Robert Prather found “the most ridiculous piece of writing [he’s] seen in a while” over at Rush Limbaughtomy:

The early exit polls in FLORIDA were correct. Had all the votes counted as intended Gore would be President. We would be prosperous, people would be employed, the deficit would not exist, the Rich would have gotten richer, the poor would not be as poor, we would not be at war, soldiers would not be dying, Bin Lauden would be dead, there would be no Dept. of Big Brother Security, there would be no Patriot Act and the World Trade Towers would still be standing.

Except for the first part, I don’t think even Al Gore thinks this.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Another possibility: If Gore had become President, the pressure would have been off Hussein and he would have dug up his hidden nuclear parts and had a functional nuclear weapon by 2004.

  2. John Lemon says:

    This guy is great and he’s pushing Dean. I say we should encourage him all we can.

    (Caveat: I still think Dean may be bad for the GOP in some west coast Senate and gubenatorial races.)

  3. James,

    Your last sentence sums it up very nicely. Even Al Gore would never buy into this.

  4. John says:

    So, you’re of the belief that exit polling isn’t predictive? Strange how we use it everywhere else to ensure fair elections in countries attempting their own democracy. I’d consider it stupendously stupid if we didn’t do exit polling in the nascent democracy of Iraq. Strange how we’re not going to do it in our very own national elections anymore. Kind of got cut off there suddenly with the 2000 elections. Strange, that.

  5. John Lemon says:

    Think sampling bias and take a statistics class, one that includes a good dose of sampling research design.

    Exit polls are still used, but in very tight elections they don’t tell you much. The placement of the pollsters matters quite a bit and is usually not random. And the increase in mail-in absentee ballots has thrown a wrench into the exit polling enterprise.

  6. Barry B says:

    Thank you for the link and the attention.
    Having been Al Gore Senior’s Senate Page in 1961 and a long time Tennessee Democrat and friend of the Gores, I have what I believe to be very good reasons behind each of my assertions. If nothing else Al Gore (the boring overly informed Al Gore) would have meticulously absorbed every NSC and CIA file that crossed his desk. As always he would have made himself the best informed he could be. I believe as a result that he would have caught the warnings that were available prior to 9-11.
    Al Gore would not have supported the Patriot Act or The Dept. of Homeland Security. He would have had those drones in Afghanistan take out Osama when they had the chance. The deficit would not have sapped our financial strength and the job market and economy would not be in the shape they are in today. Can any of this be proven? Of course not. Can you prove it would not have happened this way?
    Thank you for the mention and the link. It is always nice to be appreciated.

    You will be linked and blogrolled in return. I believe in reciprocity.

    Barry at Rush Limbaughtomy.

  7. James Joyner says:



    Honestly, I doubt it. I don’t like Patriot Act or necessarily DHS, but those were overwhelming bipartisan measures. Indeed, GWB resisted DHS for quite some time but congressional Democrats, notably Gore’s running mate Joe Lieberman, almost forced it on him.

    Gore’s president, Bill Clinton, didn’t take out Osama when he had the chance. When is it that Bush had the chance?

    The economy was falling apart when Clinton-Gore left office. Not because of bad policy but because the Internet bubble burst. The recession is global, not the result of anything any US administration did. I’m not sure what Gore would/could have done that would have created more jobs. Taxes would be higher, as the Bush tax cuts wouldn’t have been passed. This might have resulted in slightly lower deficits but likely in slightly more unemployement. But it would have been marginal at best, especially since we’d have had a Republican Congress the whole time.

    Now, it may well be that Gore would have read through the intel briefings more thoroughly than Bush. It’s even conceivable that we would have left Saddam in power in a Gore presidency.

  8. Doug says:

    Look up, I see Pigs Flying!!!!!!!!!!

    Al Gore, what a joke…….as is the author.

  9. Paul says:

    I believe as a result that he would have caught the warnings that were available prior to 9-11.

    And and and… he would have cured cancer and he would have given us world peace and he would pave the street with gold.

    Sad to see someone so feaking delusional.

  10. Matthew says:

    Given the closeness of the margin of victory, the fact that the networks announced exit poll results while the conservative panhandle was still voting has always struck me as inappropriate; it’s good manners to wait until all the polls in the state close before you make predictions. And if the partisan circumstances were reversed, I know lefties would be arguing that networks stole votes from Gore by announcing exit polling early.

  11. Buck Hicks says:

    You have all forgotten that Gore is the man who invented the Internet. Any man who can do that could surely put together a few dots concerning intelligence reports.

    I have two questions. Suppose that Gore had put together the dots before 9/11. Would he have initiated a preemptive strike of any kind? How would that be different then Bush and Iraq?

  12. Guy Cabot says:

    Mr. Prather is largely correct; while nobody can be certain whether 9/11 could or could not have been averted, it is certain our economy would have been much better and we our foreign policy handled with much greater wisdom and skill.

    Personally, I believe 9/11 would have been prevented; Al Qaeda was always on the Clinton admin’s radar screen. When Bush was appointed, all accounts show Al Qaeda was largely forgotten as prioritiess shifted toward rewarding certain Bush family interests.

  13. Personally, I believe 9/11 would have been prevented; Al Qaeda was always on the Clinton admin’s radar screen.

    What the heck does this mean?? In the Clinton administration, “on the radar screen” clearly didn’t translate into action of any kind. Clinton — on two separate occasions — gave up the opportunity to take custody of bin Laden and take him out of operation. Clinton himself has publicly acknowledged that this may have been the worst mistake in his presidency.

    …it is certain our economy would have been much better and we our foreign policy handled with much greater wisdom and skill.

