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June 22, 2017, 09:23:41 am
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News: Election 2016 predictions are now open!.

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1  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of TNF on: June 14, 2017, 10:18:39 pm
It's funny how both forums are so defensive of Gully, I got 23 dislikes on AAD for posting this asking if you ever liked a Gully post.

No, I basically refuse to ever do so on principle. I read one I was going to until I saw that he posted it, so I didn't.

Gully Foyle could post "Guy Picciotto is the greatest musician and lyricist of all time, and is to music what opebo was to the Atlas Forum. I've taken up playing Ingress while listening to his bands, which has caused me to have a rather spiritual experience and I have accepted Jesus Christ. I'm now going to found a hipster church in Dublin and trash tradition and get hordes of youngs to reject cultural religious identity in favor of Jesus...and join my Resistance clan in Ingress as well."...and I'd still probably hit dislike.

I think the dislikes have less to do with our supposed predilection towards Gully Foyle and more to do with the deranged sentiment expressed in that post.

If Gully is going to take up that much space in your head, then you ought to at least start charging him rent.
2  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of TNF on: June 14, 2017, 06:06:03 pm

Don't you have your own board for this fam
3  About this Site / How To / Re: How To FAQ on: June 14, 2017, 05:43:46 pm
- How do I delete my account?

This is the easiest. You can not delete your own account. Past users have gotten their account terminated by Dave, but that would require contacting him personally. There is no guarantee that he would follow through with such a request.

- How do I create/post maps?

One way to create an election map similar to the fifty-state ones strewn about the forum is to click on the button in the site's header. This page has a vast array of options, such as: having up to four candidates, percentage shades, and even going back to the year 1836!

Additionally, some people have posted state-based county maps or maps of municipal elections. Unfortunately, there is no web-based editing tool on this site, and those must be made via Paint or a similar application.

You must have at least 25 posts to post an image.

(will edit this more later)
4  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: With a Little bit of Lenience on: June 08, 2017, 11:00:11 pm
For reference:

Ma Teng
Niu Fu
Wang Yun (Emperor Xian)
Liu Biao
Liu Yan
Yuan Shu
Cao Cao
Tao Qian
Yuan Shao
Gongsun Zan
5  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: With a Little bit of Lenience on: June 07, 2017, 01:53:56 am
Damn, how could I overlooked this? Great job, man.

Thank you! I appreciate your appraisal.

I haven't posted anything that I had casually written in awhile; it's reassuring to hear from my peers that I've still "got it," even if the subject matter and writing style is a bit removed from my other projects on here.

Going on a bit of an assumption here: since you haven't read the Three Kingdoms novels, is there anything in particular that jumps out at you here?
6  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: With a Little bit of Lenience on: June 06, 2017, 01:31:26 am
Chapter 3: Xu Huang And Ma Chao Fight To A Draw, Niu Chen Instigates Division (191 AD)

Everyone’s eyes turned to the speaker. He was a man who stood at nearly eight spans tall, adorning a thick breastplate on his chest and a turban aloft his head. A long axe was affixed to his back, which he was quite proficient with in battle. This man was Xu Huang.

Xu Huang had been a trusted deputy of Yang Feng’s for several years. The two had originally met as members of the White Wave – an offshoot group from the Yellow Turbans. Nonetheless, Yang Feng trusted Xu Huang as his most capable warrior, and assented to his request. “If you are willing to go, then very well. We will be preparing spiced wine in anticipation of your return,” said Yang Feng.

Xu Huang nodded, and rode out to meet Ma Chao’s force with a company of several thousand men. When the two happened upon each other, Xu Huang was at the fore of his entourage. He stared across the field at Ma Chao, brandishing his battle axe.

“Ma Chao! Your father and Han Sui have long had a penchant for collusion with the barbarians of the West. Your army once fought in the name of liberating the Emperor, but now that he is weak, you invite foreign hordes to descend upon his palace. How do you pardon such behavior?” he jeered.

“I don’t deign to learn your name, but you are in the service of Dong Zhuo’s remnants. Who are you to accuse me of rebellion?” he shot back. Without waiting for a response, Ma Chao stirred his steed into action. Xu Huang reciprocated, and the two met for nearly a hundred bouts, with neither getting the better of each other. Both warriors rode back to their respective camps.

“I don’t know who that miscreant is, but he fights valiantly, despite being of a mean background,” said a frustrated Ma Chao. Despite this news, Ma Teng smiled. “My son, you have displayed your mettle in distinguished fashion. Even if you merely stall the invading forces, it will be a victory as long as the siege holds,” he said.

Meanwhile, Xu Huang had returned to his general, Yang Feng, expressing frustration. “That Ma Chao is a damnable sort, but I cannot seem to get the better of him,” he lamented.

Yang Feng turned towards his staff for counsel. “What would be the best course of action to take?” he asked. Niu Chen, an advisor and younger cousin of Niu Fu, said, “As an individual, his might may be equal to that of Lu Bu. However, no man can muster enough strength to quell an army. We should launch a full assault, overwhelm the green Ma Chao, and catch Ma Teng by surprise. When our allies in Longxi see the fighting, they will sally and we can crush them in a vise.”

Xu Huang was quick to disagree. “That plan won’t work. Our unit may be equal to Ma Chao’s in flesh, but not in spirit. Our twelve-thousand are mostly young men, pressed into service with little commitment or experience. Meanwhile, the enemy hail from Xiliang, a place teeming with conflict, and men are hardened before they leave the womb. It may be a slaughter,” he said.

Yang Feng felt unsure. “The trepidation of combat can wear on the mind. Better that we get some sleep and awake with a fresh perspective,” he said. But Niu Chen rose from his seat, desperate for Yang Feng’s ear once more. “Indecision would be a fitting epitaph on the graves of many men who have failed. To merely idle here would be as meek of a response as Xu Huang’s effort against Ma Chao. Rather, we should attack immediately and catch the enemy by surprise,” he said.

Xu Huang was incensed by Niu Chen’s insult. He rose from his seat, elbows cocked and fists clenched. “You would dare sit here in the comfort of this tent, demeaning good men and offering poor counsel?” he bellowed.

Several men rose up to suppress Xu Huang, and Niu Chen recoiled in fear. “General, this man speaks to drive us toward complacency and wane our morale. Now he is threatening your staff. In times like these, allegiances are as uncertain as next decade’s harvest. Better to place Xu Huang under arrest in case he is colluding with the enemy,” he said, trying to suppress his tremors.

Yang Feng acceded and had Xu Huang bound. Xu Huang berated Niu Chen as he was hoisted away.

However, Yang Feng was reluctant to heed the advice about ambushing Ma Chao’s force at night. He adjourned the meeting, sending everybody to bed and commanding they reconvene at sunrise. When they did, Yang Feng was amount his horse and dressed in full battle garb.
“We are going to march on Ma Chao’s encampment with our whole host. If Heaven is on our side, then I trust that we will persevere to victory,” he said. After twenty minutes of notice, nearly the entirety of Yang Feng’s force was in formation, save for the bare minimum needed to supervise the camp. He headed up the van as they marched, with young boys beating drums and gongs to bolster morale.

The commotion quickly alerted Ma Chao, who readied a platoon of his own men and rode forth to meet Yang Feng. “I see the vagrant from yesterday is too ashamed to show his face once more! No matter, I am still willing to fight,” he taunted.

Yang Feng said nothing, and the two rode out to meet each other in combat. However, after six bouts, Yang Feng could see that he was no match for Ma Chao. He hurried back to his army, who charged forth. They fought with the Xiliang troops for an hour, but once it became apparent that they were decidedly losing, Yang Feng called a retreat. Ma Chao gave pursuit, but stopped just a mile away from Yang Feng’s camp.

Ma Chao spoke with his deputies for further advice. “We seem to be on the cusp of victory, but Dong Zhuo’s cohort are known for their guile and deceit. What ought our next move be?” he asked.

As if on cue, one man cleared his throat and stepped forward. “Yang Feng’s posse are in disarray. If you were to give me a thousand men, then we make them scatter like flies from a furnace,” said a deep voice. It belonged to a man in possession of a prominent goatee, with a chest like a bear’s and skin bronzed by the sun. This was Pang De.

Ma Chao was reassured by this advice. “Very well. I will give you a thousand men – be sure to take prisoner as many of the enemy as you can,” he said.

