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Care to speculate: What would the Bush Administration have been like without 9/11?

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Care to speculate: What would the Bush Administration have been like without 9/11?

Old 04-16-08, 01:48 PM
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Care to speculate: What would the Bush Administration have been like without 9/11?

Simple question but no simple answer. Bush's presidency has been so defined by 9/11 and two wars, but I still wonder what kind of president he would have been without those elements.

1. He inherited an economy reeling from the effects of the dot com bust, but it wouldn't have absorbed the additional body blow of 9/11, it probably would have recovered faster than it did.

2. He would not have had the giant approval boost of 9/11 but no Iraq war to erode it down to nothing. Bush would have been no better a communicator and without terrorism to initially rally the country, he probably would have been a middling president. Never super popular, especially compared to Clinton, but not reviled like he is now.

3. Does he win a second term? Probably depends upon the economy in 2004. If it's solid, he might have had a good chance, but there are too many variables.
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Old 04-16-08, 01:53 PM
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I'm not sure he wins in 2004. Democrats wouldn't have had to go on the record on Iraq and then later try to simultaneously defend that vote and attack Bush on it. W/o that, the national security handicap they usually have in presidential elections would have been muted.
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Old 04-16-08, 01:53 PM
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Without 9/11, Bush would have been remembered as an average-to-poor president. With 9/11, he's going to be remembered as one of the worst presidents of all time.
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Old 04-16-08, 01:57 PM
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Bush was never all that popular. He barely won in 2000 and 49% of the population didn't want him in there. The other 51% wanted him in there only because he was a better alternative to Kerry. So, starting on that note, I think his presidency would have probably limped along ok but with no real substantial changes and people would have been looking for something newer and better in 2004. I don't think he would have won re-election.

But who knows.. the .com bust might not have totally busted if we were an otherwise bored country still staying primarily focused on newer technology.
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Old 04-16-08, 01:59 PM
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Oh and I'll add, he still probably would have beaten Kerry. The key would have been if someone else could have emerged other than Kerry w/o national security as the driving issue.
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Old 04-16-08, 01:59 PM
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Tough call. He was trending downward in 2001, but on about the same plane as where he would wind up in 2004 for reelection.

Here's a wendersfan-like chart of his approval ratings:

http://www.hist.umn.edu/~ruggles/Approval.htm

As weak a Bush might have looked, the Dems managed to put up some weak candidates in 2004 as well. I think the Iraq war helped him with reelection as many people didn't want to change horses midstream.
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Old 04-16-08, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
Oh and I'll add, he still probably would have beaten Kerry. The key would have been if someone else could have emerged other than Kerry w/o national security as the driving issue.
What would have been the driving issue without terrorism and war? Perhaps the environment and energy move front and center even more so than they are now.
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Old 04-16-08, 02:05 PM
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I'm guessing he would have had no difficulty winning re-election in 2004. There's no indication that the economy would have been in bad shape then had 9/11 not occurred. I imagine his administration would have been similar to Clinton's, albeit with more verbal gaffes and less oral sex.
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Old 04-16-08, 02:06 PM
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What do you mean 'without' 9/11?

Bush, The Neocons, The Carlyle Group and Halliburton engineered 9/11!
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Old 04-16-08, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Nazgul
What do you mean 'without' 9/11?

Bush, The Neocons, The Carlyle Group and Halliburton engineered 9/11!
It took nine posts to get that in. Somebody was asleep at the switch!

Okay, for that crowd, what would it have been like if the vast right-wing conspiracy had failed to stage 9/11?

Last edited by aintnosin; 04-16-08 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 04-16-08, 02:16 PM
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I'm of the opinion that there still would have been an Iraq War without 9/11. President Bush came into office looking for an excuse to attack the Hussein regime, and I think he would have found one regardless.
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Old 04-16-08, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
I'm of the opinion that there still would have been an Iraq War without 9/11. President Bush came into office looking for an excuse to attack the Hussein regime, and I think he would have found one regardless.

It would have been a very tough sell. To sell the concept of snuffing out a "gathering threat" without the recent attack on U.S. soil. Even with the backdrop of 9/11, it was only about 2-1 support.
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Old 04-16-08, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
It would have been a very tough sell. To sell the concept of snuffing out a "gathering threat" without the recent attack on U.S. soil. Even with the backdrop of 9/11, it was only about 2-1 support.
The only way we could have done it would be to have somehow goaded Hussein into invading Kuwait again. But, even that is a long shot, I think.
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Old 04-16-08, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
It would have been a very tough sell. To sell the concept of snuffing out a "gathering threat" without the recent attack on U.S. soil. Even with the backdrop of 9/11, it was only about 2-1 support.
It would have been a tougher sell, but some violation of the no-fly zone or failure to allow access to UN inspectors (assuming the UN sent inspectors back in) would have been used as an excuse to ratchet things up. I so think we would have had a more Viet Nam-like slow buildup as opposed to the all-at-once invasion we did have.
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Old 04-16-08, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
It would have been a tougher sell, but some violation of the no-fly zone or failure to allow access to UN inspectors (assuming the UN sent inspectors back in) would have been used as an excuse to ratchet things up. I so think we would have had a more Viet Nam-like slow buildup as opposed to the all-at-once invasion we did have.

