To mark the 10th anniversary of the Supreme Court's momentous Bush v. Gore ruling which handed the presidency to George W. Bush, New York asked "five (sometime) novelists" to imagine a "parallel life" in which Albert Gore, Jr. occupied the Oval Office instead. The editors asked Fox News' Glenn Beck (author of the thriller, The Overton Window) to cover the period 2004-2005, just after the hypothetical President Gore's reelection against the "dream team for red-meat Republicans": Sen. Larry Craig (ID) and Rep. Mark Foley (FL). Here are some of Beck's could-have-beens:
1. President Gore has cut a deal to avoid a massage scandal
Illinois Senator Jack Ryan (R), seeking a way to remove his chief competition in the election, had blackmailed Gore to appoint Ryan's opponent, Barry Obama, to the Justice Department. Ryan's leverage: "Information about a certain late afternoon Gore had spent in a hotel in Chicago," in which "a trip to the day spa had turned into a second chakra-release party."
2. Arlen Specter is Gore's replacement VP
Vice President Lieberman had already resigned before the election and formed "a new, nonpartisan organization" called "the Committee on the Ever-Present Danger." President Gore needed to fill the vacancy "with someone centrist" to beat the GOP's Craig-Foley ticket. Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) agreed to the job with "visceral lust."
3. President Gore inadvertently eats polar bear
On a visit to "Inuit tribesmen in Alaska who were threatened by global warming," Gore unwittingly eats "a freshly cut polar-bear porterhouse," symbolically "consuming the flesh of the animal his policies were supposed to be saving from extinction."
4. FEMA head Robert Gibbs flubs Hurricane Katrina
Gibbs tries to get Gore to focus on the rising waters in New Orleans, eight days after Hurricane Katrina, but Gore pushes him off, adding: "Oh, and Gibby? You're doing a heckuva job."
5. Deputy Attorney General Barry Obama
Obama, who'd had to settle for deputy attorney general because his lack of experience made the top DOJ job "completely implausible," convinces Gore to focus on "global water depletion," which Gore describes as, "the major scientific and moral cause of our time" without knowing a thing about it.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Save the world... by changing how you pee
- Why does Fareed Zakaria still have a job?
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- Does solar energy have a battery problem?
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 7 common estate-planning mistakes
- 10 ways to gain real superpowers that will change your life
Subscribe to the Week