Meanwhile, Yang Feng hastily gathered his advisors once more in search of counsel. “We were no match for the men at Xiliang, and were beaten handily. Breaking the siege of Longxi seems impossible now,” he said.

Niu Chen spoke once more. “Our allies are not far from here. Perhaps we could seek refuge with Li Jue?” he suggested. However, as soon as he finished speaking, a foot soldier barreled into the tent. “Yang Feng! Ma Chao is invading our camp as we speak!” he bleated. Without a word, Yang Feng ran out only to see that Xiliang troops were ransacking the encampment. Those who lacked the foresight to surrender were promptly run through, and many tents had been set ablaze. Nearly all of his men were rendered invalid, by death or retreat.

He ran back into the tent. “Our whole unit has been panicked and lost their cohesion. There’s no chance of mounting a defense now. Ma Chao is going to eat us alive,” he said.

Niu Chen sought to dissuade Yang Feng. “General, it may not be too late. As evinced by the sound of combat outside these flaps, we have enough of a residual force to orchestrate a retreat. I ask that you give combat yourself, while I buy time to gather a force so we can have a coherent retreat,” he said.

Yang Feng concurred. Having still been in battle garb, he impetuously rushed forward into combat, but was quickly wounded and taken into custody. Eventually, all who had survived the assault were taken into captivity and those who were regarded as prominent were presented before Ma Chao; specifically, Yang Feng, Niu Chen, and Xu Huang. Each were bound and gagged.

Niu Chen was the first man presented before Ma Chao. Pang De said in his assessment, “Many of whom we have taken prisoner gave a poor appraisal of Niu Chen. They said he was conniving and duplicitous. When we captured him, he was caught trying to abscond with the camp’s reserve funds,” he said. Ma Chao looked upon Niu Chen with disdain.

“There is no place for him on Earth, let alone in our army. Execute him at once, and distribute the confiscated funds amongst the locals,” said Ma Chao. Niu Chen wept and caterwauled appeals through his gag, but it was to no avail.

The second man presented to Ma Chao was Yang Feng. Pang De said, “This is Yang Feng, leader of the enemy unit. He was captured while trying to stand athwart the might of hundreds,” said Pang De. “Such bravery is commendable. However, he has been affiliated with both the Yellow Scarves and Dong Zhuo’s cohort in the past, making him doubly guilty of treason. We cannot accommodate such a man into our force,” said Ma Chao.

Yang Feng did not shed a tear while being carried off for execution.

The last man presented to Ma Chao was Xu Huang. Pang De seemed to be at a loss for words. “I do not know who this man is, but he purportedly was jailed for contradicting Niu Chen,” he said. Ma Chao’s brows perked up once he recognized the man. “Untie this man promptly!” he commanded. His troops obliged, and released Xu Huang from his bonds.

Ma Chao stared Xu Huang square in the eyes. “Are you not the same man that I fought to a draw just a few days ago?” he asked. Xu Huang silently nodded in agreement. “What is your name?” asked Ma Chao. “I am Xu Huang, formerly of the White Wave. If I am going to be executed, then I would ask that we forego most formalities,” he said.

Ma Chao was of a different opinion. “Xu Huang, you are the only man to match me in a duel. Furthermore, they say you had the wisdom to contradict Niu Chen, who turned out to be a traitor. I think that your valor and foresight would prove to be an invaluable asset to our forces. What say you?” he asked.

Ma Chao has an offer in hand,
To a prisoner who can't demand

Would Xu Huang accept his offer?
7  Forum Community / Forum Community Election Match-ups / Non Swing Voter vs Tony Hawk's Pro Skater on: January 11, 2017, 01:25:45 am
8  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: January 11, 2017, 01:04:32 am
Sifting the Afterbirth: 1991

The table of four spent the next few hours negotiating the details of the bill and possible areas of compromise. Scott Westman remained wary of the bill’s raison d'etre, but Lawrence Coventry gradually sapped his resolve by plying him with a steady blend of flattery, token concessions, and a voluminous supply of alcohol. Eventually, Scott’s obstinance toward the bill relented, and he agreed to put his vote toward it in the Senate. “You guys just won’t take ‘no’ for an answer… fine. I might as well vote for it at this point,” said Scott Westman, who was so drunk that mere sentences seemed like tire drills for his brain. Lawrence arranged for a taxi for the Senator as he paid the tab that the table ran up.

Abimelech Delroy was aghast as the waiter read the tab out loud and Lawrence Coventry nonchalantly wrote out a check. “Are you out of your mind? Surely Thad and I could put some money towards that,” said Abimelech. Lawrence smiled and shook his head. “Nonsense. Tonight, I walk out with Scott Westman’s support in hand. That renders this expenditure a trivial matter; Scoop Jackson’s administration would have to pay millions for the political dividends we reaped,” he said. With that, the three of them parted ways, sober enough to do so of their own recognizance.

Over the next few weeks, Lawrence Coventry ushered the healthcare proposal through the Senate by what seemed like sleight of hand. Thad O’Connor was diligent in his role as Senator and had spent much time arguing on behalf of bills, but never did he see such a transformative and controversial piece of legislation move through the chamber so quickly. It almost seemed as if many members of the body had been caught off guard. Nevertheless, it managed to make its way toward Areus Ho’kee’s desk for a prompt signature.

The day after its passage, Thad received a summons to Areus’ basement lounge for celebration. He would have been hard pressed to find an excuse not to attend since he lived in the same building, but as a friend and supporter he was excited to be in attendance. As he walked down the stairs, he noticed it was the same exclusive crowd: Lawrence Coventry, Abimelech Delroy, and Ericson Snell, but this time there was the conspicuous inclusion of Scott Westman.

Since the initial backlash to his proposal, Areus Ho’kee had been a scarce sight in the building, even for Thad O’Connor. When they did interact, he seemed pessimistic and gravely serious. It would have been easy to attribute that change in demeanor to a heightened security environment since his ascension to the Presidency, but he had still been in good spirits during the first year of his term. Now that his bill had been shepherded through the Senate, he was as exuberant as a freshly-adopted child; no sooner did Thad make his way into the lobby than did he find the President’s arms around his shoulders.

Areus Ho’kee was as quick to withdraw from his embrace as he was to hug in the first place, rushing back to the middle of the room to resume his status as the center of attention. He stood on top of a table in the middle of the room, triumphantly holding a bottle of wine aloft his head as he issued a proclamation. “The reactionary Democratic Party did their best to obfuscate the dialogue around this issue, but such efforts were futile. This is unprecedented, but we actually mustered the votes necessary to kill a modern Democratic entitlement program. I must say that I owe thanks to all involved in this room,” said Areus.

Areus Ho’kee led the room to applause, but one man rose up from his seat and vociferously disrupted the rhythm before it had started. It was Scott Westman. “Just because I voted for your bill doesn’t mean I’m going to toast, much less applaud your ballyhoo for killing the welfare state!” he exclaimed. Eric Snell, who was usually considered to be too austere and reticent, was quick to counter with his own outburst. “You may as well return the handshake that you received from Prudence and walk back out the door, if that’s how you’re going to conduct yourself,” he exclaimed, as he emphatically pointed towards the stairs.

Areus leapt down from the table and interjected himself between the two, holding his arms out in a symbolic gesture to diffuse the situation. “The time to display this sort of flair is on the floor of Congress, not after the fact. We are only here to celebrate an accomplishment, not argue over the semantics that got it passed,” he said. Eric Snell refused to relent, and continued his diatribe. “Why is it that you pine for the allegiance of this libertine, who remains loyal to the Democrats despite your persistent overtures and their electoral short comings?

Even as we stand here in revelry of this accomplishment, he would argue with you until his face is as red as the wine that he drinks due to your hospitality. But despite all of that, half of our own caucus in the Senate can’t get so much as a meeting with you,” said Eric. Areus Ho’kee took a stiff drink, before smirking and gnawing his lip. “You imply that we pay too much attention to wooing Senate Democrats, at the expense of Senate Republicans, even though the latter voted almost unanimously in favor of this legislation. I’m not too concerned about their loyalty for the determinate future. As for Scott’s outburst…” President Ho’kee paused for a second, shifting his eyes to gaze into Scott Westman’s.

