Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Four More for Whitmore?

Doug: In Monday's post, Tony referenced an article at, which states that Thomas Whitmore would never get re-elected because his pro-nuking Houston platform. I'm not convinced. Far be it from me to argue the finer points of a fictional universe — wait, that's all I do.

Tony: Seriously, Mr. "Let Me Tell You All the Inconsistencies within the Back to the Future Movies."

Doug: God, don't get me started. Like how Doc Brown took Marty and Jennifer to 2015 to help keep Marty Jr. from committing a robbery, thereby keeping the McFly Family heading on a downward spiral. Yet he didn't even warn Marty that he was less than an hour away from being involved in a car crash that would cause him to break his hand and thereby kill any musical aspirations he had. Wouldn't that be the starting point of the downward spiral. It would lead to Marty and Jennifer sleepwalking their lives in a crappy neighborhood. If Marty and Jennifer had a better life, then Marty Jr. wouldn't feel the need to commit the robbery to try to improve his family's station in life.
No one will notice a flying DeLorean on a suburban street on a Saturday morning.
Doc could have just told Marty not to take part in a drag race about to occur, thereby avoiding having to show Marty and Jennifer their future and thereby breaking his rule that people shouldn't know too much about their future.

Tony: *ahem*

Doug: Oh. What was I saying?

Tony: Whitmore? Re-election?

Doug: Oh right. I'd have to disagree with the article. Dropping the bomb on U.S. soil or not, Whitmore would have to screw up pretty badly to lose re-election. I wouldn't normally say that for someone who orders a nuclear strike on our own cities. If Obama were to nuke Houston today, he could probably not count on re-election.
However, the person or people behind creating this poster wouldn't be surprised.
However, Whitmore was trying to destroy an alien craft hovering over the city. No, the plan didn't work and Houston was destroyed. What this article posits is that if Whitmore sat tight and waited for a drunken crop duster to accidentally figure out how to destroy these crafts ONLY AFTER a fighter pilot and a cable technician flew an alien craft to the mothership and uploaded a virus to its computer system, Whitmore wouldn't have had to order a strike on Houston.

That's a pretty big if. Also, what do you suppose these alien crafts were doing in Houston to begin with? If past experience is any indication, they weren't just passing through. If Whitmore sat back and did nothing, Houston was going to be destroyed anyway.

Though, I imagine any of Whitmore's opponents would still harp on the Houston decision. I suppose we can't really blame them, either. On paper, without thinking of the context of such actions, it sounds horrible. Yeah, and filling Houston with radiation was probably not good. Maybe Whitmore would have to make do without Texas' electoral votes.
If Whitmore is a Democrat, he probably wasn't expecting Texas anyway.
But bombing an Ohio city would probably be a bad political move.
But think of the good that he did during that whole mess. He, personally, took part in the destruction of an alien craft. That's got to win him some votes.

Who would run against him, anyway? It's not like there was anyone in Congress with any better ideas. No governor stepped up with a clear solution to defeating the invasion. The only person in Whitmore's Cabinet who might take issue with the way Whitmore handled things would be Secretary of Defense Albert Nimzicki, and he wanted to bust out the nukes sooner.
"I've been telling you to drop bombs on U.S. soil for years, Mr. President."
Tony: History shows that there's always some asshole out there who thinks they can do a better job, even if that incumbent is, say, FDR during World War II. So, who would run in the post-Independence Day America? Well, part of the answer depends on who you think would survive the alien invasion. While Washington D.C. was destroyed in the initial assault, that probably didn't do as much to take out Congress as you might think. Remember, this was around the Fourth of July, and if there's one truth about Congress, it's that Congress will seize any excuse it can to take some time off.
Oh sure, the old "giant fireball has consumed the U.S. Capitol" excuse again.
So, Congress was probably in recess, meaning its members were back in their home districts. Not all of those home districts survived, obviously, but most of the destruction took place in America's cities, leaving all those congresspeople from the 'burbs and agricultural districts, which usually house some powerful figures (Tom Daschle, for example).

Thus, once all the dust clears, you can bet all these congressmen (to hell with the gender-neutral pronoun, it'd be men) would come popping out of their holes, and they'd run platforms along the lines of "Look, I know Whitmore had a good run against the alien invaders. But those alien invaders aren't around any more! I think it's time for new leadership in New Washington D.C.!"

Doug: Well sure, I suppose someone would run against him. Every Abraham Lincoln has a George McClellan. And they get obliterated in the election. Think about FDR. He not only had Republicans against him, but he also had Democrats who didn't believe anyone should be president longer than three terms. But it didn't matter, because FDR easily won his elections.
If people think of Thomas Dewey, they think of this and not how he got his ass handed to him by FDR in 1944.
Under normal circumstances, no one is going to be able to give Whitmore that much of a challenge. Now, imagine a significant amount of the would-be talent is now dead. No one is left.

Tony: I dunno. The thing is: I wonder if we've lost our ability to fall in love with politicians, any more.  Not to get all socio-philisophical on you, or anything, but we tend to give politicians a super-short leash these days, and it seems like the "bump" that presidents give for their victories lasts all of two seconds. So the question we have to ask is, how long would it be before Whitmore ran again? The movie came out in 1996, which was obviously an election year (unless the Independance Day universe is like the West Wing universe, and elections are held in our midterm years for reasons no one ever mentions). You have to wonder: if the film was intended to be set in 1996, would Whitmore's America even be capable of holding elections five months after the film?

If there's too long of a gap between ID4 and the election, Whitmore's chances start to fade. This is the "Bush in '92" scenario, again: everyone loved him after the Gulf, but the economy tanked, and then he was vulnerable. If Whitmore can't point to significant progress post-invasion when the election rolls around, voters might take their frustrations out on him, heroics be damned.

Doug: Yeah, we don't know what year this takes place. All we know is that Whitmore has been in office long enough for the honeymoon period to be over, but it's not an election year, because that would have been mentioned four months before November. I would even go so far as to guess that it wasn't time for midterm elections, as that didn't get any mention either, putting this at 1995 (or the year before an election year).

Of course, part of that theory is based on the idea that a Hollywood blockbuster movie full of explosions would spend a considerable time discussing the political implications of said explosions.
"What do you suppose this means for the European Union?"
— No one watching Armageddon
If Operation Desert Storm had been 16 months later, it would have been a smooth election for Bush. The stakes for Whitmore are much higher though. Bush helped get the dictator of a nation the size of California out of a neighboring nation the size of New Jersey over 6,000 miles away. Whitmore helped save mankind.
"Mankind. That word should have new meaning for all of us today ..."
Which brings me to the point that Whitmore has been known to whip up an inspirational speech or two. There was the one before the last dogfight before he suited up. Then there are the ones we don't know about, like the one that said, "Hey, I know I'm insanely young, but you should elect me anyway."

His speeches worked before. I don't know why it wouldn't work again.

The Chief: Well, regardless of whether or not you believe Whitmore could get re-elected, the main question this week is, "could he beat Thomas Jefferson in a fight?" Whitmore vs. Jefferson rages on, so be sure to be a part of the action: vote, comment and spread the word!

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