By Dave Kopel
[The following is a translated excerpt from the French graduate school textbook Histoire des Etats-Unis, published in 2150.]
…Democrats were naturally despondent after the election of 2004, for no one foresaw that Bush’s successes in his second term would set the stage for the election of Mrs. Clinton as President in 2008—even though today it seems impossible that the people of that ancient time could not have understood the obvious consequences of their actions.
The first component of Mrs. Clinton’s election was a total change in the security environment of the United States, just as such a change had been an essential condition of the election of her husband in 1992. During the Cold War, the most hawkish candidate had always won the general election. (Except in 1964, during which the incumbent President was considered quite hawkish, but his opponent was perceived as recklessly so.) For example, in 1976, Democrat Jimmy Carter had beaten the détente-minded Gerald Ford by criticizing Ford’s weak record on human rights issues in Soviet bloc countries such as Poland.
Carter, of course, did not live up to his campaign record about getting tough with the Soviets, and was removed from office in a landslide in the next election. A few months after Reagan was inaugurated, his most important ally, French President Francois Mitterrand was elected. Although Mitterrand and Reagan disagreed entirely on economics, they were both staunchly anti-Soviet. The Mitterrand-Reagan policies, assisted to some degree by British Prime Minister Thatcher, led to the collapse of the Soviet Empire during the administration of Reagan’s successor George H.W. Bush.
The end of the Evil Empire meant that national security issues were no longer paramount in the United States, and thereby allowed the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, a candidate who never could have been elected during the Cold War. All this was well-understood in the U.S. in the early 21st century.
The second term of George W. Bush began while the last days of the “Zarqawi Tet Offensive” were in progress. The Iraqi Tet, while inflicting many casualties, had failed to change the results of the November election in the United States, and likewise failed to prevent free elections in Iraq in January 2005. Like the Vietnam Tet and Hitler’s Ardennes Offensive (which Americans call “The Battle of the Bulge”) the failed Zarqawi Tet exhausted the offensive capabilities of the totalitarian forces.
Sporadic fighting continued in Iraq for several years, but the growing stability of democratic government in Iraq meant that the insurgents had fewer and fewer places to hide. Many of the surviving insurgents had crossed the border to Iran or Syria by mid-2005.
In 2003, the Iranian and Syrian regimes had both faced life-or-death decisions: they could accommodate to the United States (as The Sudan had done, by confining its terrorist activities solely to terrorizing people within its borders); or they could attempt to maintain their freedom of international action by sending guerillas and supplies to support an insurgency in Iraq which would prevent the establishment of a republican form of government there. They chose the latter course, and were not successful.
By April 2005, international creditors were increasingly unwilling to make long-term loans to the Assad or Khameni regimes.
In May, French doctors admitted that Yassir Arafat had technically been dead for over half a year, although the doctors had attempted a variety of heroic and innovative measures to bring him back to life. A power struggle in the Palestinian territories broke out, and as the 27 factions contended, often violently, the Israeli army found that the Palestinians were so busy fighting each other that Israel could withdraw most its forces from the Palestinian territories.
The world was thrown into a diplomatic crisis on June 1, 2005, when Israeli forces began massing on the border of Syria and Lebanon (which at the time was a Syrian puppet-state). Israeli Prime Minister Sharon announced “In the next week, we intend to solve our problems once and for all.”
The Syrian army, naturally, concentrated in the southwest, hurrying to building fortified positions to defend against the imminent Israeli assault. In European capitals, millions of people demonstrated against Israeli aggression. American film star Sean Penn made an emergency trip to Syria, and declared that Syria was a land “flowing with milk and honey, where happy children fly kites all day.”
At the United Nations, the Security Council voted for 131 emergency resolutions against Israeli in a five-day period, but every resolution was vetoed by the American delegate, who was closely monitored by American Secretary of State Joseph Lieberman.
What happened on the morning of June 6, 2005, astonished everyone except the conspirators themselves.
While Syrian forces were concentrated in the southwest, the Turkish army swept into Syria from the north. A small contingent of Iraqi forces, mainly Kurds, invaded from the east. On the fourth day of the war, Jordan declared war on Syria, and invaded from the south.
The conflict known as The Six Day War, Episode II, ended when Bashar Assad fled Syria to take refuge in Saudi Arabia. He spent the rest of his days in the quarters which had once been occupied by Idi Amin.
Hezbollah attempted to start an insurgency in Syria-Lebanon, but with no external sources of support, the insurgents were quickly crushed. The phrase “Turkish prison” (meaning an unpleasant place of confinement) came into widespread usage.
On the seventh day, the Israeli Air Force struck Iran’s nuclear facilities. As Iranian air defense forces scrambled west to meet the Israeli attack, American planes launched from southerly carriers in the Persian Gulf, and destroyed Iranian airfields and much of the Iranian military. In the ensuing chaos, student radicals took to the streets, and with no coherent army to oppose them, deposed the Iranian theocracy.