That would have made things probably harder for Bush to win in 2004.

Their timing of the war was extremely well calculated for reelection purposes. At the time of the invasion, I gave it 2 years before that 2/3 support turned into 50%-1. I pretty much nailed that.
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Old 04-16-08, 02:39 PM
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Don't get me wrong -- I agree that the Iraq War would have been far less popular than it was in reality. However, I think that President Bush and others in his administration had their hearts set on invading Iraq from day one -- partly because of personal animosity toward Hussein and partly because of the neoconservative domino theory vision of establishing a democracy in the Middle East and watching it spread throughout the region -- and nothing would have disuaded them.
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Old 04-16-08, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
I'm of the opinion that there still would have been an Iraq War without 9/11. President Bush came into office looking for an excuse to attack the Hussein regime, and I think he would have found one regardless.



Bush still would have been evil and stuff...He would have found someway to ruin the world for even one, cuz he's so goddamn evil and stuff!!





The only definite one can site would be that the 2004 election would have played out much differently.


I'm glad that Bush was in the White House on 9/11/2001 and not AlGore, but that's just me.
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Old 04-16-08, 04:04 PM
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The Bush Administration would have been even awesomer.

Without 9/11, Bush probably would have had the strength to fight back the tsunami and Katrina. But because of 9/11 we've had to put our strength into fighting in the middle east.

The only thing that should have been done differenly in hindsight is instead of putting so many troops over there we should have had the troops divert the tsunami and Katrina into Iraq so their army would be wiped out but there would be lots and lots of water around to help with reconstruction and not so many people would have died which was really really sad but who knows, maybe people would have died when the tsunami was on its way from asia to Iraq too so who are we to judge such a mistake?!

So really maybe the Bush administration would not have been awesomer and probably just as awesome instead.
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Old 04-16-08, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by MartinBlank



Bush still would have been evil and stuff...He would have found someway to ruin the world for even one, cuz he's so goddamn evil and stuff!!

It's not a question of his being evil. It's a question of his priorities. There is ample evidence that one of his highest priorities was looking for a reason to invade Iraq.

I'm glad that Bush was in the White House on 9/11/2001 and not AlGore, but that's just me.
What's with the pathological inability of some conservatives to put a space between Vice President Gore's first and last names?
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Old 04-16-08, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
the neoconservative domino theory vision of establishing a democracy in the Middle East and watching it spread throughout the region
Neocon? I think we can trace the concept of "nation-building" back to Somalia, when Clinton took what had been a strictly humanitarian mission under Bush41 and turned it into a campaign to depose the local warlords and reform the country.

It was a bad idea under Clinton and it remains a bad idea in Iraq under Bush.
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Old 04-16-08, 04:23 PM
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His job approval hit an all time low of 28% Friday. I figure it would've happened about 6 years earlier.

Last edited by Mr.Briggs; 04-16-08 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 04-16-08, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
It's not a question of his being evil. It's a question of his priorities. There is ample evidence that one of his highest priorities was looking for a reason to invade Iraq.
Source?


Originally Posted by JasonF
What's with the pathological inability of some conservatives to put a space between Vice President Gore's first and last names?
Source
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Old 04-16-08, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by aintnosin
Neocon? I think we can trace the concept of "nation-building" back to Somalia, when Clinton took what had been a strictly humanitarian mission under Bush41 and turned it into a campaign to depose the local warlords and reform the country.

It was a bad idea under Clinton and it remains a bad idea in Iraq under Bush.
Nation-building is not exclusively a neo-conservative idea, and I certainly didn't mean to imply that it was.
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Old 04-16-08, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by MartinBlank
Source?
I've heard this allegation many times but there is, of course, no proof. The closest they will get is that Bush was planning military actions against Iraq almost as soon as he set foot into office but any president coming in would be required to do the very same thing since there were almost daily no-fly zone violations. I'd be more concerned about president who didn't plan ahead in case action was ever needed.

But, alas, the goal is to portray Bush as evil and vindictive..
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Old 04-16-08, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
It's not a question of his being evil. It's a question of his priorities. There is ample evidence that one of his highest priorities was looking for a reason to invade Iraq.
Originally Posted by MartinBlank
Source?
Source 1: CBS News has learned that barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq — even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks.

Source 2: In the aftermath of Sept. 11, President Bush ordered his then top anti-terrorism adviser to look for a link between Iraq and the attacks, despite being told there didn't seem to be one.

Source 3: On July 23, 2005, I submitted an electronic Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Defense seeking DoD staffer Stephen Cambone's notes from meetings with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the afternoon of September 11, 2001. Cambone's notes were cited heavily in the 9/11 Commission Report's reconstruction of the day's events. On February 10, 2006, I received a response from the DoD which includes partially-redacted copies of Cambone's notes. The documents can be viewed as a photo set on Flickr.

The released notes document Donald Rumsfeld's 2:40 PM instructions to General Myers to find the "[b]est info fast . . . judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time - not only UBL [Usama Bin Laden]" (as discussed on p. 334-335 of the 9/11 Commission Report and in Bob Woodward's Plan of Attack).
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