Imagine there was no electoral college and Al Gore became president after winning the popular vote in 2000. Now, imagine President Gore running for re-election with George W. Bush's record.
How would you vote?
What if al-Qaeda easily hijacked planes on Sept. 11, 2001 after Gore received an Aug. 6 Presidential Daily Brief, titled "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US" -- reporting "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks."
What if Gore ignored lessons from the successful coordinated effort to stop the millennium plot to bomb Los Angeles airport? In the words of the 9/11 Commission Report, the director of Central Intelligence, "the Counterterrorist Center, and the Counterterrorism Security Group did their utmost to sound a loud alarm, its basis being intelligence indicating that al-Qaeda planned something big. But the millennium phenomenon was not repeated."
What if the Gore administration diverted forces from Afghanistan and the war on al-Qaeda to attack Iraq, which was not involved in 9/11, and knowingly used false and disputed evidence to claim Iraq had weapons of mass destruction?
What if Gore said of Iraq on July 2, 2003, "There are some who feel like that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on. We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation." Since then about 900 U.S. service members have been killed and more than 7,000 wounded in action.
What if Gore was president as soaring drug profits became the biggest source of reconstruction funds in Afghanistan, the world's leading supplier of heroin?
What if a senior CIA officer wrote "Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War On Terror," claiming irresponsible Gore policies, including the "avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked" war on Iraq, have made the U.S. less secure?
What if Gore led when the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University reported, "Iraq has become a major distraction from the global war on terrorism" and the Iraq war "has created momentum for many terrorist elements, but chiefly al-Qaeda and its affiliates"?
What if more than 90 percent of cargo unloaded at U.S. ports went uninspected during Gore's presidency, even as ABC News demonstrated vulnerability by shipping in depleted uranium undetected two years in a row?
What if North Korea had no nuclear weapons at the beginning of Gore's term, but had them today?
What if Gore dropped out of the international process to cut greenhouse gas emissions despite rapidly melting Arctic ice, increased droughts and other evidence of global warming, and a Pentagon report discussing abrupt climate change as a plausible scenario with drastic implications for human survival and national security?
What if Gore got an F for his environmental record from the League of Conservation Voters, who said his "administration's approach to the environment demonstrates a clear bias toward the interests of the oil industry, the utility industry and their corporate contributors at the expense of the health and safety of the public"?
What if Gore was the first president since Herbert Hoover in the Great Depression to see a net loss of jobs?
What if the typical household lost $1,535 between 2000 and 2003, adjusting for inflation, and the poverty rate went up every year under President Gore?
What if the federal budget went from a $236 billion surplus in fiscal 2000 before President Gore to a $413 billion deficit in 2004?
What if Gore passed the buck to your children and grandchildren, running up the national debt to give huge tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires?
What if 5.2 million Americans lost health insurance between 2000 and 2003 under Gore? That's more than the combined populations of New Hampshire, New Mexico and West Virginia.
What if Gore blocked the import of cheaper drugs from Canada and gave windfall profits to drug companies and HMOs in the guise of reforming Medicare?
What if Gore told a group of large contributors in September that he was going to "come out strong" after his reelection with "privatizing of Social Security"?
Would you vote to re-elect President Gore with George Bush's record?
Holly Sklar is coauthor of "Raise the Floor: Wages and Policies That Work for All Of Us" (www.raisethefloor.org). She can be reached at email@example.com. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services. Copyright (c) 2004 Holly Sklar
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