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|President Charles Malcolm Edwards|
|43rd President of the United States|
January 20, 2001 - January 20, 2009
|Vice President:||John McCain (2001-2003)|
Wesley Clark (2004-2009)
|Preceded by:||Bill Clinton|
|Succeeded by:||Barack Obama|
|Mayor of Seattle|
January 3, 1995 - November 16, 2000
|Deputy Mayor:||Greg Nickels|
|Preceded by:||Norm Rice|
|Succeded by:||Greg Nickels|
|Adopted:||January 15th, 1964 (age 45)|
Madison River, Dakota
|Alma mater:||UC Berkley|
|Occupation:||Aerospace Engineer, Writer|
Charles Malcolm Edwards, adopted January 15th, 1964, served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He was the 50th Mayor of Seattle from 1995 to 2000 before being sworn in as President on January 20, 2001.
Edwards is the adopted son of Forest and Lisa Edwards, two African American Seattlites that raised Edwards as their own after discovering as an infant. After graduating from UC Berkley, Edwards founded his own Aerospace Firm, Seattle Dynamics. He never married, and went on to design and build the first practical pulse detonation jet engine, before defeating Norm Rice to become Mayor of Seattle in 1994. In a close three way election, Edwards was elected President in 2000 as the first Independent candidate to do so, receiving a plurality of the electoral votes, and popular vote.
Eight months into Edwards's first term as President, the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks occurred, and Edwards announced a global War on Terrorism, ordered an successful operation to kill the Al Qaeda leaders, and gained a declaration of war and invasion of Afghanistan that same year. In addition to national security issues, President Edwards promoted policies on the economy, health care, education and space-flight. He signed into law the Right Track education reform bill, the Universal Healthcare Act and the American Energy Independence Act. His tenure saw a national debate on immigration and the duty of the government to uphold civil liberties, as reinforced by NeoConGate and the Columbia trials.
Edwards successfully ran for re-election against Democratic Senator John Kerry and former Vice President McCain in 2004, garnering well over 60% of the popular vote to his opponents. After his re-election, Edwards received praise for his staunch defense of civil liberties while maintaining US security. In 2005, the Edwards administration received enormous praise over its handling of Hurricane Katrina, and the subsequent New Orleans Protocols. In 2006 the US successfully captured an Asteroid and began to extract its minerals. In December 2007, the United States entered the largest economic boom in its history and the Edwards administration took more direct control of the economy, enacting multiple economic stimulus packages, and infrastructure projects. In 2008 Edwards signed the Treaty of America, expending the US over the whole of the North American continent. Edwards was a popular president for much of his first term, and while his popularity declined during NeoConGate, it rebounded during the end of his second term to a record high. He holds the record for the highest ever approval ratings ever of an American President and is widely considered to be the greatest President in U.S. history.
Childhood to Midlife
Charles Malcolm Edwards was discovered lost in Mt. Rainier National Park in the fall of 1963 by Seattle couple, Lisa and Forest Edwards. While the complete details of his birth are shrouded in mystery, it is estimated that Charles was only a year old when he was discovered, though where he was born has been the subject of great debate, which was enough to nearly disqualify him from running for president. Within his first year as the Edwards' child, young Charles displayed a very high aptitude for any field he attempted, and by grade six, Edwards had already written his first publication.
