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1  About this Site / The Atlas / Re: Empty Quoting on: Today at 01:06:00 am
The obvious solution is to install a 'like' button.
2  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.
3  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.
4  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?” 
5  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.
6  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: November 02, 2016, 02:01:23 am
TIME – POTENTIAL HEALTHCARE SHAKE-UP
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
7  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.
8  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
9  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.
10  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

Wyde
Brown
Mondale

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.
11  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.
12  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


HEAD-TO-HEAD MATCHUPS

November 8th, 1990

Key:

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
13  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: August 07, 2016, 12:05:40 am
Alabama:
Jefferson Dent (R)
Howell Heflin (D)

Alaska:
Ted Stevens (R)
Clark Gruening (D)

Arizona:
Bob Stump (D)
Jim Kolbe (R)

Arkansas:
David Pryor (D)
Dale Bumpers (D)


California:
Pete McCloskey (R)
Ed Zschau (R)


Colorado:
Gary Hart (D)
Bill Armstrong (R)

Connecticut:
Lowell Weicker (R)
Christopher Shays (R
)

Delaware:
Joe Biden (D)
William Roth (R)

Florida:
Lawton Chiles (D)
Richard McPherson (D)


Georgia:
Sam Nunn (D)
John D. Russell (D)

Hawaii:
Daniel Inouye (D)
Spark Matsunaga (D)


Idaho:
Orval Smylie (R)
George Hansen (WMP)

Illinois:
Alex Seith (D)
Jim Edgar (R)

Indiana:
Richard Lugar (R)
Floyd Fithian (D)

Iowa:
Frederic Reid (R)
Jim Leach (R)


Kansas:
Bob Dole (R)
Joan Finney (D)

Kentucky:
Walter Huddleston (D)
Wendell Ford (D)

Louisiana:
Bennett Johnston Jr. (D)
Mike Foster (D)
*

Maine:
Thad O'Connor (R)
Ralph Stevenson (R)


Maryland:
Clarence Long (D)
Wayne Gilchrest (R)

Massachusetts:
Ted Kennedy (D)
Bill Weld (R)

Michigan:
Mic Ceriel (R)
William Milliken (R)


Minnesota:
David Durenburger (R)
Richard Akers (R)


Mississippi:
Gillespie Montgomery (D)
Patton Wyde (D)


Missouri:
Thomas Eagleton (D)
John Danforth (R)

Montana:
Scott Westman (D)
Helen Brisco (R)

Nebraska:
James Exon (D)
Charles Thone (R)

Nevada:
Paul Laxalt (R)
Chic Hect (R)


New Hampshire:
Maurice Murphy (R)
Restique Skinner (R)


New Jersey:
Thomas Kean (R)
Millicent Fenwick (R)


New Mexico:
David F. Cargo (R)
Bart Novak (R)


New York:
Hamilton Fish IV (R)
Al Green (R)

North Carolina:
Robert Burren Morgan (D)
John Ingram (D)


North Dakota:
Mark Andrews (R)
Warren F. Ford (R)


Ohio:
John Glenn (D)
James Traficant (D)

Oklahoma:
David Boren (D)
Wes Watkins (D)

Oregon:
Victor Atiyeh (R)
Mark Hatfield (R
)

Pennsylvania:
John Heinz (R)
John Murtha (D)

Rhode Island:
Claiborne Pell (D)
John Chafee (R)

South Carolina:
Strom Thurmond (R)
Ernest Hollings (D)

South Dakota:
George McGovern (D)
Larry Pressler (R)

Tennessee:
Marilyn Lloyd (D)
Jim Sasser (D)


Texas:
James "Fergie" Garner (R)
Dolph Briscoe (D)

Utah:
Jake Garn (R)
Orrin Hatch (R)


Vermont:
Lawrence I. Coventry (R)
Margaret P. Garland (R)


Virginia:
Andrew Miller (D)
Marshall Coleman (R)

Washington:
Santiago St. Avila (R)
Jasper Morrill (R)


West Virginia:
Jennings Randolph (D)
Robert Byrd (D)

Wisconsin:
Steve Gunderson (R)
Herb Kohl (R)

Wyoming:
Malcolm Wallop (R)
Alan Simpson (R)



Senate Composition:

R: 56 D: 42 WMP: 2

President Pro Tempore: Mark Hatfield (R-OR)
Majority Leader: Lawrence Coventry (R-VT)
Majority Whip: Alan Simpson (R-WY)

Minority Leader: Robert Byrd (D-WV)
Minority Whip: Richard McPherson (D-FL)

House Composition:

