I know for some of you it’s a nightmare, but here’s the way it plays out:

  1. The President leaves office January 20, 2001. History winds up rating his performance higher than many expect. Peace, prosperity, a balanced budget, an emphasis on inclusion and education, a vision for the future — not a bad eight years! (The fact that he lost some money decades ago in a real estate tax shelter called Whitewater turned out not to be tremendously relevant to most Americans’ lives after all.)
  1. He plays a year of golf and then, too restless for the Supreme Court, becomes junior senator from Arkansas — and through his intellect, energy, people skills and standing, essentially winds up running the Legislative Branch. Not literally running it, of course, but then when did a president entirely run the Executive Branch either? I’m told that in any large organization, the CEO has to lead more than dictate.
  1. Then, around age 72, finally tiring of the endless hubbub, he is appointed Chief Justice by President Gore, so he gets to head the third branch of government as well — the ultimate hat trick.

Now, you’re thinking, Whoa! Unless they repeal the two-term amendment to the Constitution, how could President Gore appoint him Chief Justice in 2018?

The answer is — and this surprised me as much as anybody — Al Gore, in some last minute convention maneuvering, actually agrees in 2000 to be Bill Bradley’s running mate.

“After all,” Bradley tells him, “you’ve been the most productive and effective vice president in American history. And after 16 years in the post, you’ll be irresistible. Anyway, the country needs you.”

“Vice President — again?” Gore moans. But, patriot that he is, he signs on, does another great job, and then, finally (after a four-year hiatus when Newt briefly captures the White House), becomes president himself and appoints Bill Clinton Chief Justice. (Bradley, meanwhile, goes on to coach the Knicks.)

No, wait. That’s not right. Who’s kidding whom? It’s Gore/Bradley, not Bradley/Gore. The reason President Gore gets to appoint Bill Clinton Chief Justice in 2018 can be explained in a single word:




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