President Edwards is one of the few Presidents in US history to have lived the first half of his life almost impoverished, and he is the only President to have been raised with parents of a different ethnicity than himself. His adoptive parents were both political activists in their spare time, and had taken young Charles to the March on Washington. This humble upbringing gave Edwards a sense of principle and empathy that few Presidents can attest to having. This sense of principle, ironically enough, was what drove Edwards away from religion, and ultimately ideological association. Edwards was raised under one of Seattle's all black churches, and as he grew he and the church's pastor would have increasingly heated debates on almost any theological or philosophical subject. Ultimately Edwards could no longer bring himself to go to what he saw as a corrupt institution of undeserving authority. This philosophy ultimately defined Edwards as the Independent, and moved him towards being completely unapologetic about what he believed. This philosophy also alienated Edwards from the Far Right of his country, particularly for, what some have called, his deviant sex life. As Mayor and then President, Edwards was known to be dating at least one new woman per month, and often times not even dating. Though only one of his books is widely remembered about, Edwards was also the author of some of the most controversial books on philosophy, theology, and politics. His first novel, The Misconception of God, is widely attributed to his failure to secure the Christian Right for its questions on the premise of morality, the corruption of the religious establishment, and worst yet, the real story behind the major prophets of most religions. His second novel, "Democracy: An Examination" brought to light the blatant disregard of the Constitution by some of the most notable Presidents and Congressmen.
By grade seven, young Charles has already won the national science fair for his study of Vertical Take Off and Landing. His project is such a success that it attracts the attention of the University of Berkley. While only 13, Edwards is quickly achieves a status as Berkley's top student. In 1978 Edwards experiences tragedy when his mother dies of untreated ovarian cancer. While only a teenager, Edwards discovers that his mother had been wrongfully denied coverage from their insurer, and that both he and his father were labeled as liabilities, and would likely be denied if they ever required serious treatment. With this knowledge in mind Edwards vowed to remedy the injustices that the powers that be had done to his family and all Americans. The next day young Charles changed his major to Political Science, but maintained a Propulsion Engineering minor.
Charles Malcolm Edwards personal life has been described kindly as that of a rock star, and damningly as that of a social deviant. Edwards has professed only having considered entering into marrige once, however that relationship fell apart when Edwards decided to run for President. Since entering the office, Edwards has been critisized for how quickly he goes through a relationship, often dating one woman for only as long as one month, and often no shorter than a week, leading some to suggest that the President hired escorts while in office. Edwards and his staff had denied this repeatedly, and no claim has ever been backed up by any evidence.
President Edwards was known by many as the rock star President during his first 100 days, mainly for his love of classic rock music and the guitar. The former president has admitted that he owns three Les Pauls, two Strats, two Hollow bodies, and a number of acoustics. President Edwards was known during his presidency for playing during white house dinners, and on the campaign trail as well. One of the most famous of these events was during the 2000 presidential run that the President was invited to play with AC/DC after a speech during a get out the vote rally.
In 1988 Edwards founded Seattle Dynamics with investments from Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. Edwards made his first financial success here when won a contract from the US military to develop advanced hypersonic missiles. The company achieved national prominence when Edwards unveils the world’s first pulse detonation jet engine. The new aircraft propulsion system quickly wins numerous military and private contracts for advanced aircraft, most notably the F/A-22, the F-35, and the Boeing Hyperliner. With a steady stream of capital Seattle Dynamics buys Pratt & Whitney and defines itself as the chief contractor to the Air Force. Edwards made most of his personal investments during the later half of the dot com boom, which many credit to his strong relations with Silicon Valley and California as a whole. In 1998 Edwards met with Sergey Brin at Wired Nexfest, and after listening to his ideas about his newly designed search engine with partner Larry Page, Edwards invested some $15 million of his own money into the company’s development. He would later invest some $8 million after meeting Jimmy Wales in 1999 to create his website, Wikipedia. President Edwards redirected his entire salary and his funds from his investments to the Seattle Treasury upon becoming Mayor, and redirected them again to the US Treasury upon becoming President.