R: 234 D: 194 WMP: 7

Speaker of the House: Ericson Snell (R-NY)
Majority Leader: Spencer Adams (R-OR)
Majority Whip: Joel McFee Pritchard (R-WA)

Minority Leader: Charles Wilson (D-TX)
Minority Whip: Dick Gephardt (D-MO)
 * = Caucusing with the Working Man's Party.
14  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: August 07, 2016, 12:03:46 am
1990 Elections

Alabama

Howell Heflin (D), 77.23% - Paul Smith (WMP), 22.77% (D-Hold)

Alaska

Ted Stevens (R), 52.67% - Stephen McAlpine (D), 39.82% - Roger Dee Roberts (WMP), 7.51% (R-Hold)

Arkansas

David Pryor (D), 68.72% - Ralph Forbes (WMP), 31.28% (D-Hold)

Colorado

Bill Armstrong (R), 54.16% - Nancy Dick, (D), 43.82% - John Shue (WMP), 2.02% (R-Hold)

Delaware

Joe Biden (D), 51.70% - Dale Wolf (R), 47.92% - Others, 0.38% (D-Hold)

Georgia


Sam Nunn (D), 100% (D-Hold)

Idaho

Orval Smylie (R), 45.13% - Ron Beitelspacher (D), 36.47% - John Stoddard (WMP), 18.40% (R-Hold)

Illinois

Alex Seith (D), 51.34% - Arnold Mertin (R), 45.78% - Others, 2.88% (D-Hold)

Iowa

Frederic Reid (R), 61.29% - Carl Jacobs (D), 38.71% (R-Hold)

Kansas

Joan Finney (D), 55.12% - Arthur Fitzgerald (R), 44.88% (D-Hold)

Kentucky

Walter Huddleston (D), 61.38% - James Lyons (R), 38.62% (D-Hold)

Louisiana

Bennett Johnston Jr (D), 58.04% - Scott McBride (D), 41.96% (D-Hold)

Maine

Ralph Stevenson (R), 65.27% - Tyler Liu (D), 32.89% - Others, 1.84% (R-Hold)

Massachusetts

William Weld (R), 59.13% - John Silber (D), 40.87% (R-Hold)

Michigan

William Milliken (R), 47.31% - James Lynch (D), 42.64 % - Leroy Monroe (I), 10.05% (R-Hold)

Minnesota

Richard Akers (R), 54.79% - Nora Christiansen (D), 45.21% (R-Pick up)

Mississippi

Patton Wyde (D), 74.61% - Daniel Chambers (I), 25.39% (D-Hold)

Montana

Helen Brisco (R), 59.20% - Shepherd Franklin (D), 36.51% - Pat Sibley (WMP), 4.29% (R-Hold)

Nebraska

James Exon (D), 53.51% - Edgar Lloyds (R), 46.49% (D-Hold)

New Hampshire

Restique Skinner (R), 54.45% - Jordan Flanders (D), - 39.34% - Others, 6.21% (R-Hold)

New Jersey

Thomas Kean (R), 65.31% - Angelo Costello (D), 34.69% (R-Hold)

New Mexico

Bart Novak (R), 50.12% - Bruce King (D-NM), 47.60% - Others, 2.28% (R-Pick up)

North Carolina

John Ingram (D), 57.84% - Lamar Richardson (WMP), 42.16% (D-Hold)

Oklahoma

David Boren (D), 54.18% - Marsha Calhoum (R), 45.82% (D-Hold)

Oregon

Victor Atiyeh (R), 67.23% - Sam Burns (D), 32.77% (R-Hold)

Rhode Island


Claiborne Pell (D), 58.71% - Stephen Bryant (R), 41.29% (D-Hold)

South Carolina

Strom Thurmond (R), 52.85% - Gale Fuller (D), 47.15% (R-Hold)

South Dakota

Larry Pressler (R), 56.29% - Edward Schumacher (D), 43.71% (R-Hold)

Tennessee


Marilyn Lloyd (D), 55.09% - Herman Willis (R), 37.46% - Stan Mortensen (WMP), 7.45% (D-Hold)

Texas

Dolph Briscoe (D), 48.17% - Bill Archer (R), 44.60% - Others, 7.23% (D-Pick up)

Virginia

Andrew Miller (D), 51.27% - Clark Cannon (R), 48.73% (D-Hold)

West Virginia

Jennings Randolph (D), 100% (D-Hold)

Wyoming

Alan Simpson (R), 100% (R-Hold)

15  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: New Register Thread on: August 04, 2016, 07:03:28 pm
Apocrypha
Massachusetts
Harambe Freedom Party
16  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: July 30, 2016, 10:35:17 pm
Distant Whispers: 1990

Not much had happened in the Senate since Thad’s sponsorship and passing of the campaign finance reform bill. Summer recess was only a month away, and most Senators were more likely to have reelection on their minds than legislation. Instead of succumbing to absenteeism like he might have in years past, Thad took time to ingratiate himself with members of the Republican Caucus that were not in his insular circle of Lawrence, Stevenson, et al. It wasn’t enough outreach to establish himself as a future Majority Leader, but he did improve his standing with rank and file Republicans.