 “Perhaps the Zin is getting the better of him, and we shouldn’t hold him responsible for that. He needs more practice in our midst,” he joked. The room chuckled, and Scott Westman seemed to stay his temper. “I jest, but perhaps you should spend more time around us. I know you’re a man of leisure, and would feel at home around here,” said Areus. Scott Westman grinned and took a lengthy drink of wine. His eyes darted toward Lawrence’s, and then Thad’s, as if in search of security, before settling back on Areus’. “Well, this is a pretty lavish place you’ve got here. But at the end of the day, I’m still a Democrat. I don’t want to convey the wrong image by frequenting this place. I also don’t want my welcome here to be contingent on support for your proposals. I don’t mean to act ungrateful, but it might be inappropriate to hang around here too much,” said Westman.

“To paraphrase, your concern is that spending too much time with me would resemble ‘fraternization with the enemy,’ or so to speak,” said Areus, as he began to pace away from Westman. He reached the opposite end of the room, before pivoting back towards the group and pointing his finger towards the ceiling, as if to say “Eureka!” “That’s one way of looking at it, but perhaps the wrong one,” he said as he walked back. Scott Westman burrowed his chin into his hand, with a vexed look on his face.

“Right now, your Democratic Party is as united as the Warring States of China. It has no leader, and its only surviving former President was never elected to the office. You guys are significantly in the minority in Congress. Both a Bay Area cosmopolitan and a Mississippi hick are vying for its nomination. The list of facts goes on, but it’s obvious that there’s a lack of direction. I was beset by similar circumstances when I began working my way towards the Speakership: our party was reeling from a landslide loss and leadership roles were up for grabs. But along the way, I had to break the mold that my party had gotten accustomed to.

While not as extreme, your party looks to be at a similar impasse. Now would be a prime opportunity to establish yourself as a visionary and set a template for your party in the future, by reconfiguring the debate on certain issues in negotiations with me. An added benefit would be that you would get to dilute the gist of my proposals and we could both smile under the guise of bipartisanship,” said Areus. At this point, he had made his way back and was replenishing his glass. He took another sip, before looking back towards Scott Westman.

“Besides, even if all of that doesn’t pass muster with you, I’ve heard you’re fun to party with,” he finished.  The room laughed.
9  Forum Community / Forum Community Election Match-ups / Zioneer vs Lunchables All-Stars on: January 07, 2017, 02:24:49 am
10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: January 07, 2017, 01:56:13 am
TIME – A Bill of Health
March 15th, 1991

Congress Ramrods the President’s Proposal

It was just over a month ago that President Ho’kee had announced a vague plan to alter the existing government institutions for healthcare. Few people, if any, realized that a fully furnished proposal would not only have been drafted, but also already passed by the Senate by the time of this publication. The former regime of care, which had endured twenty years of tumultuous political times, was abruptly upended by a Senate vote of 58-38-4.

The text of Skinner-Crenshaw certainly strikes an interesting compromise. Some features of the bill are a rollback of health insurance regulations, abolition of Medicare, and a reduction in FICA, all of which are obvious placations to his own Republican Party. Given the political disposition of the President, these were likely amongst his objectives anyway. However, each piece of proverbial red meat for his party had in it a bone: also included in the bill were expansions on Medicaid eligibility, a one-dollar federal cigarette tax, and $30 million in funding towards AIDS research and “Preventative Distribution Centers.”

The last portion may be the bitterest pill for conservatives to swallow. The Preventative Distribution Centers are federally funded agencies in major metropolitan areas to distribute contraceptives and clean syringes. Despite that taboo, Republican Senators voted almost unanimously in favor of the bill, including Bill Armstrong, who is considered a bannerman of the informal conservative caucus that has been estranged from the President. Not all were in favor, however: conspicuously abstaining were Senators Strom Thurmond and Paul Laxalt. The latter said, “The President is advocating this bill under the guise of reducing federal programs, despite the fact that it increases Medicaid outlays and subsidizes the degenerate behavior that is literally infecting people. I can’t support it.” Although few, there were notable Democratic defections in George McGovern and Scott Westman, both considered adherents of the “New Left.”

It remains to be seen how the American public digests the Skinner-Crenshaw Act. The lack of a public campaign for the proposal was antithetical to the modus operandi that President Ho’kee had applied to his past political initiatives, such as the Green America Act, or nearly any initiative that he had spearheaded as Speaker. Despite the fleeting amount of media coverage that the bill had, polls showed that 58% of the public disapproved of it, indicating that the Senate can belie the general will even when it has a strong consensus. Purportedly, Senator Patton Wyde had attempted to organize a filibuster, but was unable to do so both because of the gusto of the presiding officer and a deficit of enthusiasm amongst his own party.


Aye: Ted Stevens (R-AK), Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), Pete McCloskey (R-CA), Ed Zschau (R-CA), Gary Hart (D-CO), Bill Armstrong (R-CO), Lowell Weicker (R-CT), Chris Shays (R-CT), William Roth (R-DE), Orval Smylie (R-ID), George Hansen (WMP-ID), Jim Edgar (R-IL), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Frederic Reid (R-IA), Jim Leach (R-IA), Bob Dole (R-KS), Mike Foster (D-LA), Thad O’Connor (R-ME), Ralph Stevenson (R-ME), Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), William Weld (R-MA), Mic Ceriel (R-MI), William Milliken (R-MI), David Durenburger (R-MN), Richard Akers (R-MN), John Danforth (R-MO), Scott Westman (D-MT), Helen Brisco (R-MT), Charles Thone (R-NE), Chic Hect (R-NV), Maurice Murphy (R-NH), Restique Skinner (R-NH), Thomas Kean (R-NJ), Millicent Fenwick (R-NJ), David Cargo (R-NM), Bart Novak (R-NM), Hamilton Fish (R-NY), Al Green (R-NY), Mark Andrews (R-ND), Warren Ford (R-ND), Victor Atiyeh (R-OR), Mark Hatfield (R-OR), John Heinz (R-PA), John Chafee (R-RI), George McGovern (D-SD), Larry Pressler (R-SD), James Garner (R-TX), Jake Garn (R-UT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Lawrence Coventry (R-VT), Margaret Garland (R-VT), Marshall Coleman (R-VA), Santiago St. Avila (R-WA), Jasper Morrill (R-WA), Steve Gunderson (R-WI), Herb Kohl (R-WI), Malcolm Wallop (R-WY), Alan Simpson (R-WY) (58)

Nay: Howell Heflin (D-AL), Clark Gruening (D-AK), David Pryor (D-AR), Dale Bumpers (D-AR), Joe Biden (D-DE), Lawton Chiles (D-FL), Richard McPherson (D-FL), Sam Nunn (D-GA), John Russell (D-GA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Spark Matsunaga (D-HI), Alex Seith (D-IL), Floyd Fithian (D-IN), Joan Finney (D-KS), Walter Huddleston (D-KY), Wendell Ford (D-KY), Bennett Johnston Jr (D-LA), Clarence Long (D-MD), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Gillespie Montgomery (D-MS), Patton Wyde (D-MS), Thomas Eagleton (D-MO), James Exon (D-NE), Robert Morgan (D-NC), John Ingram (D-NC), John Glenn (D-OH), James Traficant (D-OH), David Boren (D-OK), Wes Watkins (D-OK), John Murtha (D-PA), Claiborne Pell (D-RI), Ernest Hollings (D-SC), Marilyn Lloyd (D-TN), Jim Sasser (D-TN), Dolph Briscoe (D-TX), Andrew Miller (D-VA), Jennings Randolph (D-WV), Robert Byrd (D-WV), (38)

Abstain: Jefferson Dent (R-AL), Bob Stump (D-AZ), Paul Laxalt (R-NV), Strom Thurmond (R-SC) (4)
11  Forum Community / Forum Community Election Match-ups / ReaganClinton20XX vs December 2009 Senate Election on: December 29, 2016, 07:30:03 pm
12  Forum Community / Forum Community Election Match-ups / NeverAgain vs Sprite Remix on: December 29, 2016, 05:26:58 pm
13  Forum Community / Forum Community Election Match-ups / PAK Man vs 1988 Miami Dolphins Defense on: December 28, 2016, 06:15:23 pm
PAK Man vs 1988 Miami Dolphins Defense
14  Forum Community / Forum Community Election Match-ups / Santander vs Battle of the Somme on: December 28, 2016, 05:56:35 pm
15  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: November 24, 2016, 02:14:22 am
Opal: 1991

Lawrence Coventry smiled at Thad’s suggestion. “I think that would be a capital idea, Thad. Tomorrow I’ll arrange for the three of us to meet with him as soon as is convenient,” said Lawrence. Thad felt some discomfort at the notion of all three of them meeting with Scott Westman, for fear of overwhelming him with numbers. “Lawrence, you are the Senate Majority leader, and Abimelech is mayor of New York. Neither of you have a want for responsibilities, while I enjoyed quite a good rapport with Scott in the past, to the point where I was lodging with him. Would it not be more expeditious for just the two of us to meet? I think I could persuade him by myself,” he asked.

