Like many people, I look back at days in history and play out scenarios that might have happened IF there had been just a quirky change and events took a different path. Usually these thoughts spring into my head based on some trigger from the outside. I don’t go seeking things just to occupy my mind. But when something triggers a flight of imagination I am always ready to go.
For instance, many years ago on a Jim Zabel sports show, he told the story of how Forest Evashevski as athletic director at Iowa had to choose someone to replace himself as football coach. The choices apparently filtered down to his assistant Jerry Burns and a new up and comer from Utah State, Bob Devany. The way Zabel told the story, Evashevski chose Burns and Devany ended up at Nebraska. Not too hard to imagine what might have happened had Evashevski chosen differently.
This Monday will be the 11th anniversary of what has to be the all-time worst Supreme Court decision ever.
This scenario does keep coming back to my mind: what would have happened had the Supreme Court not stepped in to essentially hand-pick George W. Bush as President following the 2000 election? We don’t know, will truly never know who exactly who won the 2000 election in Florida. Each side has researchers who claim that their side would have won anyway. At that time I was not as partisan as I am now and all I wanted to see was that the election be fully carried out such that each ballot that was properly cast could be counted.
Sadly, that was not to happen. The Supreme Court stepped in and eventually halted the recount. This was way beyond any constitutional power that they appeared to have. Yet they did so. As pretty much the final stop, there was really nowhere to go and scream “Foul!” And so the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) went ahead and dealt with matters that should have been out of their realm. And then they stepped way, way, way over the line and actually appointed George W. Bush President.
Every year around December 12th, I spend a few minutes reflecting on how this sad scenario came to happen. Then of course like many, I go through a litany of the sins of the House of Bush and wonder whether which, if any, would have transpired had President Gore been sworn in on January 20, 2001.
Would the early power crisis happen in California – a harbinger of things to come?
Would 9/11 have happened?
Would we have continued paying down the national debt or given tax cuts despite raising spending?
Would we have faced up to election problems with a different answer than the Help America Vote Act?
Would the US be a leader in their approach to climate change?
Would the economy have collapsed? Would there not have been more regulators watching the mortgage industry ready to stop the bleeding early?
Would we have invaded Iraq?
Would we have invaded Afghanistan?
This is just a short list of questions that pop into my head every time I ponder Bush v. Gore. The answers never get any better. Without a doubt, I think that Bush V. Gore was the worst action and worst decision ever by the SCOTUS. Although, the court under John Roberts – a Bush appointee – seems more than determined to leave its mark as one of the worst also starting with Citizen’s United v. FEC.