When summer came, most of the legislators left Washington as if they were migratory birds. Some left to get a head-start on their reelection bids, while others left just to get a head-start on leisure. Thad’s home in Maine was more for maintaining appearances than it was for residence, so he opted to stay in Washington and avail himself to the nightlife of the capital. Though they were both Maine natives, Thad found himself spending more time with Cynthia now than when they both were at home.

It wasn’t until a morning in June that Thad O’Connor heard knocking on his bedroom door. He hastened to open it, only to be greeted by the President himself. “Good morning, Thad,” smiled Areus Ho’kee. “It’s been a few months since we’ve spoken in person,” he said. “Indeed it has. What have you been doing while Congress is on recess?” asked Thad. “The little things. I spent a week in Block Island, and then went to Nantucket.

Normally this would be considered campaigning, but now it’s just vacationing,” Areus joked. The two laughed for a moment, but then Areus’ visage changed from laughter to one of grave seriousness. “This Fourth of July, I’m inviting only my most trusted company to the lobby downstairs. I have it on good information that you’ve been idle during this summer. Surely you can come that day? You won’t even have to leave the house,” asked Areus. “Of course,” said Thad.

Within a week, it was Independence Day. After Thad had an evening meal of roast beef and mashed potatoes, courtesy of the estate’s kitchen, he made his way down the stairs once more to the familiar lobby. The normally spatial room had just looked empty; only Areus Ho’kee, Abimelech Delroy, and Eric Snell were there to greet him. “Good evening,” said Thad to the party. “I’m glad you could make it, Thad. I don’t think this could’ve gone on in earnest without you present,” said Areus as he gave Thad a hug.

“We’re just waiting on Lawrence. I didn’t think the nightlife in Vermont was so vibrant that he’d be tardy in showing up,” said Eric. “There’s no hard deadline, but it’d be nice if he got here soon,” replied Areus. As if on cue, the sound of thick boots descending down the staircase emanated through the building, and Lawrence was present. “No nightlife, just spending a bit of time with a special lady in my life,” grinned Lawrence.

Eric glanced at Lawrence with disdain. “You know my feelings on that issue,” he said. Areus was quick to change the subject. “Men, we should not be arguing over issues of timeliness and fidelity, or an alleged lack thereof. The fact that I have invited only three of you out of the dozens of Mavericks in Congress should indicate that you have a special designation in my heart, and that more important matters are at hand. Today is a special day,” said Areus.

Lawrence grinned. “Speaking of which, why did you invite us on the Fourth of July, of all dates? I’ve never known you to fetishize boilerplate imagery of American patriotism, even in front of the camera.” Areus chuckled. “To me, this date is more relevant to the future than the past: I chose it because of how it coincides with the midterm election, which is the purpose of this meeting. When you couple the bad press that the Democratic Party has had with the legislative dominance and public approval that our party has enjoyed, these midterms are an opportunity that we must exploit to the fullest.

Lawrence, what success do you have to report on that front?” asked Areus. Lawrence bit his tongue, not prepared for the line of questioning. “We need to manage our expectations a bit. While the narrative is favorable to us, the landscape isn’t: lots of senate races in lost cause states like Louisiana and North Carolina. I did avail myself of what opportunities presented themselves, though. In New Mexico, the incumbent Bruce King has a history of winning tight races. Gary Johnson was a prospect that I coveted highly for the task, but he was more interested in remaining Governor.

I managed to recruit a man for the job: Bart Novak, a two-term State Senator. Bruce King has the advantage of incumbency, but your administration and the immigration reform act are very popular there. I think we have even odds at taking that seat. The other opportunity that we have is Minnesota. Conspicuously, Walter Mondale isn’t running for reelection, and that state has soured on Democrats in the past decade. The candidate I found there is named Richard Akers, a physicist at University of Minnesota. He’s a bit of a dark horse, as he’s never held elective office before and disagrees with some of your decisions as President, but I found him to be the most amenable and compelling option,” said Lawrence.

