Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Would've Been 43rd President of the United States

The Presidential Election of 2000 went from being a close election like 1976, 1968 and 1960, to name a few, to becoming one of the unusual elections like 1800, 1824, and 1876. 1888 was pretty simple...popular vote winner: Grover Cleveland, electoral vote winner: Benjamin Harrison. No Congressional vote. No Commission. No Supreme Court.

The 2000 election pitted the incumbent vice president, Al Gore against Texas Governor George W. Bush. The last sitting vice president to run for president to win was Governor Bush's father, the 43rd Vice President of the United States, George Bush in 1988 and the last president to win over 50% of the popular vote until his son's reelection in 2004. Before Bush in 1988, Martin Van Buren was the last incumbent to run and win. But Gore had a shot. The administration of William Jefferson Clinton brought nothing but peace and prosperity to the United States in a post-Cold War planet Earth. But the scandals that the media covered and the Right Wing pushed, the Clinton administration would carry sexual scandal scars from Gennifer Flowers to Monica Lewinsky. While the Republican controlled Congress couldn't stop investigating Clinton, they'd relax on the next guy.

Which wouldn't be a third term of the Clinton administration, like Ronald Reagan had with his veep. Twice elected governor, MBA holder, and son of a president, George W. Bush presented a return to professionalcy after 8 years of the rowdy Clinton crowd from Arkansas, stature would return to the White House in the likes of George Herbert Walker Bush, Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower and no other president meets. With Gore distancing himself from Clinton and running on his own didn't help. Clinton, though impeached and acquitted, Clinton left office with high approval ratings. Had Gore used him even a fraction of the amount that President Barack Obama would use him in 2012, Gore would've been the victor in an election that would've been up there with 1968 and 1976.

But Election night 2000, would come and go with no winner. Gore had been predicted the winner in Florida and thus the presidency, but Florida went from the Gore column to undecided and then to Bush's. Gore conceded...and then he took it back after learning how close the Florida vote was. This was democracy in action. Lawyers flew in like the super heroes they are. Two former secretaries of state lead the campaign's legal teams. James Baker for Bush and Warren Christopher for Gore. Instead of recounting the entire State, Gore chose 4 counties that leaned heavy Democratic, but the Bush camp challenged the recount in the courts which led the Florida Supreme Court to side with Gore. The State Supreme Court leaned in Gore's favor, just as the Federal Supreme Court leans toward Bush. So with the recounts granted, the Bush team appeals to the Supreme Court, even though Bush represents the party that defends States' Rights...not when the electoral votes that will make someone the president of the United States at stake.

The Supreme Court would end the recounts and the electoral votes certified by the Florida Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, a member of Bush's Florida campaign team, would go to Bush. Gore would have a chance to concede to Bush again, the day after the Supreme Court ruling. Here is his address to the nation from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on December 13, 2000.

FLASH-FORWARD to December 13, 2003.
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was captured hiding in hole. All thanks to the Decider, the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush. USA! USA! USA!

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