Mayor of Seattle
In 1994, Edwards ran for mayor of Seattle against popular incumbent Norm Rice. Edwards ran on a platform of large-scale economic development of the city, claiming that Norm Rice did not know how to take advantage of the Dot Com Boom, and would only hold the city back. Edwards narrowly won with 50.3% of the vote. As Mayor Edwards pushed for the Emerald City Program, a massive infusion of public funds, tax cuts, and new zoning laws to spark an economic boom in the city. As mayor he acted on a “City State” principle, and sparked state wide, and even regional changes in policy though his successes in Seattle. Seattle became the first major city in America to pass Single Payer Healthcare, and acted as a test bed for Right Track. He eliminated garbage within the city with an investment in the first Plasma Gasification Plants, and the first single storage recycling systems. When re-elected in 1998, Edwards won with 75% of the vote. By the end of his tenure as mayor, Edwards’s policies had become state policies on the West Coast, as well as other major cities in the US.
2000 Presidential campaign
After being increasingly disappointed in the candidates for the 2000 election, and rising calls from many people in his own state, Edwards announced his candidacy for President shortly after Texas Gov. George W. Bush. Running as an independent he pledged to be a bridge between party lines by looking beyond partisan policies and focusing more on logical conclusions to complicated problems. Utilizing his ties to California and the Pacific North West, along with his limitless budget, and exploitation of the Internet, Edwards quickly amassed support along the West Coast with his socially liberal, while fiscally conservative rhetoric. There was a snag because no-one knew where he was born, and there were some saying he could be disqualified from running for office. By June when the party's were still planning their respective conventions, Edwards was drawing support from popular Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, and taking the lead in the polls along the Rust Belt, and even in the Midwest. By August the first debate of the election quickly went in Edwards' favor when he stopped the debate to scold then Vice President Al Gore Jr. for disrespecting Gov. Bush during his oratory. Edwards' established himself as calm under pressure, and well mannered to even his opponents. What defined his campaign was his personal understanding of the failures of the health care system, and his record with fiscal responsibility in and out of government. He promises to provide Universal Healthcare by the end of his first term, provide a massive overhaul of the education system, and decrease military spending by increasing fiscal accountability. In September he announces popular Senator John McCain as his running mate, and begins to cement his lead in certain red states. While no clear majority is established, Edwards wins a 40% plurality, and is sworn in as the 43rd President of the United States of America on January 2001. President Edwards is the only President to have sworn the Oath of Office on a copy of the US Constitution instead of a bible, and did not have an opening or closing prayer. Ray Charles performed the national anthem. Inaugural Excerpt: "President Clinton, Mr. Chief Justice, My fellow Americans; we stand hear today in the throes of national unity, and the timeless ceremony that is the peaceful transition of power. The times that we face in this new millennia dictate an address to our challenges in a level of candor and honesty that is impelled upon all civil servants, and I hope to uphold and expand that honor to all those who remember it, and two those that have forgotten that duty. This is unquestionably the time to speak the truth openly and boldly, lest we continue to ignore the challenges of our day. Some of our challenges are said to be impossible to overcome...Impossible... Let me profess unto you, America, that the only impossibility in this world is the what we accept as impossible."
2004 Presidential campaign
With McCain now humiliated by his former boss, he takes revenge the only way he can, by turning the Republican Party against the President, and announcing his candidacy for President. The Democrats, bloodied and unable to convince Gore of leaving the EPA, nominate John Kerry as a throw away candidate. Edwards meets with Party Chairman Howard Dean and discusses his frustration with the conservatives. He asks Dean, if the party would be overtly against having Defense Secretary Wesley Clark Promoted to Vice President, since Colin Powell has absolutely no interest in the job. Dean falls in love with the idea, and the party consolidates its efforts more behind a Clark VP slot than a Kerry Presidency. With Democrats and Republicans split on their support of the President, Edwards rallies a very untapped resource, Libertarians and Independents. Agreeing to speak for many fresh faces for the two new political entities, Edwards’s campaigns not only for himself, but also for many Republicans and Democrats who have joined the new Party, and anti-Party. Now without a Defense Secretary, Edwards drafts Ret. General Anthony Zinni, gaining further support from the fractured Democrats. By November Independents have robbed Republicans and Democrats of most of their moderate members, and Libertarians raiding the fiscal conservatives. By election night, John Kerry does not win a single state, and McCain is left to return to Arizona in shame.