Areus nodded, before turning to Eric. “And how have you managed so far in recruiting talent?” he asked. Eric smiled from ear to ear. “In the House of Representatives, every seat is up every two years. My philosophy is to cast a wide net and hope for a handful of pearls. Through communications with local Republican Party chapters, I was able to recruit nearly forty candidates for the House, mostly in districts that are either open or held by a Democrat and expected to be competitive,” said Eric. Areus seemed pleased. “On that note, I don’t mean to overstep my bounds, but I went a step further. During my scouting, I met an activist names Restique Skinner, who seemed enthusiastic to support the Maverick agenda,” said Eric.

Thad O’Connor was familiar with the name; he had met Restique Skinner while campaigning on Areus’ behalf in New Hampshire. They got along well, but Thad had not heard of him since. “I persuaded him to mount a primary campaign against Senator Malcolm McLane. Senator McLane is not bad, but he lacks the youth and conviction of Restique, who is far more conservative on matters of taxation and spending. I figured that the benefit far outweighed the risk in a state like New Hampshire,” said Eric.

Areus clapped his hands. “Splendid! I love the enthusiasm!” he exclaimed. Thad O’Connor felt a bit confused. “President, I met Restique Skinner two years ago while campaigning for you in New Hampshire. He was running against Don Aitken, a man that you had endorsed in that race and who now is your Transportation Secretary. He’s now running against Malcolm McLane, who you supported six years ago. I can attest to the strength of Restique’s virtue, but does it not look like bad faith to so readily switch sides?” asked Thad.

“The last time Malcolm McLane was running for Senate, the body was nearly two-thirds Democratic, and he seemed like the most viable Republican to win the Senate seat. It was only logical to support him in an attempt to wrest control from the Democrats. As for Don Aitken, I supported that man as a means to curry favor with those who were voting for Weicker in New Hampshire. Those were actions borne out of expedience.  Now that we’ve secured the Presidency, those ties are irrelevant. Rather than put past allegiances towards certain individuals on a pedestal, we need to focus on the agenda itself. Everything else ought to be secondary.”
17  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: July 23, 2016, 10:45:52 pm
Realized that since this website blocks imgur, most people probably never saw the 1988 County Map. Updated here.
18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: July 20, 2016, 10:38:25 pm
If you don't mind me asking, what is Winthrop P. Rockefeller up to?

Given the fact that Arkansas is one of the most Democratic states in the nation, I can't imagine he's doing too much as far as elective office goes. Tongue

Although he might be able to parlay the fact that he's an in-law to the current President into some administrative appointment.
19  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: July 20, 2016, 08:04:33 pm
TIME – CAMPAIGN FINANCE OVERHAUL
April 23rd, 1990

The Boys are Coming Home

During the first week of November 1989, President Areus Ho’kee signed the biggest piece of legislation he has pushed for thus far as President: the Return to Normalcy Act. Amongst other things, the Return to Normalcy Act called for an indiscriminate withdrawal of United States military forces from countries in the Eastern Hemisphere. This included Iran, a country that has been the focal point of United States foreign policy since the late Seventies, and in its periphery since the Fifties.

The initial invasion of Iran was launched in March of 1982, which saw the deployment of 200,000 troops through the passages of the border that Iran shared with Turkey. The objective of the American military was simply the subjugation of the Iranian Government, as restitution for both the loss of American embassy workers and the Shah, who had been seen as an ally of the United States. The execution of this invasion went straight for the proverbial jugular: Tehran, the capital of Iran.

The American military went to work, and within two years they had occupied Tehran, along with other major population centers in Western Iran. Instead of surrender, the Iranian military employed salted earth tactics and took to bombing their own capital city with SCUD missiles, while retreating to Eastern Iran and its more treacherous mountain terrain. By this point, the American public had been starved for peace, and there also had been a change in American leadership. President Lloyd Bentsen, who was significantly less hawkish than his predecessor, took a more conservative approach. Rather than have a battle of attrition for another decade, Bentsen withdrew from Iran and concentrated military resources along the western border, where oil is in abundance and is the backbone of Iran’s economy.

It is unclear whether the seizure of the oil wells was simply to confiscate their product, or if it was to draw the Iranian government into submission, but external forces would confound this plan. The absence of the Iranian government in Western Iran, as well as United States occupation of Qom and atrocities committed in Kermanshah led to the festering of rogue militant groups. Eventually these groups conducted a surprise attack along several installations on the western border, destroying several derricks and removing a crucial piece of collateral for the United States.

The raid dealt a further blow to the war’s already poor popularity among American voters. Within a month, Americans elected Areus Ho’kee, who ran on a staunchly anti-war platform. A year later he would sign the aforementioned Return to Normalcy Act, which signaled an end to United States occupation in Iran. American General Foster McDonald negotiated an armistice with the Iranian government, which would gradually cede the territory back to them concurrent with the withdrawal of United States troops.