Lawrence finished his second glass of wine with two prodigious gulps, before wiping his mouth and staining his cufflink in the process. Undaunted by that, he dismissed Thad’s suggestion. “No. I understand that you get on well with Scott, but obtaining his support for this bill may require concessions that you cannot make. As Senate Majority Leader, I’m better equipped to reach a deal with him as quickly as possible,” said Lawrence. Thad was dismayed. “Haste isn’t my only reasoning for butting in.

Perhaps the biggest hindrance to this whole endeavor has been the frosting of the relationship between the President and the Speaker: Areus was too haughty when he unveiled this, Ericson has been too obstinate to advocate it with any gusto, and seldom do they speak with each other. We can’t afford any further mistakes simply because of poor communication between the three of us, and should remain on the same page. After all, Abimelech has his eyes toward federal office in the near future, and we would do well to initiate him to this process,” said Lawrence.

Thad gave an obsequious nod, and the three of them soon parted ways for the night. For Lawrence and Abimelech, it meant absconding to their nooks in the capital city, whether by apartment or hotel, but for Thad O’Connor it meant returning to the same building where he bore witness to bedlam a few hours ago. As he descended up the stairs to the front door he feared rejection by security, but was welcomed in as usual and rushed toward his bedroom to sleep.

The next morning Thad O’Connor awoke to the din of knuckles berating the finish of his bedroom door. He groggily rushed out of bed and opened the door, only to see Lawrence Coventry. “Good news, Thad. Scott Westman found time to speak with us. I trust that you can make it today?” he asked. Thad merely nodded, and the two of them embarked to the Drunken Dutchman. As they breached the double doors of the establishment, it took mere seconds before Abimelech Delroy and Scott Westman were in eyeshot, sitting at a table. They rushed to make their greetings and be seated.

As Thad O’Connor slid into his chair, he noticed that a cocktail of whiskey and cola had been fixed in anticipation of his arrival. He quaffed nearly half of it before proffering his hand to Scott Westman in salutation. “I haven’t seen you since last Spring, Scott. I trust you’ve been well?” asked Thad. “I’m doing alright, Thad,” said Westman, who wouldn’t deign to shake hands with him, but instead withdrew and folded his arms. While Scott Westman had accrued a reputation for being brash, he was often congenial towards Thad. This was the first time Thad O’Connor witnessed Scott Westman wear his arrogance on his sleeve even more conspicuously than he did his red hair on his shoulders.

No sooner did Thad O’Connor withdraw his own hand then did he see Lawrence’s reach forward to grab Scott Westman by the shoulder. “With all due respect, I invited you out here to enjoy free drinks with us, at no expense to you other than keep us company. We’re all people you know; hell, you even sponsored legislation with Thad O’Connor in the past. Why would you act so uncouth to any of us, let alone him?” asked Lawrence, with a strong tone of admonition in his voice.

“The only thing more discourteous than my snub of Thad was your invitation to me under the guise of shooting the sh**. It’s obvious that you three want to cajole me to your side and use me as a political prop to proclaim bipartisanship for your idea,” said Scott Westman. He took a hefty sip of whisky and surveyed the table once more, before continuing his diatribe: “Three Republicans and a Democrat walk into a bar. That sounds like the set-up to a joke, but here we are. How do I know I’m not just going to be a punchline?” he finished.

Lawrence Coventry took an inaugural sip from his glass, before setting it down and responding. “Senator Westman, by no means do we consider you a punchline. Yes, the purpose of this meeting is to negotiate the healthcare proposal, but that is precisely out of reverence for the stature that you have in the Senate. We value your input,” said Lawrence. Scott Westman pursed his lips, looking sternly across the table at Lawrence, but said nothing. Lawrence took another drink of wine in hopes of redoubling his confidence, and pressed forward.

“I understand that your party opposes this proposal, almost to a man. However, I would hearken back to the 1984 presidential election, where you crossed party lines and endorsed a Republican for the presidency. I would think back to the wake of the midterms two years later, where you caucused with Republicans to spite the Democratic leadership in the Senate. Both of those were instances where you prioritized the actual issues over tribalism. Won’t you hear us out on this?” Lawrence entreated.

Scott Westman remained obstinate. “In 1986, I voted Republican just because the Democratic leadership had its head up its own ass to the point where its foresight was mired by dung, and continued control would’ve actually been worse for us. In ’84, I endorsed Hatfield because he was an honest man, and was the immediate solution to stop a war we shouldn’t be fighting. Ho’kee has done the right thing on the war and some minor reforms, but I don’t want any complicity to him taking the knife to healthcare for the neediest of us,” he said.

Lawrence Coventry was undaunted by Westman’s response, and his resolve remained as steady as a glacier. “Perhaps I was mistaken. Just a few minutes ago, I was lauding your command over contemporary issues of the Senate, but you seem to be misinformed about what our proposal seeks to do. Perhaps you should be the one paying for drinks?” Lawrence jabbed. “All kidding aside, I disagree with your characterization of this proposal; we are not ‘knifing the neediest of us,’ if this passes.

What is true is that this proposal would slash overall government payouts on healthcare. However, that’s not going to be achieved by indiscriminate cuts in care. What this plan does is preserve the existing level of care for those receiving Medicaid benefits, in conjunction with repealing unnecessary regulations in order to make health insurance more affordable to those who do not qualify. When you consider the deficit that such programs have run, this is actually a measure towards protecting healthcare for the poor,” he finished.

Westman’s eyebrows were acutely raised, despite his previous skepticism. “That sounds like an interesting compromise, but what about the ramifications of this proposal for the elderly who rely on Medicare right now? I’m also a bit concerned about the example that it would set if Democrats started voting to repeal parts of the Great Society,” said Westman. “Under this proposal, federal healthcare would be insured without discrimination based on age. Those who qualify for Medicare tend to have the wherewithal to afford their own healthcare without government subsidies, and those who can’t would still be covered.

To your last point, this is an important area of intersection between the Mavericks and your own style of politics. Who cares that we would be repealing a part of the Great Society? It has been intact for about ten percent of our nation’s history, and that whole program was the brainchild of a man whose own intransigent bumbling led to his premature ouster from office; but not before he splintered your Democratic Party, and elevated Richard Nixon to the Presidency. There is no need to fetishize its existence, unless you’ve developed an ear for wistful appeals to tradition. It only serves to the benefit of the same sort of people who tend to vote against what you believe in, anyways,” responded Lawrence.

At the conclusion of Lawrence’s last verbal salvo, Scott Westman had gone from stubborn to simply being nonplussed. The table fell silent once more, and he stared at the middle of the table while seeing his glass of whisky to its end. Seeing that Westman was at a loss for thoughts, Lawrence resumed speaking. “Scott, the simple fact of the matter is that Republicans have a majority in the Senate, and this bill is more likely than not going to pass in some form.

If you are concerned about its implications on policy, then your best route would be to work with us and amend it. The Democratic Party is going to have an important presidential primary next year, and despite the fact that no campaign has begun in earnest, some of the divisions are glaring. As an established Senator, you would be setting an example for the future direction of your party if you were to bend the arc of this bill.

Besides, tossing your name in with our lot would do a lot to improve your standing with the President. I can’t promise any political favors, but the President throws quite the party,” said Lawrence. Finally, Scott Westman relented in his resistance. “Okay, you’ve got me to the table, but this better be worthwhile,” he said.
16  About this Site / The Atlas / Re: ERM64man needs to slow down on: November 23, 2016, 03:19:36 pm
Kal was far worse when he started.