At an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, the French delegate rose to speak first: “I propose that the United Nations declare Syria and Lebanon to be protectorates of Turkey, under a United Nations mandate, as an affirmation of the historic peace-keeping role of the Ottoman Empire. I further propose that the United Nations take the same actions regarding the airstrikes in Iran as the U.N. took regarding the genocide in Darfur and Rwanda. That is to say, nothing except words of regret.”
The Russian delegate seconded the motion; pounding his shoe on the table, he demanded that the question be put to an immediate vote, without debate. The motion passed 8-6, with all five permanent members of the Security Council voting in favor, and the Syrian delegate not present.
Later that year, American film-maker Michael Moore produced a humorous documentary showing photographic evidence that: 1. On the morning the Security Council convened, the French, Russian, and Chinese delegates to the U.N. had each met with the Iraqi Oil Minister and been given a SUV filled with Iraqi 25,000 Dinar notes; 2. Just a few days after the Security Council resolution was passed, the French, Russian, and Chinese delegates resigned their positions, and moved to Iraq, where each delegate was given his own palace, which had once belonged to Saddam Hussein.
Although Moore had produced irrefutable footage of the bribery of U.N. delegates, his film attracted only a small audience, as most Americans believed that anything Moore said was necessarily false. “Fool me once, shame on me. Lose an election for me, f--- you,” said Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, explaining why he was picketing the premiere of Moore’s film.
Moore made one last film for American audiences, a humorous and respectful biography of Daniel and Philip Berrigan, which won critical acclaim when it was shown on the Public Broadcasting System at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. But PBS executives said that the broadcast did not achieve the ratings they expected in that time slot.
Moore emigrated to Cuba, where he was appointed Minister of Culture. His humorous documentary “Fidel Castro is the Reincarnation of Jesus Christ” enjoyed the distinction of being the only movie which every single Cuban watched 27 times. When websites such as Moorewatch.com argued that the reason Cubans watched the film so often was that food ration cards were distributed only at cinemas, Moore replied that critics of the film were right-wing extremists under the control of Karl Rove.
Osama bin Laden made a surprise visit to Cuba on October 31, 2006, and hugged Michael Moore, as he told a cheering throng in Havana, “Most American culture is garbage, but this guy made the only American movie I really enjoyed.”
Notwithstanding the continuing failure to capture Osama bin Laden, Americans were so pleased with the Bush administration’s success in the War on Terror that Republicans swept the House and Senate in the 2006 elections, achieving lopsided majorities equaling the Democratic dominance of Congress after the 1936 elections.
The 2005 Supreme Court confirmation battle to make Clarence Thomas the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and to fill Thomas’s Associate Justice position with Janice Brown, had been hard-fought and narrowly won.
But Bush’s next three Supreme Court nominations were easily confirmed by the overwhelmingly Republican Senate in the Spring of 2007.
On the last day of the Supreme Court’s term in June 2008, Roe v. Wade was over-ruled 6-3. That afternoon, the Louisiana legislature convened in special session, and banned all abortion, under any circumstances.
The political effect on Democrats was galvanizing. Although Senator Clinton had quickly disposed of John Edwards, John Kerry, and Mike Easley in the primaries, she trailed the likely Republican nominee, Senator Frist, by over 15 points in the polls.
But the Bush victory in the War on Terror meant that national security was no longer the paramount issue. Millions of “Security Moms” and “Soccer Moms” decided that reproductive rights were now the most important issue, and they streamed into Clinton headquarters to volunteer. Before June 2008, abortion had been a tertiary issue for them: the only contested questions were parental notification requirements and restrictions on third-trimester abortions; the Security/Soccer Moms favored such restrictions, which they did not see as affecting their own rights. But with Roe v. Wade gone, their personal rights were now at stake.
As one former Security Mom explained, “My husband didn’t mind when they banned ‘assault weapons,’ but he never would stand for banning all guns. And I don’t mind some regulations on abortion, but I’m not going to stand for prohibition.”
At the Democratic National Convention in Albuquerque, Mrs. Clinton announced, “I’m pro-choice and pro-life.” The delegates went wild when she announced that she had fully reconciled with her “sometimes roguish but always adorable” husband, and that they were adopting a Chinese baby from Inner Mongolia. Jenjis K. Rodham-Clinton was much too young to know that she was the most famous baby in the world.
President Clinton’s first years in office were extremely contentious. It seemed as if her nomination of University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill to the Supreme Court would be defeated, until an ailing Senator Arlen Specter was wheeled in from his hospital bed to cast the last vote of his distinguished career for her nomination.
The confirmation of Justice Hill turned into a political debacle for the Clinton administration, when only six weeks after joining the Supreme Court, Justice Hill filed a racial discrimination complaint against Chief Justice Thomas, alleging that he forced her to write all the opinions on tax cases and Indian law. The Chief Justice replied that the tax and Indian cases were a form of hazing that is traditionally applied to the newest Justice.
