What if John Kerry had won the presidency in 2004? It was a close election; one can easily imagine a small thing — even, for example, an adequate response on his part to the Swift Boat nonsense — tipping that election in the other direction.
We would have seen the dirty laundry of the Bush Administration dragged out into the light a little earlier and a little more completely. But, being the laundry of the prior government, it probably wouldn’t have garnered as much attention. More importantly, though, I don’t think there’s anything Kerry could or would have done to avert the oncoming economic collapse. Even if he had had the eyes to see it, politically he wouldn’t have had the wherewithal to take the sweeping action needed to stem the tide. Especially because he would probably have had to contend with a Republican congress throughout his term — in 2006, with the housing market already in the tank and a Democrat in the White House, would the country have backlashed against Republicans quite so decisively?
If Kerry had run for re-election in 2008 with anything similar to our current economic conditions, there’s no way he would have won. When folks aren’t happy with their economic lot they vote the current clowns out and the new clowns in. He would have lost, probably to McCain, who would not have had to thread the needle of being a Republican but distancing himself from recent Republican rule. And we would be going forward from today without historic, awesome, kick-assedness of Barack Obama.
So thank you, George Bush, for winning in 2004. And to everyone who said at the time, “Maybe it’s best if he does win. Let his chickens come home to roost.” — You were right.