Al Gore at top . . .
If 2000s real winner were president, we’d be spared so much

Don't let anyone get away with deflecting criticism of the Bush administration by arguing that everything would be about the same if Al Gore had become president.

One encounters that wobbly spin a lot lately. But it falls flat on its face.

If the election of 2000 had been decided by the voters, not the conservative, Bush-biased Supreme Court, the last 6 years would have been very different. While it's hard to say what Gore would have done, here's a list of what wouldn't have happened.

A Gore administration would have listened to the virtually endless warnings from the world intelligence community about terrorists learning how to fly jetliners in the United States and maybe even have stopped 9/11 from taking place.

But even if 9/11 couldn't have been avoided, there might have been no invasion of Afghanistan. There would be no Iraq war. The creation of a huge private mercenary army in Iraq could never have happened.

An undercover CIA agent's identity wouldn't have been revealed, endangering her, all her contacts and our national security in an act of political revenge against her husband, who opposed the Iraq war.

We wouldn't have goaded Iran and North Korea into more than their normal belligerence.

Without Bush, there would be no Abu Ghraib, no USA Patriot Act, no Military Commissions Act, no Guantanamo, no secret American torture prisons around Europe, no "renditions," no suspension of habeas corpus for people accused without due process of being illegal enemy combatants. In other words, no attack on the Bill of Rights.

The government would not have carte blanche to engage in electronic surveillance against Americans without specific and proper warrants. We wouldn't have theocratic fundamentalists making domestic and foreign policy. Secrecy wouldn't be the cardinal rule governing all White House interaction with the public and the press.

We wouldn't have a constitutional crisis between Congress and the executive branch, with the White House asserting its supreme powers over everything in sight. We wouldn't have a crisis in women's reproductive rights looming on the Supreme Court, because we wouldn't have John Roberts as chief justice and Sam Alito as an associate justice.

We would not suffer from a major undermining of environmental laws, nor an energy policy that subsidizes Big Oil and its gargantuan profits while shortchanging solar power and alternative energy sources. Global warming would not have been swept under the rug.

Katrina would still have flattened New Orleans, but the bulk of its low-income residents would be coming home to their property, well on its way to being usable again. Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney would be names long forgotten or never known.

America's reputation and legitimacy as a responsible and savvy world leader would not be in ruins.

V.B. Price is an Albuquerque free-lance writer, author, editor and commentator.
June 29, 2007