Election 2004 - If Gore was President

If Gore had won the election is 2004, would he have a chance for re-election? Would the blame for 9/11 have fallen on the Democrats so hard that Gore would be un-electable? Would he even have gotten the nomination? Who would the Republicans nominate? What would have happened at the mid-term election and what effect would that election have had?

If Gore had won the election in 2000

If Gore had won the 2000 election, 9/11 would never have happened. The dotcom bubble would never have burst. The economy would still be soaring. The environment would be pristine. Violent crime would be a thing of the past. Every day at 1pm EST, everyone in the country would get together in small groups, hold hands, and sing happy songs.

Gore would win the 2004 election by the largest margin in history.


Of course, I maintain that Gore did win the election in 2000. I fail to understand why the 9/11 attack would have hurt Gore but has helped Bush. Why should a catastrophe automatically help Republicans? I think it’s possible that 9/11 would not have happened had Gore been in the White House. But if it had happened it would have been the result of an intelligence failure. Why does Bush get to base his campaign on his biggest failure? Did FDR mention Pearl Harbor daily in 1944?

Because Republicans can point back to failures of the Clintion Administration. Where would Gore deflect blame to? Bush?

Even if we assume that the 9/11 attacks occurred under a Gore Presidency (that is to say, we assume Gore got a PDB entitled “Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside the United States” and failed to react to it in time), he’d still have a decent chance at a 2004 election.

After all, President Gore would have focued the entire US military might on Afghanistan, probably resulting in the capture of Osama Bin Laden by mid-2002.

He wouldn’t have been handing out tax cuts for billionares when the economy started to tank, which would have lessened the impact of the recession and gotten things back on track sooner.

And he wouldn’t have invaded Iraq on false pretenses, thus avoiding 1,000+ American casualties, 12,000+ Iraqi casualties, the scorn of the rest of the world, and giving us a multi-billion-dollar quagmire for the next decade or three.

I don’t know if Gore would have been “unbeatable,” but I think his odds would be better than what Bush has right now.

So much for “United we Stand,” eh?

9/11 would have happened the same. Afghanistan invasion the same as well - I can’t imagine him sitting on his hands negotiating.

There is a slightly higher chance that Gore would have been blamed for 9/11 in a way that Bush was not, as he was Vice-President during all the planning and preparation for the attack (as well as the Cole and the earlier attacks on the WTC and embassies), but I suspect the “rally 'round the President” effect would have shielded him from embarassing questions until after Afghanistan had fallen. He may or may not have invaded Iraq - he was just as convinced that Saddam had WMD as anyone else, as was Lieberman. If he let Saddam sit there and thumb his nose at the inspection regime, it would be more possible to present Gore as an ineffectual bumbler, especially since Libya would probably not have agreed to disarm absent the Iraq invasion. I suspect Gore would have lobbed some missiles at Saddam and then negotiated for the next four years, to no effect. Gore could either take Saddam’s word for it, or pretend to, or try to shove the thing back to the UN, who would have taken the matter under advisement and continued to steal from the oil-for-food program. It depends on how well Gore could spin having nothing much happen in Iraq.

The North Korea violations of the 1994 treaty would also have redounded more to his detriment - the treaty was negotiated under Clinton, so anything Gore pulled in response to the violation would be seen as the continuation of a failed policy.

The recession would probably have lasted longer without the Bush tax cuts, so that could be a minus in Gore’s attempt at re-election. Gore would also have probably pushed some huge new spending, probably health care. If it passed, the deficit would be just as high. If it failed, it would make Gore look like Clinton, and Gore doesn’t have the political instincts for triangulation that made Clinton get away with the failure of his wife’s health care ideas.

Mostly, it depends on who Gore would be running against. Bush? Probably not - if he had lost in 2000, the Republicans would probably try someone else. Not Cheney either - the same health questions as now would keep him from running. Powell doesn’t want the Presidency, and we have not seen a front runner develop due to the presence of Bush. So I don’t really know who it might be - Tommy Thompson, but that is a pure guess.

On the other hand, Gore may have had to deal with a challenge from Hilary, which could damage him in the primaries. As well, the voters might wonder if they really want sixteen straight years of Clinton and Co.

It would be a close election in any case, unless Gore was far more lucky than anyone can expect to be. Probably as close as this one is now.


This seems to be one of those myths that has been repeated so often, a lot of people actually believe it.

Saddam, in the run-up to our invasion, was letting the U.N. inspectors go anywhere they wanted to, without any advance notice. AFAIK, he was putting absolutely no roadblocks in their way. Now we know why, of course - he really didn’t have anything to hide. That’s also why, of course, he refused to reveal his WMD - he didn’t have any.

He did refuse to provide records to prove that all the stuff that was unaccounted for had, in fact, been destroyed, but given that his WMD program was in tatters, and virtually non-existent, it seems a bit silly to demand spotless record-keeping. He refused to provide the records because they didn’t exist any more.

A die-hard GOP friend of mine said the other day, while we were arguing about the war (Me against it, him for it) that, “It’s a good thing that Gore wasn’t elected. He would’ve agreed with the French that the sanctions on Iraq should’ve been lifted, and then Saddam really would’ve have WMD.” I was incredulous. How can I argue with specious logic like that?