The moderation culture was significantly more lax back then. Rochambeau's posting was unfettered, and both Kal (not trying to pick on you buddy) and Hamilton got away with numerous socks without reproach. Nowadays, socking is punished with a ban of some sort, even for first-time offenders.

But yes, he needs to slow down.
17  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: November 02, 2016, 02:12:56 am
Pearl: 1991

Lawrence hurriedly led the two down the hallway, and they managed to leave Areus’ estate unchecked, as not a single member of security batted an eye at them, much less say a word. As they exited the double doors, Abimelech broke from Lawrence’s embrace and stopped the two. “What are we doing right now?” he shakenly asked. While it hadn’t shown in Areus’ conference room, he was rattled by what had transpired.

Lawrence smiled and laid a hand on his shoulder. “My friend, we are going to a favorite watering hole of Thad and myself to mull the proposal we were just anguishing over a minute ago,” he said. The three walked for twenty minutes until they arrived at the Drunken Dutchman. As they walked through the doors, Thad noticed the bar was densely filled, but they managed to procure a table towards the fringes of the building. Due to the fact that Lawrence and Thad were distinguished customers, they had their drinks within minutes: whiskey on the rocks for Thad, a sweet red wine for Lawrence, and a vodka martini for Abimelech.

After taking a hefty drink, Abimelech was the first to prompt conversation. “So, given how contentious things had just gotten, how do we mend relations between Areus and Ericson Snell’s caucus, and pass this legislation?” he asked. Lawrence arched his back and leaned against the wall, before responding. “The relationship between Areus and Ericson has been the weakest link between the three of us since his run for the Presidency, and has only gotten worse in the past year, due to differences of opinion and priority.

That being said, I was not entirely candid when speaking with Areus earlier. When I told the President that my caucus was ‘relatively favorable’ to the proposal, the truth is I can only guarantee that the Maverick corps will vote for it. I may have looked Ericson look like a person of bad faith in comparison,” he admitted. Abimelech Delroy gazed at him in bemusement. “Why would you throw Eric under the bus and distort Areus’ view on the conscience of Congress?” he asked.

“President Ho’kee has proven his acumen by making bold decisions in toxic climates, and has accrued tremendous political dividends from those. However, he is accustomed to pursuing national issues from the point of opposition, and has been out of his depth since he’s been in position to dictate the conversation. This was made clear today: you saw how angry he was towards a man miles away. Can you imagine how he’d have reacted if I had given him bad news in his presence?” Lawrence asked.

“I understand your aversion to making the President upset, given how visceral his reaction was, but what was there to gain by deceiving him? Perhaps an honest assessment of the bill’s fortunes may have induced him to abandon the endeavor altogether, and we could at least mitigate the backlash,” said Abimelech. Lawrence grinned, finishing his wine and laying his napkin across the table. “Abimelech, no landmark legislation has ever been passed without its advocates navigating some treacherous thoroughfares.

It is true that this proposal is controversial, but most of the damage to our political fortunes has already been incurred. To withdraw now would only signal weakness to those who oppose us, duplicity to those that support us, and vacillation to those yet to make up their minds. Besides, budgetary cuts are the strongest subject of agreement for Eric and Areus, and failure here would sap any harmony between the two,” said Lawrence.

As if on cue, their server rushed to the table, asking if the party wanted more refreshments. “We’ll each have another. The tab is on me tonight,” said Lawrence. The server abided, and promptly brought them more alcohol. After taking a substantial drink from his second cocktail, Thad resumed the conversation. “So how do we proceed, Lawrence?” he asked.

Lawrence took another drink and bit his knuckles before responding. “In a word: haste. Despite the onslaught that this idea has sustained, now is the most opportune time to pass it. We’re coming off of a successful midterm election, and the discourse of next year will be dominated by the presidential election. Voters are fickle and quick to forget. What cannot happen is that this bill languish on the floors of the House and Senate for months on end. Cuts to welfare programs are never popular, regardless of the political circumstances, and a protracted battle is one we lose,” finished Lawrence.

“If the circumstances are as dire as you augur, then how do we pass this with immediacy?” asked Thad. “Our first priority is to speak with Eric and convince him that our fortunes depend on this; he ought to be able to twist enough arms. Also, we should try to cajole a handful of Senate Democrats to our side. They still have a large enough voting bloc to sustain a filibuster, which would jeopardize everything. Besides, having even a token amount of Democratic support might confound their attempt to pillory this as a Republican scam,” he said.

Thad finished his drink, staring contemplatively at the wall. While the three successive elections after 1984 had yielded Republican gains in the Senate, it also saw the culling of veteran Democrats in exchange for younger, more pugnacious ones that favored populist politics, like John Murtha and James Traficant. After some deliberation, an old friend came to mind. Thad turned back to Lawrence and asked, “What about Scott Westman?” 
18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: November 02, 2016, 02:08:58 am
Carbuncle: 1991

After a few hours of conversation, the quartet of O’Connor, Ho’kee, Delroy, and Coventry bade farewell to Ericson Snell and parted ways. Evidently, Ericson Snell hastily assented to the bill, as Areus Ho’kee was hosting a press conference on the matter within a week’s time. Thad O’Connor watched it live on a small television while at a bar: the President looked poised in explaining both the broad design and niceties of his legislation. Despite his eloquence, it was not digested well by the public, and support for the proposal was middling.

A fortnight went by before Thad received any form of correspondence from the President since his press conference, until he heard the distinct sound of knuckles rapping across his door. He opened it to see the diminutive form of a woman in a black pantsuit, with short brunette hair that featured bangs just above her eyes. “If you’re not preoccupied, the President would like to see you,” she squeaked. Thad O’Connor merely nodded. She turned about-face and hurried up the staircase, eventually leading Thad down a narrow hallway he had yet to see.

He arrived in front of a single door at the end, meeting up with Lawrence Coventry and Abimelech Delroy, each standing there taciturnly with their hands in their pockets and pursed lips, as if they were about to speak to the principal. The frail servant twisted the knob to open the door before she minced away, and the party of three shuffled through the door. Thad O’Connor was surprised as he walked into a room that was uncharacteristic of Areus Ho’kee’s preference.

While Hokee had typically liked large, decorated rooms, this one was no larger than ten feet by twelve and felt drab. The walls were painted an eggshell blue and completely devoid of any decoration, other than a small bookcase opposite of the entrance. President Ho’kee sat with his feet propped up on a wood desk, staring morosely out of the lone window in the room. As the trio entered, he gestured for them to sit down in the three chairs at their side of the desk.

As soon as they abided, Areus rose from his own and apprehensively paced back and forth for five minutes, before breaking the uncomfortable silence that soon pervaded the room. “This is a proposal that I’ve spent months crafting to perfection, both in its nuances and presentation. Despite that, it’s still volatile in the eyes of the populace. Lawrence, as the Senate Majority Leader, how would you estimate the roll call on this?” Areus asked.

“I can’t give any definitive numbers, but my caucus was relatively favorable to the proposal and most were willing to stake their electability on the line,” said Lawrence. Areus Ho’kee turned red in the face, grabbing a vase on the desk and pitching it towards a wall. “So he is trying to undermine me!” he exclaimed. Lawrence rushed from his chair and put both hands on the President’s shoulders. “What are you talking about?” he asked.

Areus turned his back away from Lawrence and stomped across the room. “When I asked your counterpart in the House to gauge support amongst his caucus, he was as reticent as a father eulogizing his own son, and told me he was unlikely to corral the votes needed for this bill’s passage. Yet, your forecast indicates that this should be passable,” he said, before setting his feet and facing the party of three.

“At the very onset, he had his misgivings about this proposal. Now that it has faced adversity and looks to be politically hazardous, he tells me that his own caucus does not support it. Is he merely being duplicitous about the conscience of the House and trying to discourage me out of spite?” Areus asked. At this point, he was still animated and breathing heavily.

While Thad O’Connor had faith in Ericson Snell’s loyalty, he was nonetheless shaken by the President’s tantrum. He and Abimelech Delroy glanced at each other with unease. However, Lawrence Coventry was quick to try and abate Areus’ temper. “Eric was a mainstay to our political success in the Eighties. It’s both inappropriate and hasty to asperse his loyalty at this juncture. Perhaps the reason there’s such disparate opinions between the two chambers is the nature of the office: only a third of the Senate is up for re-election this year, meaning many Republicans can vote for this and still use the fleeting memory of the electorate as subterfuge.