Edwards believed in a Government that would, “expand so that it may shrink.” This was a policy that he carried all the way through his days as mayor of Seattle. Edwards applied this theory in the Universal Healthcare Act of 2002, and Right Track in 2001. Most historians agree that the greatest example of Edwards domestic policy were the Civilization Acts. These pieces of legislation were the largest expansion of government in US history, but also gave Americans a greater level of independence from not just their government, but corporations as well. The American Energy Independence Act of 2006, for example, directed trillions to the further development of renewable energy technologies, while putting forth a policy that any citizen who buys a vehicle that runs on renewable energy will be given a $20,000 subsidies to retrofit their home to power their vehicle. Edwards also is considered the most socially liberal president in history. Edwards was the only president to end the policy of a drug war; and the first president to actively peruse the legalization of marijuana towards the end of his administration
President Edwards centered his foreign policy on the goal of building greater international cooperation, while beginning a global drawdown of US troops to encourage greater stability in the regions that they leave. During his presidency the US had engaged directly in two wars, the Afghan War, and the Indo-Pakistan War, and nearly conducted a full-scale invasion of Iraq. In 2003, in response to the discovery of the use of VX nerve gas by the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the Kurdish Genocide, President Edwards proposed the creation of a United Nations Multinational Force to act as the main arbiter against international terrorist cells. President Edwards involvement and with the UN was based largely around his commitment to achieve the UN Millennium Goals, and that international unity was the key to a peaceful future for humanity.
The three greatest diplomatic achievements of the Edwards administration are widely considered to be the creation of the UN Multinational Force, the Northern Defense Coalition, and the coordination with Iran, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordon, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia to create a Palestinian State with the aide of former Presidents Carter and Clinton.
The Edwards Doctrine
President Edwards is widely credited to be one of the more ingenious architects of US foreign policy; and the basic format used by the US during the Afghanistan war has become the hallmark for warfare in middle eastern countries. Known simply as the Edwards Doctrine, the policy operates off of the premise that retaliatory war must not only address present national security threats but also move towards resolving what caused those threats to begin with. This is solved by the creation of agriculture and infrastructure; commerce and essential services; and finally a legitimate government based on basic human rights albeit considerate of local religious beliefs.
Supreme Court Nominees
- Ronald M. Gould– 2004, replacing Antonin Scalia who was removed from office during the NeoConGate scandal.
- Hillary Clinton– 2005 replacing John Paul Stevens who became Chief Justice.
- Sonia Sotomayor-2006 replacing Sandra Day O'Connar who was retiring.
President Edwards was faced with three Supreme Court vacancies after NeoConGate in 2004, and an additional appointment following the retirement of Justice Sandra’ Day O’Conner in 2006. The first string of appointments occurred directly on an election year, giving Edwards leverage over a Senate Judiciary Committee that had already lost several of its members during NeoConGate. To replaces Justice Scalia, Edwards nominated Appeals Court Judge Ronald M. Gould who was quickly confirmed. To replace Chief Justice Rehnquist who died during NeoConGate, leaving Justice John Paul Stevens as acting Chief Justice, Edwards made the safest decision and simply asked Stevens to stay on as Chief Justice; his confirmation was also quickly accepted. To replace Stevens, Edwards was left with a difficult choice, he had already been informed by the largely liberal Judiciary committee that it would be very unlikely that a conservative would be confirmed, but needed another dominating figure to balance the court in some way. Edwards nominated then Secretary of Health and Human Services Hillary Rodham Clinton to replace Stevens. She was confirmed easily, but left a bad taste in the mouths of the country’s moderates and conservatives. When Justice Sandra Day O’Connor retired in 2006 for personal reasons, Edwards lost his first two nominations with extreme frustration, but managed to gain the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. Edward's picks moved the court to the left for the first time in years, and was the first president to nominate two women for the Supreme Court.