As of the past month, over 50,000 troops have returned home from Iran, which is welcome news to the families of those soldiers and to public that is weary of war, between Iran and Vietnam.

Congress passes O’Connor-Westman bill

Last week, the Senate passed the Ethics in Campaign Finance Act, known short-handedly as O’Connor-Westman. Two Senators from rural states, one a Republican (Thad O’Connor) and the other a Democrat (Scott Westman), found common ground in proposing a bill to provide stricter oversight and regulation of the financing of federal campaigns. The bill was signed by President Areus Ho’kee, who spoke favorably of it weeks ago.

 The Ethics in Campaign Finance Act establishes the maximum donation from a private citizen towards a campaign at $1,300 for every four months. It also establishes a separate category of donations from labor unions, corporations, and other entities at $50,000 for every four months. Under the ECFA, donations from private citizens are protected under anonymity (unless indicted for campaign finance fraud) while donations from the other aforementioned entities are to be public knowledge.

The Ethics in Campaign Finance Act also appropriates money for the creation of the Campaign Finance Agency, a new federal department tasked with the enforcement of auditing political entities and prosecuting campaign finance fraud. Under the ECFA, punishments for individuals committing campaign fraud are up to $15,000 or 5 years in prison, and up to a $100,000 fine for public entities.

Aye: Jefferson Dent (R-AL), Clark Gruening (D-AK), Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), Dale Bumpers (D-AR), David Pryor (D-AR), Pete McCloskey (R-CA), Ed Zschau (R-CA), Gary Hart (D-CO), Lowell Weicker (R-CT), Joe Biden (D-DE), William Roth (R-DE), Sam Nunn (D-GA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Spark Matsunaga (D-HI),Orval Smylie (R-ID), Jim Edgar (R-IL), Alex Seith (D-IL), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Frederic Reid (R-IA), Jim Leach (R-IA), Bennett Johnston Jr (D-LA), Thad O’Connor (R-ME), Ralph Stevenson (R-ME), Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), William Weld (R-MA), Mic Ceriel (R-MI), William Milliken (R-MI), Walter Mondale (D-MN), David Durenburger (R-MN), Scott Westman (D-MT), Helen Brisco (R-MT), Chic Hect (R-NV), Malcolm McLane (R-NH), Maurice Murphy (R-NH), Thomas Kean (R-NJ), Millicent Fenwick (R-NJ), Hamilton Fish (R-NY), Al Green (R-NY), Robert B. Morgan (D-NC), Mark Andrews (R-ND), Warren F. Ford (R-ND), James Traficant (D-OH), Victor Atiyeh (R-OR), Mark Hatfield (R-OR), John Chafee (R-RI), George McGovern (D-SD), Larry Pressler (R-SD), James Garner (R-TX), 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), Alan Simpson (R-WY), Malcolm Wallop (R-WY) (59)

Nay: Howell Heflin (D-AL), Ted Stevens (R-AK), Bob Stump (D-AZ), Bill Armstrong (R-CO), Lawton Chiles (D-FL), Richard McPherson (D-FL), John D. Russell (D-GA), George Hansen (WMP-ID), Floyd Fithian (D-IN), Joan Finney (D-KS), Robert Dole (R-KS), Walter Huddleston (D-KY), Wendell Ford (D-KY), Mike Foster (D-LA), Chris Long (D-MD), Patton Wyde (D-MS), Gillespie Montgomery (D-MS), Thomas Eagleton (D-MO), Charles Thone (R-NE), James Exon (D-NE), Paul Laxalt (R-NV), Bruce King (D-NM), David F. Cargo (R-MN), John Glenn (D-OH), David Boren (D-OK), Wes Watkins (D-OK), John Murtha (D-PA), John Heinz (R-PA), Strom Thurmond (R-SC), Ernest Hollings (D-SC), Marilyn Lloyd (D-TN), Jim Sasser (D-TN), Bill Archer (WMP-TX), Andrew Miller (D-VA), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Jennings Randolph (D-WV) (36)

Abstain: Christopher Shays (R-CT), John Danforth (R-MO), John Ingram (D-NC), Claiborne Pell (D-RI), Jake Garn (R-UT) (5)
20  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Unfortunate Son on: July 16, 2016, 11:46:30 pm
The Mattingly campaign: a 21st century version of the Whig platform presented by demographically prototypical Jackson Democrat. Tongue
21  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: July 13, 2016, 11:27:52 pm
Driving Fourth Gear in a Hard Bargain: 1990

Thad spoke with Ericson Snell and Areus Ho’kee about the details of campaign finance reform for another hour, before he bade the two good bye and returned to his quarters. Cynthia was not there, presumably enjoying the comforts of the city. Thad took the initiative to call Lawrence Coventry, who quickly agreed before ending the conversation. Relieved that Lawrence was on board, he dialed Scott Westman’s phone number, anticipating a longer conversation than the one he just had.

