If 9/11 Hadn't Happened


I blog from a parallel present in an alternative universe in this week's New York magazine. Here's how it begins:

September 1, 2006, 7:32 a.m.

After a somber beginning, the president finally found his voice last night. It’s been hard for him to connect viscerally to the public, and the formality of a congressional address doesn’t exactly help. He remains awkward, stiff, emotionally detached. That strange interlude in the 2004 campaign, when he finally seemed human enough to be elected, has evaporated again—just when he needs it most. His approval ratings still haven’t gotten past the mid-fifties—and it doesn’t help, of course, that he lost the popular vote the one time it counted. Karmic payback, I suppose.

But the facts are on his side. As he amassed the evidence for WMD materials and hundreds (possibly thousands) of trained terrorists in Afghanistan’s camps, as he made the case for what he calls “aggressive defense” against the Taliban, as he linked this threat to the newly belligerent regime in Tehran, he gained a certain logical and emotional traction. At least I hope he did. This is what he ran on, and although it’s taken him almost two agonizing years to get to this moment, he still gets credit in my book. Yes, it took aerial photographs of alleged chemical factories in Kandahar to get him to closure. But he got there—which is more than Bush ever did in four years.

Yep, without 9/11, Gore was elected in 2004. And he ran to Bush's right on Islamo-fascism. Read on ...