Eric’s chamber has no such luxury. Every member of his caucus is up for reelection every two years without fail, and most do not have the wherewithal to entrench themselves to the degree that Senators do. So, I believe Eric is sincere in his assertion that support for this amongst his colleagues is weak,” finished Lawrence.

Areus Ho’kee did not seem satisfied. “Two-year terms are not a novelty of my administration; they have existed every single year since the First Congress, and past governments have managed to find congruence when executing their agenda. Furthermore, I appropriated millions of dollars towards Ericson Snell for him to promote like-minded Representatives, and he found success to the tune of twenty freshmen Representatives in one cycle! How could he not have an adequate command over the party?” Areus asked.

Nobody could muster an answer to his last polemic. Everyone sat in silence, coping with their fear of Ho’kee’s wrath, and perhaps with fresh suspicions of Eric Snell’s allegiance. Areus stared out the window contemplatively for several minutes, before his eyes lit up and he turned back towards Lawrence. “What if Eric has more influence over the caucus than we give him credit for?” he asked.

Lawrence was hesitant. “What are you getting at, Areus?” he asked. “Speaker of the House is a position that lends itself to great sway over the members of the majority party, some of which he’s built a rapport with, and others he directly recruited. Perhaps he has been privately disparaging this idea in front of his fellow Representatives, sowing the seeds of disunion and forming his own ideological parish as a direct challenge to mine,” said Areus.

Thad O’Connor felt the color drain from his face at this point. Eric Snell and Areus Ho’kee had been two of the most influential people in his life, and now they were at odds with each other: either one was a conniving, opportunistic man motivated by spite, or the other was a paranoid, mercurial man too impulsive to be President. Regardless of which was true, he was resolved not to find out tonight, and suddenly rose from his chair. “Enough!” he exclaimed.

“Based on the testimony of Eric and Lawrence, it’s true that there is a noticeable gulf in opinion between their respective chambers. However, writing Eric off as a traitor at this juncture is both hasty and self-destructive. Negotiating this proposal with a skeptical Ericson Snell as Speaker may be tough, but I suspect it would worse with somebody either less competent or loyal. Perhaps it would be best if we spoke with him in person, instead of inferring the worst intentions from his distant communications,” said Thad.

At this point, Areus Ho’kee was breathing heavily, seeming spent from his earlier tantrum. “Okay. Go speak with Eric, and see if you can gain some insight on the divides within the House,” said Areus, as he dismissively gestured them to leave the room. All three men nimbly left Areus Ho’kee’s presence. They barely got out of earshot of the staff at the door when Lawrence embraced one man under each arm and confided in them. “Whatever your plans were tonight, I need you to cancel them, as the welfare of the nation hinges upon it,” he whispered. Neither man objected.
19  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: November 02, 2016, 02:01:23 am
February 23rd, 1991

President Ho’kee fields controversial Healthcare Bill

When delivering his State of the Union address, President Ho’kee promised that there would be “radical changes which none before have had the temerity to see through.” These speeches tend to have promises as weighty as helium and are quickly forgotten, but Ho’kee seems determined on seeing his to fruition. Two weeks ago, the President held a national press conference where he unveiled a proposal to massively overhaul the healthcare system of the United States.

While the details have yet to be finalized by Congress, the crux of the President’s proposal is the consolidation of both Medicaid and Medicare into one singular program that entails significant means-testing for its benefactors. Bundled with that are items that deregulate the health insurance industry to increase availability, but there is no band aid offered for the elderly that rely only on Medicare for their healthcare.

Without speaking to the merits of the proposal, the President has certainly kept to his promise of “radical changes,” as it’s been incendiary to both the political class in Washington and the voting public.  The President did well in articulating the proposal as a cost-cutting measure, but some in the Democratic Party were quick to flagellate it as an assault on the poor.

Help Wanted for Working Man’s Party

The stakes of the Working Man’s Party’s presidential nomination and its implications on the election may pale in comparison to the contest in the Democratic Party, but it still harbors angst amongst the Working Man’s Party’s bureaucracy and some of its more devout partisans. Four years ago, the party fielded Senator Paul Laxalt and exceeded any preliminary expectations, winning two states in the general election. However, Paul Laxalt will not be reprising his role in this current presidential election, saying he would rather run for reelection to the Senate.

Being less than a decade old, the Working Man’s Party does not have leadership with enough heft to tip the scales in favor of a nominee more palatable to the voting public. Despite courting Laxalt, who is widely celebrated amongst conservatives, his bid was nearly foiled by David Duke, a former Klansman and activist who hails from the furthest fringe of the Right. Unelected delegates made the difference in favor of Laxalt, and there were riots at the convention as Duke supporters cried chicanery.

Chairman Davis Griffith is hoping that Senator Bill Armstrong can be the polished, politically viable sequel to Laxalt’s dalliance with the WMP, and quickly enough to nip any extremist infiltration in the bud. While Paul Laxalt had distanced himself from Mark Hatfield and was antagonistic to President Ho’kee in Nevada politics, Bill Armstrong adopted a more muted approach, promising to work with the President while bending the arc of his agenda to be more favorable to the political persuasions of those like Laxalt and Griffith.

When asked, Senator Armstrong did not categorically reject the idea of a tryst with the Working Man’s Party. “While the President may have adopted some underhanded tactics during the primaries, he made no injury to me. His Presidency has not been perfect, but I am mindful of the alternative in the event of a rupture in the Republican Party. If he veers too far from the agreed upon goals of the Republicans, or ceases to execute the duties of President, then I may reconsider, but currently I would not run,” he told the media.

In the event that Bill Armstrong declines to carry the banner for the Working Man’s Party, Davis Griffith did not rule out the possibility of running to be the ticket’s nominee. While not as photogenic as President Ho’kee, he would still bring several assets to the ticket. As the former Chairman of the Republican National Committee, his name may carry weight with Republican party officials who were shunted during Ho’kee’s gradual coup during the Eighties. Davis Griffith also enjoys the wealth and status of an oil magnate, which may not optically work well with the party’s name, but would allow him to mount a campaign without depleting party coffers.

Presidential Approval Ratings
February 19th, 1991
20  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: October 05, 2016, 01:32:41 am
Bargaining: 1991

All company in attendance at Areus Ho’kee’s estate the night after the midterms had imbibed quite a bit, even the typically austere Ericson Snell. Areus’ boastful claim that night to dissolve Medicare may have been divined from Snell’s own cortex, but all had written it off as spontaneous drunken bravado. The rest of the evening had been spent on half-hearted musings about each other’s personal lives, and prognostications of the political fortunes of the Mavericks. It would have been easy to write off Ho’kee’s claim as a booze-hued prevarication.

However, it was only days after that sojourn that Areus Ho’kee had made arrangements to speak with Thad O’Connor and Ericson Snell in person about the proposal. While the legislation had yet to be written, Areus elucidated to the two the paramount details of the proposal, and quickly persuaded them to support it. “Also, neither of you are to divulge any details of this proposal to anyone, not even Eric, until I give my assent,” said Areus.

Lawrence was confused. “Eric has been an ally of ours since the genesis of the Mavericks, and just days ago you were lavishing the trust that you had in him. Furthermore, with him as Speaker of the House, any legislation will perforce require his backing. Why not privy him to this plot as early as possible, and ensure that we have his cooperation, instead of speaking in strained whispers?” he asked.

“This is a political matter of paramount delicacy. Since the downfall of Republicans in the Thirties, the growth of welfare programs has been sustained and unabated. The few politicians in recent history who have proposed to reform or annul these programs are exiled to the political equivalent of Siberia. Unless we draft this perfectly, then it will be a calamity for me and all associated with me: namely, you two.

When I persuaded him to concede the Speakership to me, I promised that I would defer to him in fiscal matters such as these. While I love Eric and hold him in high esteem, I know that he relies far too much on the traditional conservative parlances that have led previous attempts to ruin. If he were to learn that I was designing this without his inclusion, he would view me as duplicitous and our relationship would be parlous. Therefore, this proposal cannot travel from your ears to your lips, and must remain a secret. Do you agree?” asked Areus. Thad and Lawrence nervously glanced toward each other, before nodding. Areus bade the two farewell and they parted ways.