Chagrined by the Anita Hill disaster, and newly reconciled with political strategist Dick Morris, President Clinton announced that her next Supreme Court nominee would be a sensible moderate who was widely respected by all sides. Justice Glenn Harlan Reynolds was confirmed 99-0, and lawyers who practiced before the Supreme Court began studying a decade’s worth of Instapundit archives to discern the new Justice’s views. Reynolds is best-known for writing the decision which struck down the clause in Louisiana law which forbade traveling out of state to obtain an abortion; Reynolds declared such a restriction to be a violation of the Interstate Commerce clause of the Constitution.
Ann Althouse retired from her teaching position, and began charging $10,000 an hour as a Supreme Court litigation consultant.
At 5 a.m. on December 7, 2010, the People’s Republic of China launched a surprise invasion of Taiwan. Although the PRC had funneled $135 million into the 2008 Clinton campaign (as a humorous documentary by Morgan Spurlock would later prove), Mrs. Clinton convened an emergency session of Congress at 7 a.m. to ask for a declaration of war on China. Polling by Dick Morris from 5:30 to 6:50 had shown that a strong response to Chinese aggression would be popular with key voting blocs, such as Filipinos in Hawaii, Cambodian doughnut shop owners in California, and Vietnamese shrimp-boaters in Louisiana.
At 11 a.m. that morning, a giggling Bill Gates and Linus Torvalds announced that they had written a secret virus into their operating systems, which they had just activated, and which would cripple all Chinese computers. The powerful American military from the G.W. Bush defense build-up demolished Chinese ships in the Straits of Taiwan. The Chinese government initiated a nuclear strike on the United States, but most of the missiles failed to launch because they included defective components from sleazy American exporters; those missiles that did launch were instantly shot down by the Strategic Defense Initiative lasers.
At 4 p.m., former Vice-President Gore convened a press conference to remind the public that he had invented the SDI.
A few days later, the Chinese hardliners were deposed in a coup led by mid-ranking Chinese officials who had attended American universities. They quickly sued for peace, correctly perceiving that American terms would be generous. China recognized the independence of Taiwan, restored independence to Tibet, and granted “absolute autonomy in all matters except foreign relations” to Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. The next week, Baby Jenjis cooed while her adoptive mother spoke to a crowd of two million at Baotou, Inner Mongolia.Needless to say, the world economy skyrocketed once China became democratic.
A few pro-Democrat websites pointed out that Mrs. Clinton had overturned the dictatorship in China in less than a week, but it had taken George W. Bush several weeks to overturn the dictatorship in the much smaller nation of Iraq. Mrs. Clinton, however, was far too self-disciplined to make such comments herself, which only increased her bipartisan popularity. Just as George W. Bush had learned from the mistakes of George H.W. Bush, Mrs. Clinton’s Presidency avoided many of the errors of Mr. Clinton’s Presidency; she strove to be a uniter, not a divider.
By early 2012, pundits were near-certain that no Republican could beat Mrs. Clinton in the elections; leading Republicans were looking for a way to make an arrangement with Mrs. Clinton.
At the July 4, 2012, Democratic National Convention in Honolulu, Mrs. Clinton unexpectedly took the podium on the first night. “We are all Democrats, we all Republicans,” she declared, echoing Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural address. At first the delegates were dumb-founded, but then they cheered enthusiastically when Mrs. Clinton announced that the Democratic and Republican parties would be merging, reconstituting the Democratic-Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
As a show of unity for the new party, Mrs. Clinton asked the delegates to nominate former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as her running mate.
Critics of “dynastic politics” scrambled to put together a third-party ticket, composing diverse groups which opposed the Clinton-Bush coalition. However, the Reform Party ticket of Alan Keyes and Noam Chomsky carried only Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and the 51st state of Puerto Rico.
Jeb Bush did not have a difficult time winning election and re-election in 2016 and 2020, a period which was known as “The Second Era of Good Feelings.” A few late night television hosts attempted to make vulgar jokes about Bill Clinton and “good feelings,” but most people resented such uncouth remarks about the father of little Jenjis.
President Jeb Bush’s popularity was enhanced when his eldest son married Chelsea Clinton, following her acrimonious divorce from her first husband, a Hollywood actor. “It’s better to be married to someone who strong morals,” said a beaming Mrs. Clinton, speaking to the press after the ceremony.
In retrospect, we know that the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton-Bush era in U.S. politics laid the foundation for the Pax Americana of peace, prosperity, and freedom which the whole world enjoys today. To people who are not specialists in the study of American history, it seems almost impossible to comprehend that most of the B-C-B-C-B years were ones of intense partisan acrimony, whereas we now know that when Americans united to defend freedom and home and overseas, they were an irresistible force for the good of all mankind.