In 2013, on the day at the inauguration of Romney-Biden, both office holders pledged to work together to build the bipartisan support necessary to stop America going over the "Fiscal Cliff". An article from the Deadlocked 2012 Election thread.
Deadlocked Election prevents America going over Fiscal CliffIn a deadlocked election, both Presidential candidates Obama and Romney had won 269 of the 538 electoral votes divided between the states. This result had thrown the outcome of the presidential race into the House of Representatives, which must name the president in the case of a tie. A Romney victory was assured because Republicans had kept control of the House in the election. But the vice presidency was decided in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats maintained their majority and therefore Biden was selected after he caste the deciding vote for himself.
Ironically given Romney's pledge to work across the aisles as he had as Governor of Massachussets, this unique opportunity to solve the Federal Debt Crisis raised a fresh challenge, for each side to accept that dirty word - compromise. During the summer of 2011, outgoing President Obama had appeared tantalisingly close to gaining agreement on a Grand Bargain with Speaker of the House John Boehner. However the agreement had foundered in acrimony with Boehner disparaging business with the Obama White House to "[dealing with] a bowl of Jello". But of course ultimately what was required was for both sides to abandon orthodoxy and accept a trade: cuts in benefits (Medicare,Medicaid, Social security etc.) and domestic spending for tax increases (more revenue, not dancing games on nominal tax rates) and defense cuts. And the real issue, was that each side had wanted the other to feel the pain. The moment of truth had now arrived; sick of a divided (and perhaps dysfunctional) government, the American voting system had delivered an outcome that MIGHT force each side to commit to work together toward a negotiated solution.
In 2013, on the day Paul Davis Ryan was sworn in as the seventy-sixth US Secretary of the Treasury. An article from the Deadlocked 2012 Election thread.
Deadlocked Election prevents America going over Fiscal Cliff 2In this prestigious appointment he would be certain to play a leading role in the negotiation of a bipartisan agreement to prevent American heading over the "Fiscal Cliff". But of course the real prize he had sought during the campaign was the Vice Presidency. However the outcome of the deadlock election had pushed THAT appointment into U.S. Senate, where Democrats had maintained their majority and therefore the incumbent (Joe Biden) was selected after he caste the deciding vote for himself.
During the campaign, both men had clashed on policy and also gone head-to-head during the VP Debate when Biden had laughed dismissively for almost the entire session. Indeed the thorny issue of his future working relationship with VP Biden had been repeatedly raised at the Senatorial Confirmation hearings. And already, there were murmerings that come the mid-terms, President Romney would fire Biden and elevate Ryan to his rightful place in the White House.
In 2013, on this day of high drama, Government workers were sent home by the forty-fifth US President Willard ("Mitt") Romney. An article from the Deadlocked 2012 Election thread.
Deadlocked Election prevents America going over Fiscal Cliff 3Contrary to emotionally charged (indeed, factually incorrect) headlines such as "Romney to City - Drop Dead!" and "Let Washington go bankrupt!" the Federal Shutdown was in fact a carefully considered scenario that had been extensively "war-gamed" by Romney aides even before the deadlocked election.
The inauguration of Romney-Biden, and subsequent appointment of Paul Ryan as US Secretary of the Treasury had raised a glimmer of hope that a bipartisan agreement might possibly be reached. But instead, Congress had totally gridlocked, and with the Federal Government headed for shutdown, Romney had played the call he had been holding to his chest all long by calling their bluff and sending workers home.
Too late, Congressional Leaders had buckled, but the problem was they could not assemble in the capital to reach a new agreement with the Romney White House because the whole of Washington was locked after the employees have been sent home.
In 2010, on this day at the XXI Olympic Winter Games, Vice President Joe Biden and his future boss Governor Mitt Romney watched the women's ice hockey preliminary game between United States and China at the UBC Thunderbird Arena in Vancouver, Canada.
An article from the Deadlocked 2012 Election thread.
Deadlocked Election prevents America going over Fiscal Cliff Part 4Because within three years, a historic tie in the 2012 General Election would see Romney elected president and Joe Biden re-elected vice-president. Under the US constitution, if the electoral college ends in a tie the election is sent to the House of Representatives. And as this was currently Republican-controlled, Romney was chosen. But under the same clause, the Democrat-led Senate had chosen the incumbent vice-president - Joe Biden. And Paul Ryan was forced to accept the consolation prize of Secretary of the Treasury.
However when it became clear that a bipartisan deal had failed to materialize, Biden became tempted to undermine Romney at every turn.  By the mid-terms, there was even speculation that Ryan would replace Biden, although the US Constitution holds no provision for such a succession.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.