Gore probably would have a good chance for reelection. Most sitting presidents have good chances in this regard.

If 911 had happened, then he and democrats would be blamed more than what has happened – there would be less shared party responsibility. And any decline in the economy as well.

What his exact military response would have been I think can be only problematic, but a major compenent of the total response would have almost certainly involved a call for energy conservation like increased car fuel ecomony and prompt extend of the renewable energy production subsidy.

I don’t believe he would have proposed the duct tape defense.:smiley:

If we look at other external factors, some things are worth mentioning:

The House, Senate, (and SCOTUS), would be in Republican hands. His ability to move through any agenda would have been hampered by this.

In addition, the “Attack Clinton” industry would have re-focused on Gore, along with the media whores (who willingly participated in amplifying the Republican talking points during the 2000 election). Because they didn’t posses the White House, the right would gain energy by being “dis-enfranchised”.

And, if the 2000 election had been as close as it was and Gore ended up winning, the Republicans would have gone all screeching ape for the next 4 years.

Add it all up, Gore would be bruised, bloodied, battered, and on the defensive. He’d probably pull a Lyndon and bow out.

I think there’s no chance Gore would have not been heartily blamed for 9/11, if it had happened on his watch; I’m quite sure the Repubs and most moderates on both sides would hold him personally responsible for having failed in his duty to protect American citizens. Frankly, and I say this as a Gore voter in 2000, I think they’d be right. I don’t see that there is any way anybody would let him say it was Clinton’s fault, especially if it was clear that Clinton warned him (as he had warned Bush) that Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden were the top domestic security threat to the U.S. Presumably, as former V.P., he whould have already been aware of threat and hopefully taken steps to counter or at least expose it.

It’s funny to me that people worry about whether Kerry will do his job to protect American lives. Bush has already failed to do that. 9/11 is his responsibility, and his (well, his and his administration’s) alone. He ignored the warnings, both from the outgoing Clinton administration and from his own staff. He took a record amount of vacation prior to 9/11, and was absent the entire month of August, 2001. No way would Gore have been let off if he had done the same. Bush should have been pilloried for his egregrious failure to protect the country. Trying to blame it on the previous adminsitration is beyond pathetic. Bush was Commander in Chief was 9/11 went down. He is the one who failed us. 9/11 was a surprise and a shock, no doubt. But who know, maybe if Bush had not ignored the warnings, maybe if he had seriously directed an investigation into what Al-Qaeda was specifically up to, instead of playing cowboy on his ranch and worrying about oil in Alaska and whether Saddam was playing nice to the U.N., the plans for 9/11 might have been thwarted. We’ll never know. Nevertheless, the responsibility for it lies in the lap of George W. Bush.

And no, I don’t buy that he learned his lesson and is going to do a better job this time. His pathetic distraction in Iraq, and his consistent conflation of that war with the one on terror proves to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is not competent to protect American interests. Anyone who thinks that the U.S. is domestically more secure form terrorism because Saddam has been deposed is an idiot.

In short, I think if Gore had been elected, and 9/11 and the recession had happened, I think his prospects for re-election would have be grim indeed. However, I think if Gore had been president, the chance of 9/11 succeeding would have been somewhat diminished. After all, he was part of the outgoing administration that told Bush et al what a threat Al-Qaeda was, and I doubt he would have taken anywhere near as much vacation time during his first year in office. He also would not have been surrounded by, and would not have conceded control of foreign affairs to, a bunch of neo-con yes men intent on irrelevant invasions. The recession would have happened regardless.

I coud be wrong, of course. It’s possible that Americans would have rallied around Gore they way we all rallied around Bush; and I suspect that Gore would not have engaged in the kinds of partisan and bitterly divisive policies that Bush has.

Perhaps he would be sitting prettier than Bush is now…

Gore would have inherited a country as divided as Bush did. And I think you are kidding yourself to think that for half the country, whatever Gore did would not be perceived as just as partisan as the other half thinks of Bush.

Clinton got 43% of the vote in 1992, and 49% in 1996 (cite), . Gore and Bush essentially tied.

The country is very divided, and has been for more than a decade. I doubt any President is going to overcome that for long.


Exactly so, Shodan. We have a subclass of politically engaged people who already know how they are going to vote in 2012, let alone in a month. They are perhaps thirty percent of the population. Another smaller group, perhaps five to ten percent of the population, evaluates the candidates and situation before voting. I have no way to prove this, but my gut feeling is that about forty percent of the American population pays attention to current events to the point that they can vote with any sort of credibility. The rest are pop-culture cattle.

Getting back to the OP, I still think that 9/11 would have happened under Gore. It had been planned for at least a year, if not longer. President Gore’s reaction to the attack would determine whether he was re-elected. If he didn’t strike back hard and fast enough, he would lose the confidence of an enraged populace. And in the aftermath, the right would be beating him with the “I told you so” stick because of the events of the past 12 years.

What, you mean like waiting three months? With a measly 10,000-15,000 troops?