It wasn’t until after Areus Ho’kee delivered the 1991 State of the Union speech that Thad O’Connor received a follow-up on the matter of Ho’kee’s haughty promise to overhaul Medicare, in the form of a letter slid under his bedroom door. It read, “Dear Thad, I appreciate your patience and restraint concerning the matter of healthcare reform. The proposal that I alluded to is finished, and only needs Eric’s consent to pass. Your presence will be crucial in swaying his opinion, and I hope that you can attend this meeting at his abode.”

Enclosed in the letter was an itinerary detailing the location and date of their rendezvous. Thad O’Connor travelled to the outskirts of the capital, until he came upon a tall white Victorian house, where Areus Ho’kee, Abimelech Delroy, and Lawrence Coventry waited at the door. Thad rushed towards them and quickly made his obeisance.  Areus Ho’kee grinned, clasping a manila folder and a bottle of wine in his left hand. “Glad that you could make it, Thad. Your presence today should help assuage any misgivings that Eric may have about this proposal,” he said, as he turned the knob and the party entered Eric’s abode.

The first room they walked into was an expansive den, as they treaded on a white plush carpet. On the left corner of the room was a staircase, while on the right side was a cluster of beige couches clustered around a table, one of which cradled Eric Snell, who waved and gestured for them to sit. “Welcome! I’m glad that we could enjoy a meeting at my own estate. The President is celebrated for his hospitality, but I think I am within my means to entertain as well,” said Eric.

Everybody rushed to be seated, and Areus’ manila folder was as quick to leave his hand as his greetings were to leave his mouth. “Good to see you, Eric. As promised, I’ve got a proposal that abolishes Medicare. At the expense of formalities, I’d like you to read this summary of it before we get mired in small-talk,” said Areus, as he proffered the manila folder to Eric. He opened the envelope and spent over ten minutes reading the proposal from start to finish. Nobody in company uttered a word while he did so.

Eric finally removed his eyes from his lap and stared dourly at Areus. “I’m grateful that you’re honoring your end of our agreement and working towards a retraction of the welfare state. However, I’m not comfortable with this specific proposal and would be hard pressed to support it,” said Eric. Areus’ countenance went from wide-eyed optimism to a scowl of disdain. “What do you find wrong with this bill?” he asked.

“As a Maverick, I have always thought of cutting entitlement programs as the apex of our political priorities, but this proposal is rife with hazards. The Democratic Party is listless and without vision right now, but it was only a decade ago that they were able to portray Republicans as Brahmins who were indifferent to the financial hardship of ham and eggers, due to their support of the Kemp-Roth Act. Do you think that the imagery of pushing the elderly out of hospital beds and stealing their food would be more becoming of us?

The elderly are the demographic most likely to vote, precisely because of their reliance on federal benefits and the advocacy groups predicated on those benefits. This proposal would be low-hanging fruit for any shrewd Democratic politician to not only rally their own perfidious party around, but potentially make inroads with older voters and put us on the defensive.”

Eric stood up for a moment and paced, before continuing his harangue. “Also, I take it for granted that I am among the first to hear of this. What makes you certain that this would garner support amongst enough Republicans in either body of Congress? While it’s true that this bill abolishes Medicare, it also radically transforms Medicaid as a new entitlement. That may be unseemly not only to many Republican Senators, but also ought to be evidently dissonant to the values we agreed upon as Mavericks,” Eric concluded.

When Eric finished speaking, Areus merely leaned back in his chair and took a sizable drink of wine, before rising from his seat and walking towards Eric. Lawrence and Thad quickly became apprehensive, fearful of a physical altercation between the two, but Areus held his hand out as if to command desistance and bided his time for another minute while he quaffed his drink. “That’s an interesting point of view, Eric,” said Areus, as he stared assertively at Eric Snell.

“Since I assumed office as President, you consistently criticized me for squandering opportunities to lacerate the entitlement budget, because I was mindful of the political consequences. Now that I propose to do so, you are averse to the idea because of likely political consequences. You cite the Kemp-Roth proposal as a cautionary example of what not to do, despite relying on that same orthodoxy throughout all of our machinations in the past decade.

You are correct in your assessment of the Democratic Party being ‘listless and without vision.’ I think that plays to the strengths of this bill. The past few elections have shown that one of the biggest cleavages amongst that party is based on age: it was defections from collegiate anti-war Democrats that nearly won Hatfield the election, and that same cohort made Jerry Brown a force to be reckoned with. While you worry that this proposal may unite them, I think it will put these two groups at odds.

Speaking of which, I don’t concern myself with the voting preferences of the elderly while fielding this proposal. This is the same generation that voted for Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Lyndon Johnson. These people have voted Democratic and always will, and it makes no sense to fret about their allegiance. Those poor enough to be affected by it will receive coverage under the new plan, and those rich enough not to be will have the wherewithal to take care of themselves.

As to your last point, I would hope that enough Republicans would back my plan. This proposal seeks consolidate two massive entitlement programs into just one that is subject to means testing. The net effect is that we are running a more cost-efficient program. I fail to see how abolishing federal entitlement programs and cutting spending goes against the grain of either Maverick orthodoxy or the political sensibilities of most Republican Congressmen.”

Eric Snell spent the next twenty minutes considering the proposal, before uttering a word. “Okay. Send me a final estimate of the proposal, and I’ll probably support it,” he said.
21  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: September 18, 2016, 12:29:14 pm
Wyde or Brown would be fantastic.
Bit unfortunate that they wouldn't be able to reconcile their differences. Tongue
22  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: September 17, 2016, 10:49:45 pm
I noticed Millicent Fenwick was elected Senator. She was one of Ford's top allies, right?

Sorry I passed on responding to you earlier!

This was all I could find pertaining to Fenwick's relationship with Ford.
23  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: September 17, 2016, 10:45:49 pm
TIME – Presidential Quilt Unfolds
February 8th, 1991

Three Democrats Announce

America was allowed a respite of three months from election coverage after November’s midterm elections. Just a few days after the new Congress was sworn into office, three men declared their candidacy for the office of President: Senator Patton Wyde, Former Governor Jerry Brown, and Former Senator Walter Mondale. While President Ho’kee does not look particularly vulnerable, there is still an incentive for some to declare early and get a head-start on garnering media coverage, endorsements, and also lay the groundwork for campaign infrastructure.

Senator Patton Wyde announced his candidacy before a busy crowd in Steubenville, Ohio. A focal point of the Senator’s declaration speech was the issue of trade; he vowed to reinstate the tariffs on Japanese imports that had been waived during Bentsen’s term, and also promised to repeal the O’Connor-Snell Act of 1990, which liberalized America’s restrictions on immigration and trade. Patton Wyde also lamented the decrease in military spending that Areus Ho’kee had presided over, promising to change the course on that issue. Patton Wyde seems to have entered this election with a running start, retaining strong amounts of support in the South and Midwest from his previous incursion against President Bentsen.

Former Governor Jerry Brown announced his candidacy to a press conference in Santa Clara, California. Unlike his counterpart from four years ago, Jerry Brown talked about the need for “financial realism”, with regards to taxation and welfare programs, calling for a reduction of the national deficit and reducing government spending. Governor Brown also eschewed the trade liberalization that was a staple of President Ho’kee’s international reform package. Like Patton Wyde, Jerry Brown also has some residual support from his last bid, particularly on the West Coast.

Former Senator Walter Mondale was the third to cast his name into the lot of the Democratic Primary, announcing his candidacy at Duluth, Minnesota. In his declaration speech, Walter Mondale touched on traditional Democratic themes: concern for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, as well as several ameliorations towards the labor movement. Unlike the other entries, Walter Mondale had no hand in the 1988 Democratic Primaries, but was considered a likely candidate for Democratic Minority Leader, and should have some clout with his fellow Senators.

This primary could prove pivotal for the future of the Democratic Party. While these announcements are early, they come at a time where the Democratic Party is facing a crisis of identity and a lack of clearly defined policy vision. Four years ago, their nominee was Lloyd Bentsen, who was embattled in a steep primary contest and barely managed to sally towards the nomination, despite being the incumbent President. His bid had been beleaguered by none other than Jerry Brown and Patton Wyde, both of whom are early frontrunners for the nod this time. Whether these two figures are drawing support due to their charisma and compelling narratives, or are merely harbingers of greater cleavages in internal Democratic politics, remains to be seen.