|The Edwards Cabinet|
|President||Charles Malcolm Edwards||2001–2009|
|Vice President||John McCain||2001–2003|
|Secretary of State||Colin Powell||2001–2009|
|Secretary of Treasury||Ron Paul||2001–2007|
|Timothy Geithner (acting)||2007–2009|
|Secretary of Defense||Wesley Clark||2001–2004|
|Attorney General||John Ashcroft||2001–2003|
|Secretary of the Interior||Al Gore||2001–2009|
|Secretary of Agriculture||Tom Vilsack||2001–2009|
|Secretary of Commerce||Ralph Nader||2001–2009|
|Secretary of Labor||Elaine L. Chao||2001–2009|
|Secretary of Health and|
|Secretary of Education||Chris Dodd||2001–2009|
|Secretary of Housing and|
|Secretary of Transportation||Ray LaHood||2001–2009|
|Secretary of Energy||Jeff Immelt||2001–2009|
|Secretary of Veterans Affairs||Chuck Hagel||2001–2009|
|Secretary of Homeland Security||Donald Rumsfeld||2001–2004 (Agency Disbanded)|
|Chief of Staff||Karl Rove||2001–2003|
The Edwards cabinet was largely comprised of members of both Democrat and Republican parties as the main provision of the 2000 Compromise for most of Edwards's first term leading right up to NeoConGate. Following the investigation of all parties involved with the conspiracy, President Edwards was left with several major vacencies to fill, the first being his Vice President. Due to the Judiciary Committee being overrun with impeachment hearings of NeoConGate conspirators, many of the President's nominations did not receive any attention until several months after the Start of NeoConGate. Edwards was able to quickly bypass the Judiciary Committee for a VP slot by simply declaring Defense Secretary Clark as his Running Mate, and by definition not subject to a nomination hearing.
Public Image and Perception
President Edwards entered office with only a 53% approval rating among public opinion polling. He was seen by many as an outsider who won by divide and conquer, and was seen as a soft spoken radical by some. Even with this view by much of the country Edwards did have a good connection among minorities for his life as the adoptive child of two black parents during the 1960s. Edwards also held a good connection with intellectuals, mainly for having been a scientist and engineer for the first half of his life and applying those philosophies of objectivity and consensus building to his style of government. Lastly Edwards always had a grip on the youth vote. During both of his presidential campaigns, Edwards was seen to be very in touch with the problems of Americas youth, partly because of how young he was to begin with, but mostly for his style of presentation; Edwards was famous for appearing on Jay Leno with the band first usually turning one of the Tonight Show's upbeat openings into a hard rock or blues jam session. Aside from Leno, Maher, and Carlin; Edwards had almost no support from Hollywood, and was chastised frequently by both sides of the media spectrum as being either too liberal, or too conservative.
The inclusion of party favorites into his cabinet and their quick confirmation netted President Edwards a 59% approval rating, but no one outside of his base saw him as anything more that a mediocre president, even after the passage of Right Track. Edwards did not achieve national approval until the 9/11 WTC Attacks. Following his display of leadership by immediately going to ground zero to help with relief efforts, and his decisive response to Al Qaeda, President Edwards soared to a 90% approval rating in the Gallup poll, and was seen as a great leader by the majority of the country. After 9/11, Edwards continued to hold high approval ratings, bolstering support for most of his proposals, most notably the Universal Healthcare Act, and the American Energy Security Act of 2002. Edwards was seen as a smart leader, and cemented this perception with his smooth handling of the Afghan War. Edwards was not truly perceived by the public as the Independent, until after NeoConGate. During the investigation, Edwards was seen as a champion of civil liberty and government accountability. And following the investigation where he begin to bring in much more liberal members into his cabinet, ignoring any partisan ties, President Edwards earned the nickname: the Independent.