The ringer ran a few times before a gruffy voice answered. “Scott Westman. Hello?” it asked.  “Hello Scott, it’s Thad. It has been quite some time since our last correspondence. I call you under the auspices of working with the President towards campaign finance reform. What say you about meeting up at the Drunken Dutchman some time tomorrow?” asked Thad. Scott Westman sounded apprehensive. “I can’t guarantee any agreement, but I suppose I’ll meet with you,” he said.

The next afternoon, Thad O’Connor made his way through the Drunken Dutchman. Its chairs were empty and its air was smoke free. Thad quickly spotted Lawrence, who sat at a small table replete with two bottles, one of gin and the other of tonic water. Thad sat opposite him and made the proper obeisances before sitting down. After an hour of waiting, Scott Westman strolled through the bar and sat with them.

Lawrence Coventry grinned. “Good afternoon Scott! Glad you could make it. This first drink is on me, as a courtesy of our meeting,” said Lawrence. “Thank you,” said Scott Westman as he sat down, before looking at Thad. “It’s been awhile since I’ve seen you, Thad. How have you been?” he asked. “Not bad. I hope that you’ve kept the dust off of my couch?” Thad joked. Westman humored Thad with a laugh. “Yeah, it really has been awhile.”

That gave Thad pause for thought. His relationship with Scott Westman had been an important part to the phenomenon of liberals voting for Mark Hatfield, and also to the Republican coup in 1986. However, Thad hadn’t seen Westman since the night of the Iowa Caucus, coinciding with his journey to see Areus’ ascendancy to the Presidency. They worked so hard to lay down the foundation for something big, but never took the time to gaze upon the finished product. It really had been awhile.

Thad’s pensive trance was ended by the crescendo of bubbling water, as Lawrence poured a drink for Westman. “I’d like to speak with you today about co-sponsorship of a campaign finance reform bill on behalf of the President. You’ve spent your whole political career railing against big interests, and also have spent your whole career representing a small state and presenting yourself as an outsider. Do you have an interest in helping sponsor a bill tackling campaign finance reform?” asked Lawrence.

Westman responded with some reluctance. “Four years ago, I stuck my neck out for the Republican Party, of all things, just to stick it to Lloyd Bentsen and the Senate Democrats. I gained nothing out of that, other than forwarding the career of Ted Stevens and making my own re-election bid more complicated. Now, you two have written a ‘reform’ bill and are asking me to lease you my credibility. So far, I’m not convinced that the Mavericks are anything other than Rockefeller Republicans who dress up like they’re in a psychedelic rock band. Why should I do that?” asked Westman.

Lawrence grinned. “I’m flattered by that comparison, Scott,” said Lawrence, who was wearing a white button-up shirt with oversized cufflinks. “All jokes aside, there are several reasons that you should support this bill. Firstly, I’m sure you’ve been paying attention to the news, and have at least heard about the Snell Commission. A man gets elected President with large donations from military contractors, then goes to not only hire many in his State Department, but also passes bills subsidizing them through graft and warfare. Doesn’t it seem like there’s a conflict of interest here that demands oversight?

Secondly, consider the tone that this bill will set for the public discourse. From a partisan perspective, the Snell Commission serves as a blistering indictment of how contemporary Democratic politics work, and that only Republicans are willing to make the right fix. However, if you, a dyed in the wool Democrat, would lend your name to this bill, then that would make this a bi-partisan effort. Besides, you never supported Jackson – why worry of his legacy?

If these two reasons don’t convince you, then consider this: your own career. President Ho’kee is very popular in Montana, and Republicans look strong there. Meanwhile, you have alienated base Democrats by opposing their past President, and voting for Mark Hatfield, amongst other apostasies. If you oppose this for purely partisan reasons, then you will not only lose swing voters, but also Democrats who may think that same way.” After finishing off his harangue, Lawrence took a stiff drink.

Scott Westman furrowed his brow. “That’s a pretty persuasive argument, but I’m going to have to hear the details of this bill.”
22  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: July 08, 2016, 04:24:53 pm
Is Birch Bayh considering running for anything in 1990 or 1992(besides the Presidency)?

That asked, this is a great timeline, and I think I see now why you're so popular.

Popular? I don't know about that. I've been a ghost on here lately. Tongue

Thanks for the accolades though, I appreciate it!

