New York Magazine Imagines: An Exhaustive History of the Gore Presidency
What if Al Gore had prevailed in 2000?
In anticipation of the 10 year anniversary of Bush v. Gore, New York magazine has commissioned five writers (Kurt Andersen, Kevin Baker, Glenn Beck, Jane Smiley and Walter Kirn) to collaborate on a history of the Gore administration. The result is weird, hypnotic and confusing, which is to be expected when five different people share their memories of something that never actually happened. The most notable events from ten years of American non-history:
2001 (Kurt Andersen)
- Gore's cabinet includes Laura Tyson (Treasury), David Boies (Attorney General), Richard Holbrooke (State), Wesley Clark (Defense), and--for some reason--Tom Brokaw (Interior). Ron Klain is chief of staff, Leon Fuerth is national-security adviser, Bob Kerrey is CIA director, Bill Bradley is U.N. ambassador, Robert Gibbs is FEMA director, and Robert Kennedy Jr. runs the EPA.
- 9/11 happens on 9/10. Rudy Giuliani killed in the attacks. Mark Green succeeds him as mayor of New York City. Flight 93 hits and destroys the White House. Official offices and the residence of the president are moved to grounds of Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
- War in Afghanistan and passage of the Patriot Act commence as scheduled.
- George W. Bush returns to alcohol, Laura Bush becomes addicted to tranquilizers.
2002-2003 (Kevin Baker)
- Larry Summers replaces Alan Greenspan at the Fed.
- Blackwater mercenaries capture and decapitate Ayman al-Zawahiri at Tora Bora. Gore presented with the terrorist leader's severed head.
- The Bushes complete their respective rehabs.
- Troop commitment in Afghanistan rises to 50,000.
- Joe Lieberman resigns, citing disagreements with the administration's handling of the Afghan war and the use of force in Iraq.
2004-2005 (Glenn Beck)
- Arlen Specter replaces Lieberman as vice president.
- Gore wins second term, despite losing the popular vote to Larry Craig.
- Barack Obama loses Senate race to Jack Ryan. Gore appoints his deputy attorney general.
- Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans. Gore blames it on "global water depletion."
2006-2007 (Jane Smiley)
- 76 people die in Hurricane Katrina. Administration's approval ratings plummet.
- Gore's solar power initiatives prompt unprecedented economic growth in North Dakota, New Mexico, and parts of Arizona.
- Saddam Hussein dies of a heart attack. Sons Uday and Qusay flee to Syria.
- Wounded by an assassin's bullet, Specter resigns vice presidency. Replaced by newly-divorced Hillary Clinton. Gore's poll numbers rebound.
2008-2009 (Walter Kirn)
- Bill Clinton marries Carla Bruni.
- Financial markets crash in February of 2008. There is no bank bailout.
- John Edwards bests Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Tabs Barack Obama--appointed to the Senate at some point between 2005-2008 by Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich to replace the scandal-plagued Ryan--as his running mate. Edwards's campaign unravels amidst a sex scandal weeks before election day.
- Mitt Romney wins the presidency with 362 electoral votes.
- Romney passes sweeping health care reform with bipartisan support.
- Treasury Secretary Michael Bloomberg convinces Romney to let India's Tesla Motors acquire General Motors.
- Kanye West not famous for some reason.
2010 (Kurt Andersen)
- Stephen Colbert finds fame and fortune as a cast member on SNL.
- Newsweek editor Jon Meacham writes widely-read biography of Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism.
- Romney's religious affiliation starts to make people uneasy.
- Al Qaeda suicide bombers bring down two planes over Buffalo and Los Angeles on March 15. This event will come to be known as 3/15.
- Unemployment dips from 13.7 percent to just under 10 percent. Romney gets no credit.
- Romney's plan to replace "don't ask, don't tell" with separate gay brigades and gay squadrons draws criticism from both sides of the aisle.
- Sarah Palin named Interior secretary.
- Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee announces plan to challenge Romney in 2012 GOP primaries.
- In wake of 3/15 attacks, Hillary Clinton emerges as the Democrat's 2012 front-runner.
- Al Gore's memoir, Decision Points, released to positive reviews and brisk sales.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.