By the end of his presidency, President Edwards was holding a steady 71% in public approval ratings, losing favor only with the Christian and far right. Today, 67% of Americans polled have stated that they believe President Edwards was the greatest president in US history, and 75% polled believe he was the most successful president. Many also credit President Edwards for instilling a greater sense of responsibility in the general public, and creating a greater appreciation and protectionism of Constitutional liberties.
2001: Edwards immediately sets off to work on his "Right Track" education reform Bill, and his Universal Healthcare Bill. After he finishes off the first draft, he meets with his newly appointed Cabinet to begin drafting the new budget. He waves the secret service to lock the doors and to not let anyone out until the budget is finished. Edwards immediately sets off to trim as much waste from the budget as possible, and in the course fourteen hours some thirty billion dollars are removed as government waste. In his first State of the Union Address, Edwards states that the State of the Union is mediocre. He is the only president to say as such. He goes on to say that, "in the richest, most powerful country in human history, a country founded on the dream that everyone is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the government which is established to insure the protection of those rights has done only a marginally good job in recent history." He immediately puts forth his Universal Healthcare, Education Reform, and the budget for FY 2001. He closes with, "With these proposals our government can make the two crucial steps to ensure the pursuit of happiness for every American." He leaves with applause on both sides of the isle. By March "Right Track" has passed. Utilizing the surplus from the Clinton years, Edwards pumps billions into the education system to increase tracking to give students early opportunity to develop their skills and pursue the subjects that most interest them at thousands of new charter schools. The plan also provides for higher pay for teachers in exchange for more accountability. The only controversial section of the plan is the provision for year round school, with staggered three week vacations during major holidays and the height of summer. The Universal Healthcare Act, however, has only just gotten out of committee by August facing scrutiny from paranoid conservatives fearing a welfare state. The act is nearly identical to Barack Obama's plan in OTL but has the coverage plan outlined in Toll’s HR 676
Response to 9/11
A month before the attacks had happened, the FBI had discovered that the terrorist organization, al Qaeda may be planning an attack on the United States in a possible hijacking plot. Following this information, the president ordered US air national guard forces and the FAA to a heightened state of readiness in the event of an attack, and asked the FBI to step up their investigation. While sitting in at a Kindergarten Photo Op, President Edwards was informed by one of his aides that a plane had just hit one of the Twin Towers. Edwards immediately stood up and excused himself from the Photo Op stating that if the children have parents who work in New York, they should call them immediately. He rushes out of the room and orders the FAA to ground all flights, scramble all fighters to shoot down any aircraft that fail to comply, and that the Joint Chiefs to meet with him immediately. Once Marine 1 arrives in Washington, Edwards runs past security into the War Room. The Chiefs inform him that they have very little evidence since the attack is still going on, and all they have is a list of possible agencies that had the capabilities to launch an attack on this scale. The President exits the room and orders that every shift be called in at the CIA, NSA, and FBI to find which agency caused the attack. A second plane bound for Washington DC is shot down by the Air force, and a third plane is brought down over Pennsylvania by its own passengers; what was to be a second attempt to hit the WTC is stopped when the FBI intercepts plotters before they can reach their plane. While only one tower was directly hit, the fire spreads and the second WTC tower falls several hours after the first, though loss of life in the second tower was not as significant as the first. Edwards leaves for Marine 1 and orders that he be taken to Ground Zero. Upon his arrival he gives a speech stating that every agency is trying to find the guilty party, and that he urges anyone who can to come and help with finding those still trapped in the rubble. Edwards takes off his jacket and walks to help find survivors. By the time it is confirmed that Al Qaeda conducted the attack, the President is found puling a slab of concrete up to help a woman trapped under the rubble get free. When informed of the attackers he leaves the sight and asks for a meeting with Defense Secretary Clark. After the secret meeting the President is not heard from for days, and many begin to question his leadership. One week after the attack the President holds a press conference and states that the attackers have been dealt with, upon which he informs the world of the secret plan conducted by US Delta Force operatives over the week. After parachuting over Afghanistan airspace the squad made their way into the mountains just outside of Kabul where their Intel had stated the leaders of Al Qaeda would be hiding within the old bunkers form the war with the Soviet Union. After entering the bunker the soldiers bound and questioned Bin Laden and his followers for several hours until all usable information had be drained. After the interrogation, the agents followed their final order from the president. Edwards then released the video from the bunker; it shows a bloodied Bin Laden and his cohorts surrounded by twelve Delta Force members. Each holds a knife and each proceeds to slowly and methodically torture and eventually kill the terrorists. The images are so gruesome that some reporters run out of the conference to vomit. The president states that this video will be aired uncensored on international television and across the Internet as, "A warning to all who believe that they can attack the United States and get away with it." Edwards announces the following day that he will be asking Congress to declare a state of war against the Al Qaeda sponsored Taliban Government, and promises that, "All other nations who sponsored this heinous act against the people of this country will suffer similar fates." The President's approval ratings rise to as high as 90% and his Universal Healthcare and Declaration of War are quickly passed.