Anyway, as to the question: probably not. Birch Bayh was selected for the Vice Presidency when Lloyd Bentsen ascended the Presidency because he was seen as well-respected by his colleagues and had a long tenure of experience and service. However, he was also an easy confirmation for the Senate because he wouldn't have been of great electoral advantage to Bentsen's eventual '88 campaign.

Indiana hasn't voted Democratic in this timeline, but Scoop Jackson did very well there in his reelection bid (came within 2%) and Democrats actually retained Bayh's Senate seat despite 1986 being a Republican wave.
23  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: July 07, 2016, 11:58:15 pm
TIME – A New Year’s Resolution
March 8th, 1990

Congress passes Massive Global Reform Bill

Just days ago, President Ho’kee inscribed his signature onto the Western Commerce Streamline Act of 1990, more commonly referred to as O’Connor-Snell, after the names of its sponsors. A proud Ho’kee boldly claimed to the media that he was signing “the most important legislation in the United States since the Louisiana Purchase.” While such a claim may be hyperbolic, the bill is a massive retooling of a plethora of foreign issues for the United States.

One issue that O’Connor-Snell legislated was tariffs. The bill was particularly daring in this regard, considering the battle with Japanese imports that American manufacturing was decisively losing. O’Connor-Snell vastly liberalizes trade with every country in the Western Hemisphere, although some of these are conditional on reciprocity from the country in question. Free trade with Panama may not be happening for some time.

Consistent with the theme of foreign relations, O’Connor-Snell also tackles the issue of immigration. Since the repeal of the bracero program, the United States only had a patchwork system for immigration and guest-workers. Between that and a porous border, the result has been an illegal alien population estimated at eleven million. What the O’Connor-Snell bill does is grant amnesty to those eleven million as a band aid, while making adjustments to the immigration process and work visas.

Blanket amnesty and tweaks to the law would be pilloried by some as merely changing the law in the face of adversity. However, the O’Connor-Snell proposal has an additional provision: millions of dollars proposed for the construction of a fence along the border of Mexico. This measure, along with others, signals to certain interest groups that the administration is serious about curbing illegal immigration. It also serves to sway the votes of a handful of right-wing Senators who may otherwise be opposed to this bill.

Indictments Made

The so-called “Snell Commission,” a project undertaken by the House Committee on Ethics, finally concluded after conducting an investigation that clouded three election cycles. In its final reports, the committee named over a hundred people, ranging from Democratic Party officials, to military contractors, and to State Department employees, in a largely cast net of “unethical campaign finance conduct.” While a number of people are mentioned for sums of less than four thousand dollars, some conspicuous entities stand out, such as Rock Island Armory, Martin Alvarez (former Chairman of the California Democratic Party), and Frank Shrontz, who served as Postmaster General under President Jackson.

The Justice Department announced it would be pressing charges toward the concerned parties, mere hours after the news broke. President Ho’kee said to the press, “If you were to take the time filing through these various receipts, it looks fairly obvious that there was an effort by various military interest groups to buy out our foreign policy. Nonetheless, Attorney General Baker has experience in these matters, and I trust him to reach a reasonable conclusion,” said the President.

Senator Patton Wyde may have made the loudest objection toward the Snell Commission’s findings. “I have read the report, and the sum of its findings are as follows: defense contractor donates to a state affiliate for the Democratic Party. State affiliate winds up transferring money toward the Democratic National Convention. There are other connections, but this investigation’s findings seem like nothing more than guilt by association. I maintain that the whole motivation for this investigation is every bit as political as its findings, and that Republicans still haven’t gotten over losing that election,” said Wyde.

Former Governor Jerry Brown, who is also a prospective candidate for President, had a slightly different position on the issue. “As Senator, Scoop Jackson had a long past with Boeing, and it would not be surprising if there was some intimacy between his campaign and the defense industry. However, rather than viewing this as an indictment of the Democratic Party, we should use it as a microscope to the issue of campaign finance reform, and accept that neither party is immune to the influence of suspect money,” said Governor Brown.


Presidential Approval Ratings

March 5th, 1990

Generic Ballot Preference (Congress)
Republican: 51%
Democratic: 36%
Working Man’s Party: 9%
Undecided: 4%
24  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: July 07, 2016, 11:51:09 pm
Hangman’s Knot: 1990

Thad O’Connor maintained idle conversation with Ericson Snell for another hour, before the two agreed to part ways. Thad made his way back to Areus’ estate with good news in hand, only to find out that the President would not be home for the night. “Areus told us that he’s going to be away for the night, but should be back tomorrow evening,” said the guard at the door. After complying with a quick security check, Thad shuffled his way down the stairs and toward his own room.

