then there are the gun nuts, the pro-lifers, the Libertarians, and the John Birch Society, all of them reactionaries to some degree.

Assault weapons: Bush did nothing to renew the ban on assault weapons.
Why does anybody need an AK-47? No way Al lets that deadline go by.

Immigration: Bush couldn’t pass a new immigration law because his own party was against it. Now that it’s a wedge issue it may be years before we get a workable plan. Meanwhile Arizona molests American citizens because they happen to look like illegal aliens. There are something like 20 million of them in the United States. When the Minute Men tried to stop them from crossing the border, California orchard owners complained they didn’t have enough pickers. It’s irresponsible to insist that we can send them all back. That just might start another recession.

Lock box: Social Security is two trillion dollars poorer because Al didn’t get his lock box. Al would have tried to raise the cap. Social Security is the greatest legislative plan in American history and one of the most successful. At the time, Republicans fought it just as hard as they fought Obama’s health care plan. Bush tried to privatize it. I kind of wish he would have been partially successful. No way would the Republicans have won the House in 2010.

Deficit: Not as soon nor as much if Al had been president. Remember Bill Clinton balanced the budget and Gore would have continued his budget reduction activity.

Oil: Under Al we would have signed the Kyoto Protocol, and we would have less of a reliance on foreign oil and more of a head start on renewable energy.

Katrina: Would Al have done a flyover, treating the hurricane which almost destroyed the city as a photo op? Worse yet, was Bush’s appointment of Michael “Brownie” Brown as head of FEMA, one more example of cronyism under this man’s watch. He tried to do it again when he nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. This may have been his only independent decision as president, and he muffed it. The Alberto Gonzales scandal was also significant. This was when the Justice Department tried to monopolize Federal prosecutors in favor of the Republican party. One of Gonzales’s underlings, Monica Goodling, received her law degree from Regent College, a fundamentalist law school. The school’s web site claims over 150 graduates of Regent were hired to work in the justice department during the Bush administration. Bush had a habit of appointing graduates of Liberty, Patrick Henry, and Bob Jones to government departments Conservatives didn’t approve of, like OSHA, the EPA, and the Labor Department.

George W. Bush recently helped break ground for his presidential library at SMU. Is it a coincidence that there’s a privately funded (Big oil?) policy institute set to go up right next door? The man was an ideologue all the way. We now have a pragmatist in office, and some people think he’s a maniac for trying to solve some of our problems.

Dave Schwinghammer's published novel, SOLDIER'S GAP, is available on 

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