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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

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July 9

In 2042, former President George W. Bush died this afternoon at his ranch in Midland, Texas of a stroke. He was surrounded by his wife Laura and their two daughters. He had just recently celebrated his 96th birthday.

George W. Bush is DeadBush lost the 2000 Presidential Election after the controversial 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore, which ruled that a Florida statewide recount would not violate the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The subsequent recount determined that Gore had won the election by 110 votes.

A new story by Charles R. TestrakeAn infuriated Bush conceded defeat, but warned his rival: "Mr. Gore, um, I will never again mis-underestimat-ed your doo-doo-plicity".

Two months later, Bush resigned as Governor of Texas and announced his candidacy for the 2004 Presidential Election.

From his ranch in Midland Texas, dubbed as the Western White House by the media, Bush operated what amounted to a shadow government of the Gore Administration. He was highly critical of Gore's handling of the so-called "Pakistani Affair," where Gore was forced to admit that he had ordered a CIA black ops unit to assassinate an accused Islamic terrorist named Osama bin Laden. The assassination occurred within the borders of Pakistan, which subsequently broke off diplomatic relations with the United States.

"Mr. Gore, um, has violated the sovereign borders of a Pakistani county," said Bush. "Pakistani, um, is a land of peace. Pakistani believes, um, in liberty. Pakistani, um, wants justice. Mr. Gore you should feel, um, bad and ashamed".

By early 2004, the Republican Party was solidly united behind Bush, while the Democrats were demoralized and divided. Pundits predicted that Bush would coast to an easy victory in the November election. Yet President Gore fought a spirited campaign, which forced Bush onto the defensive.

During their third and final debate Bush commented: "I'm the master of low expectations".
Gore replied: "Um, you certainly are, Governor".

On election night though, Bush managed slim, but conclusive victories in both the Electoral College and the popular vote. He was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2005.

For the first seven months of his presidency, Bush enjoyed relatively high approval rating. The economy had begun to rebound after the recession of the Gore years, the Gore tax increases were rolled back, and diplomatic relations with Pakistan were restored. Then on August 29th, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, causing horrific loss of life, and dislocation of millions of people. Property damage alone was in the billions of dollars. Yet while the New Orleans was under water, Bush was in Arizona to celebrate the birthday of his Vice President, John McCain.

"Happy Birthday, John," said Bush. "Wow, you are old?"

It would be several more days before Bush would realize the full significance of the storm. He visited the devastated area on September 2nd and made the following statement:

"We've got a lot of rebuilding to do, um. First, um, we're going to save lives and stab-il-it-ize the situation. And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now - um, that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house - um, he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be, um, a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch".

The federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, would go on to shape the remainder of the Bush Administration; nothing really right after that. Congress rejected his plans for Social Security reform, the economy went back into recession, and his doctor told him he could no longer run on his treadmill. Even a near war with Iraq, diverted at the last minute by the death of Saddam Hussein from a presumed heart attack, failed to revitalize Bush's sagging poll numbers. By late 2007, it seemed likely that Bush would lose reelection in a landslide to the presumed Democratic nominee, former President Al Gore; but then Gore decided not to run.

Bush breathed a sigh of relief, but still had to fend off primary challenge from his own Vice President, John McCain. Although it would have been better if Bush had lost the nomination to McCain; for in the general election he was routed by the junior Senator from Illinois. Barack Obama won 534 election votes, and Bush won only 34. Historians would go on to rate Obama as one of America greatest Presidents.

After leaving the Presidency in 2009, Bush just faded away, rarely leaving his ranch in Midland, Texas. He was last seen publicly eight years ago, at the state funeral of his great revival, former President Al Gore.

Shortly after the announcement of Bush's death, President Malia Obama Kennedy made the following statement:

"It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of former President George W. Bush. He was .". She paused. "He was.". She paused again. "He was a good husband, a good father, and .". She paused for a third time. "And a good man".

© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.