He woke up late the next day, seeing Cynthia lounging next to him on the bed. “What time is it?” he asked. “Quarter past noon. What were you doing out so late anyway?” Cynthia asked. “Eric and I were negotiating the bill about free trade. Is Areus here?” he asked. “I think so. I heard a lot of commotion coming down the stairs an hour ago. Perhaps that’s him?” she said.

Thad O’Connor hurried his way down the hallway in anticipation of Areus’ return. As he entered the basement lobby, he spotted two figures: Areus Ho’kee and Ericson Snell. The lamentations that Eric had about Areus’ governing style seemed like a distant memory, as the two were vivaciously laughing and talking. Each had a glass in hand, while Areus clutched a manila folder under his armpit.

“I assume that you two have discussed the terms of the immigration deal?” asked Thad. “Yes. We get free trade and citizenship for eleven million illegal aliens, in exchange for a border fence being built. That sounds like an adequate deal to me. Good work. However, what we’re discussing now is this scandal with various Democratic donors,” said Ho’kee, hoisting the manila folder.

He was nearly foaming at the mouth. “For years, we called them out for being bought and sold by interests, whether it was by the defense industry, by agriculture, or by plain old pork barrel spending. Now, we’ve got the records to hold them dead to rights. Amongst other things, we have direct correspondence between the Illinois Democratic Party, employees at the Department of Defense, and various arms contractors. I’ll spare you the details, Thad, because you’ll be hearing them on national television before long,” said Areus.

“As somebody who’s intimately aware of the details, where exactly do we go forward with all of this? Considering the current state of our campaign finance laws, I’m not sure how we get any sort of meaningful sentencing on the parties involved,” asked Eric. “Some of the names in question worked for the Department of Defense during Jackson’s Presidency. Regardless of what the campaign finance laws say, there’s an obvious issue with graft when it comes to publicly paid salaries. This should be fairly straightforward.

Besides, even if this does not result in any major criminal convictions, this is still a blockbuster for us. For nearly a century, Republicans have been dogged by the perception of being bought by elitist interests and being unresponsive to the layman. This investigation helps lay the blame of a foreign policy debacle squarely on the Democrats and wealthy defense industries, and solidifies our position as reformers heading into the Midterm elections this year,” said Areus.

“What’s the end-game here, though? I spent the better half of a decade filing through more paperwork than if I had been audited, and also was the face of what many deemed to be an embellished scandal. If all we’re going to do is score a few political points, then I don’t think I’d count this as a strategic victory,” said Ericson.

Areus bit his lip. “You were first put to task on this story in 1985, the year in which President Jackson was sworn in for his second term. Despite the underwhelming findings, this story was in the headlines every year, with each small uncovering that took place. Each small step toward the final conclusion helped contribute toward a millstone hanging around the neck of the Democratic Party. If you have the same mindset as me, you want that millstone to sag and grow into a noose.

If we make the most of this story this year, then our party will make gains in the House and Senate. The former helps you, as Speaker, and the latter is of mutual interest to us. That in itself is a strategic victory for us, as it weakens the Democratic Party, strengthens your Speakership, and helps bolster our numbers at the most opportune moment in our lifetimes. However, this also gives my administration a prime opportunity to legislate on an issue that is usually a third-rail for Republicans: campaign finance reform,” said Areus, before taking a long drink.

“I’m not necessarily opposed, but why would such an issue be considered landmark for your administration, and how does it further our objectives?” asked Eric. “I have the feeling that when these findings are made public, it’s going to raise a new level of awareness towards the issue of campaign contributions. Typically, this is an issue that Democrats would rally around, but how is that party going to react when it exposes their last President?

Scoop Jackson’s legacy will be a point of contention in the next Democratic Primary. There will be those that defend it, for its massive public spending projects, as well as for a want of its widespread electoral appeal. On the other hand, there will also be those who condemn Jackson’s legacy for being too militaristic, and also too opaque and subservient to political expediency. With the right amount of prescience, we could have our boot at their throat, and a simple thrust would divide their party and result in a second presidential term and extended dominance in Congress.

This will require cautious political maneuvering. During your investigation, Democrats tried to set a narrative that this was just Republican sour-grapes. I think the evidence is convincing on its own, but this will be easier to sell to the American populace if we make this look bi-partisan,” said Areus. At that moment he turned to Thad. “Thad, from what I understand, you have a great relationship with Scott Westman. I’d like you to get your hands dirty again, working with him and Lawrence on this.”
25  Forum Community / Forum Community Election Match-ups / windjammer vs Grim Fandango on: June 28, 2016, 11:56:12 am
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