    Certain? The economy was on a downturn when Clinton left office. As James pointed out earlier, this is a global phenomenon and not the result of the actions of any single American presidential administration. As for our foreign policy, if by “wisdom and skill” you mean “kowtowing to the wishes of the United Nations” (where, may I remind you, Libya now chairs the Human Rights Commission), then I for one am absolutely delighted to have a President so completely without skill and “wisdom” that he puts American security and interests first.

  14. Paul says:

    Does anyone need more proof the liberals have all gone stalk raving mad???

    The Dem party is toast.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Paul, if the dems do win in November, I fully expect to see a conspiracy theory from you regarding why they won. I think hubris is something to watch out for, given how close the election is likely to be. And saying things like that may be good for the cheap seats, but you’ll just end up looking mighty stupid if the people you’ve been berating non stop actually beat you.

  16. Wylie says:

    I wonder how long the left will continue languishing in this gauzy, dream-world alternate reality in which Prince Albert, Jr. would have been justly crowned King of the Realm and All Would Be Right With the World. These delusional visions of Peace in Our Time and “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his need” Utopias are obviously affecting the left’s ability to create any kind of plausible alternative to Republican policies and thereby mount any kind of serious challenge to the GOP stranglehold on the Federal Government. This is not helpful.

    Newsflash: the votes WERE counted, every which way from Sunday, and Bush still won. Narrowly, it’s true, but indisputably. And while we’re in the throughs of idle speculation, let’s pretend that all military absentee ballots had been tallied and the state had not been called for Gore before the polls closed, in which case thousands more Bush votes would have pushed the outcome far beyond any reasonable doubt.

    And what magic wand would Prince Albert have waved to miraculously dissipate the recession that would have already been barreling down the pike towards our economy by the time he took office? Higher taxes? More government boondoggle social services? Puh-leeze! You don’t need to be an economist to reasonably speculate that, if anything, and Algore administration would have made the already-inevitable recession deeper and longer. That’s great if you’re Dirk Diggler, disastrous if you’re the American President.

    I’d love to hear what Algore’s plan would have been to ‘stop’ 9/11. Even if he or someone in his administration had been able to ‘connect the dots’, the most he would have known would have been something along the lines of ‘sometime in the next 12 months some Islamists are planning on flying a plane into something important’. And there’s no politician on either side of the aisle that would have the intestinal fortitude to have done the kind of things that would have prevented 9/11 i.e. hunting down and deporting all Arab men, citizens and ‘student’ immigrants alike, that had any kind of terrorist ties; implementing massive new airport screening procedures based on a ‘hunch’; proactively and without provocation hitting terrorist cells domestic and international, etc. Accusatory wails of ‘profiling’ and ‘xenophobia’ would have gone up the instant the other party got wind of the plans. Fear of such tactics still constrains our actions, even post-9/11, and results in the (mostly) unfounded ‘Big Brother Security’ accusations from the Black Helicopter crowd. No President in my lifetime has had anywhere near the political will to mount the kind of preventative measures that would have obviated 9/11, and contending that a lifetime political animal like Algore would have done so is risible and ludicrous.

    Ah, well. I guess I should be glad that the lefties are ‘taking themselves out of the play’, as it were, on the national level, but in fact I find little joy in it. Without serious opposition, the Big Spenders and Nanny Staters of the right feel free to continue their version of ‘business as usual’ in Washington with little fear of being booted from the Federal Gravy Train. And that’s almost as bad as having the lefties in charge. Almost.

  17. John says:

    Pretty fun tilting at windmills, ain’t it?

  18. Paul says:

    Paul, if the dems do win in November, I fully expect to see a conspiracy theory from you regarding why they won.

    Well, you won’t get it… Cuz I’m not a whack job!

  19. Mr. Cabot,

    I believe you are agreeing with someone else and not me. I won’t take credit for that tripe.

  20. “That is the most ridiculous piece of writing I’ve seen in a while”

    My premise did not rely on the limited request recount asked by the Gore campaign, but on 1) the findings on a statewide recount that “fixed” the overvotes, and 2) the revelations concerning the illegal voter roll purges. These issues make the results of the exit polls credible. My musings on what might have been stem from that assumption. I am entitled to those musings and we will never know if I am right or wrong.

    What is of interest is the seriousness with which you, Robert Prather, Spoons, a shot in the dark, Poliblog etc. take those musings. It seems I struck a raw nerve aided by the current situation that has given you some pause in your unfettered support for the Resident.

    Would the studious and over-informed Al Gore have read and acted on the CIA and NSC information that crossed his desk stopping 9-11?
    Is that within the realm of possibility? Yes I believe that it is.
    Would no 9-11 have stopped war in IRAQ and Afghanistan, the record deficit, the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Dept? Yes I believe it would.
    Would that have helped the economy and the job market? Yes I believe it would.
    Would he have used the drones to attack the Taliban and take out Osama? Who knows but yes is as good as no.
    Did the Operation Desert Fox attacks destroy Saddams WMDs? Well it appears that something did.

    You may believe my musings to be far off the mark but this is only a dream of what might have been. I prefer to make my what might have been a good dream. So put it down if it makes you feel superior, but your rejection of it has only as much credibility as the dream itself.

    The “most ridiculous piece of writing you have seen in a while”? I guess you and Robert don’t get out much.

    Thank you for the interest and your comments.

  21. James Joyner says:


    What has everyone reacting to the piece isn’t that we take it seriously but that it represents, to us, a rather baffling perpsective on Gore. We’re talking about a guy who was a sitting Vice President during very good economic times who couldn’t win his home state. Why anyone would think he had some clairvoyant gifts simply astounds. Surely, he had time during his 8 years as VP to read intel reports? Yet we had all manner of AQ attacks on the US during his tenure during which virtually nothing was done.