Democratic Primary Polling
February 3rd, 1991


Economic Accretion in the United States

The phrase “economic stupor” may be the most apropos way to describe the economy of the United States during the Eighties. High unemployment and inflation were rampant, the latter of which only increasing as the government meted out large cash grants to agricultural companies and the military industry to boost employment. While unemployment tapered, a combination of high gas prices and cost inflation left for a reduced standard of living and weak dollar.

Things have gradually grown better since the turn of the decade, however. In the last quarterly report, unemployment was as low as six percent. High fuel prices are a global problem and the United States has been susceptible to this as well, but natural gas production and the proliferation of oil drilling have ameliorated the deplorable gas prices seen in the early Eighties. Also, the Stock Market has recovered from some of the shock seen during the Oil Spill, when raids on derricks in Western Iran caused massive share sales and panic.

President Ho’kee squandered no opportunity to take credit for the economic recovery, citing his own legislative initiatives on issues like free trade, spending, and tax cuts. “Our new tax policy is innovative and reflective of what modern times call for. The old truism of levying more taxes for the sake of more revenue is no longer a mainstay of our government, and we’re already seeing dividends from that.” Ho’kee declined to mention that his predecessor, President Bentsen, signed such legislation.
24  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: August 30, 2016, 12:49:48 am
Whitewash: 1990

It was only last New Year’s Eve that Areus Ho’kee had deputized Ericson Snell, Lawrence Coventry, and Ralph Stevenson with millions of dollars for the purpose of influencing dozens of races at their personal discretion. Thad O’Connor had been delegated the responsibility of improving his skills on negotiating legislation, and he had performed well. However, the summer recess for Congress, coupled with the fact that a third of the Senate was up for reelection, meant that there was scant opportunity for Thad O’Connor to hone such talent.

In prior years, he would have spent such free time in inertia; succumbing to either indolence or despondency, and sometimes both. However, this year he devoted such legislative respite to professional improvement. Rather than secluding himself with Cynthia, he took advantage of every opportunity to socialize with colleagues still in town. Rather than finding complacency in drinking himself to languor in his den, Thad spent much time reading up on contemporary issues and parliamentary procedure. Perhaps being in the party of government had served as motivation for the errant Senator.

This state of affairs continued without disruption until November 7th, the day after the midterm elections. Thad O’Connor was sprawled out on his bed, enjoying a New Wave album, when he heard a set of knuckles thrumming on his door. He rushed to open it, and on the other end to greet him was a stout woman. Her onyx hair had been spun into finely woven curls, which contrasted the puffy stores in her face that belied her age, and her chic sunglasses obstructed any eye contact Thad could have made with her.

It wasn’t until she spoke that Thad had realized she was Prudence Rockefeller, the First Lady of the United States. “President Ho’kee would like to know if you could be in attendance tonight for celebration of the midterm elections,” she asked. Though she had never been svelte, the First Lady had gotten considerably stouter than the last time Thad saw her. Withholding any tertiary comment about her appearance, Thad simply placed a hand on her shoulder. “Of course I shall,” he said.

Thad O’Connor descended the steps to the basement of the estate, only to find that the crowd not only was as sparse as it had been during the summer, but was also identical in attendance: President Areus, Ericson Snell, Lawrence Coventry, and Abimelech Delroy were the only ones present. Thad O’Connor was perplexed by this. “Mr. President, you used to treat mid-term elections like a festive affair. This same venue once drew nearly one hundred people, and had an atmosphere of exuberance. However, in celebration of this recent victory, we have not half a dozen in congregation. Have you lost your enthusiasm?” asked Thad.

Areus Ho’kee stared into the eyes of Thad O’Connor. “During the formative years of the Mavericks and the Renaissance of the Republican Party, we had control of neither houses of Congress, and were coming off catastrophic losses just a few years prior. Every stride was to be celebrated, considering the fact that we were engraving new art on tainted stone. It made sense in those instances to invite all that were tangentially involved in the affair, in order to foster vigor and camaraderie.

We were already the party of authority in yesterday’s elections, and managed to gain Congressional seats despite that fact. While it is true that our haul was paltry compared to previous seasons, we weren’t just astride a mood of anti-incumbency. All present company contributed in some way towards building a narrative in favor of my White House. In that respect, you should hold this meeting in higher esteem due to its exclusivity, in comparison to the previous convocations.

In addition to that, maintaining positive approval as President involves constructing a polished façade of altruism and magnanimity. When I was just a Representative, I could voice my thoughts and machinations with impunity, a luxury I no longer enjoy. Power and incumbency often hold hands with eavesdropping and deceit, and every gathering is sure to be replete with fleeting bedfellows who would divulge what I say at a moment’s notice.

I feel the public eye leering at me and its nose breathing down my neck any time I leave the confines of my quarters, knowing a potential mole is always present. I have foregone my past romantic dalliances and ostentatious rants in exchange for a drab, bleached visage of statesmanship. Out of the millions of people I govern, and out of the hundreds of people I know on good terms, you four are the penultimate, that I can speak freely before. So no, this has nothing to do with a lack of enthusiasm,” said Areus.

The entire room was awe-struck, and rushed to hug Areus Ho’kee. Moments later, Ericson Snell broke away and sternly looked on President Ho’kee. “All maudlin sentiments aside, what ambitions do you have with this reaffirmed Republican Majority?” asked Snell. With a twinkle in his eye, President Ho’kee grinned at Ericson Snell. “How do you feel about a proposal that abolishes Medicare?” he asked.
25  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: August 07, 2016, 12:38:13 am
TIME – Republicans stay afloat
November 11th, 1990

1990: Year of the Maverick?

A week ago, the Congressional mid-term elections took place, and America voted on the composition of a third of the Senate, as well as the entire House of Representatives. Typically, the party that controls the White House tends to fare negatively in these, and the party out of power tries to spin the results as a “referendum on the President,” especially after elections like 1974 or 1986. However, attempts to do so with last week’s results would be futile, as Republicans actually gained in both chambers.

Areus Ho’kee entered the White House amidst an unseemly background: after a divisive primary campaign that divided his party, he won the Presidency in an election where no candidate received a majority of the popular vote. His party had a slim majority in Congress, and initially Areus Ho’kee seemed listless and lacking direction. Democratic partisans were quick to paint Ho’kee as a mercurial showman that was not interested in the actual duties of the office.

President Ho’kee was quick to rebound from his inaugural hangover, actively advocating for legislative initiatives by giving speeches on their behalf and returning to his pre-election form. Within a few months, he had overseen the passage of major trade and foreign policy legislation. His approval ratings went up, and the Republicans were able to overcome the Democratic and Working Man’s parties, both of which were struggling to offer a narrative that can effectively combat Ho’kee’s.

Perhaps most impressive about the Republican Party’s midterm success was its composition. Ten years ago, the Mavericks were an informal club comprised of a few Congressmen. However, this election saw one Republican, Restique Skinner, mounting a successful primary challenge against an incumbent Senator by self-styling himself as a Maverick. Several Gubernatorial candidates were elected using this approach, as well as over a dozen Representative candidates. It seems as if the President’s politics, once a grab bag of third rail issues, are becoming in vogue in America.

One glaring exception to the Republicans’ coup was Michigan. Since the 1970’s, the state’s principal industry, automotive manufacturing, has been beleaguered by rising fuel costs and strong competition from foreign imports. This has led to great economic anxiety amongst its voters, and subsequently, strong anti-incumbent sentiment. On Election Day, Michigan elected Christian Mattingly, a WMP activist turned Democrat, to the Governor’s seat, and nearly ousted their Republican Senator, thus severely bucking a national trend. While this could be an anomaly, it could also be a sign of weakness for the President in a region that has a bevy of Electoral Votes.

Presidential Approval Ratings
November 8th, 1990


November 8th, 1990


Safe Republican: >10%

Slight Republican: 4-9%

Tossup: 3% difference

Slight Democratic: 4-9%

Safe Democratic: >10%

Ho'kee vs Brown vs WMP

3705416 - 98

Ho'kee vs Mondale vs WMP

3858216 - 55

Ho'kee vs Wyde

322 202 - 14
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