The War in Afghanistan
US Marines invade Afghanistan on October 7th, 2001 and the Taliban government is quickly removed from power. The war goes quite smoothly with the use of the new Mobile Palisade, designed by President Edwards. A self-powered wall the Mobile Palisade is used to block off entrance to cities with several ten-foot high five-foot thick reinforced concrete, powered by its own engine and tank treads. These allow key cities like Kabul to be secured with little effort by containing the conflict and starving out militancy. They also allow for a city to be developed while the war continues. The Afghan government is reorganized into a Tribal Confederacy with the cities being the main focus of development. By 2002 the region of Pashtunistan is completely secure and cities are being built with schools, hospitals, markets, and public transportation. While some cities are abandoned this allows others to prosper as hordes of refugees seek better lives behind the walls. As the violence disappears between two cities the walls detach and link to contain a region. The United States funds billions into building a sustainable farming industry in Afghanistan, and even while the war rages on, the country's economy actually booms. By 2003 the country is completely pacified within the dense population centers. Edwards Fiscal Accountability policy has also lead to better protection for soldiers, when an investigation found certain military officials linked to bribery by body armor contractors, thusly preventing soldiers from accessing the superior scale like Mithril body armor recently produced. Edwards gives an executive order requiring the Mithril armor to be made the standard of the military. Edwards also sends extra funds to the new electrically fired weapons recently developed, and by 2003 he mandates that the new technology be used in all Military weaponry by 2008. By the End of 2005 the Confederation of Afghanistan is a Middle Eastern powerhouse. Following the success of Afghanistan, President Edwards sends the Clean Drinking Water Act to the US Congress, the bill allocates some twenty billion dollars to make clean drinking water available to the some 1 billion people around the world who do not have access to clean water.
2003: President Edwards maintains high approval ratings with the success of the Afghan War, Right Tract's early successes, and the drop of citizens without medical insurance to 5%. Utilizing this wave of support Edwards proposes increased funding for Adult Stem Cell Research, which has been showing much more promise, and is far less controversial than Embryonic Stem Cell Research. The plan passes as one of more successful bipartisan measures of the administration. By February, Vice President McCain begins suggesting a possible war with Iraq if rumors of Uranium Enrichment are true. Respecting his Vice President's council, President Edwards asks the UN to send inspectors into Iraq to investigate any potential enrichment facilities. No evidence is found of Uranium enrichment, but it is made clear that the Hussein regime did use VX Nerve gas during the Kurdish Genocide. In response to this revelation the UN Security council under US support arrest Saddam Hussein for war crimes and begin efforts to Patrician Iraq. The multilateral operation is a success and Saddam is sentenced to exile for crimes against humanity. The conflict between President and VP continues, however, as McCain pursues a more militant agenda, and begins suggesting war with Iran, North Korea, and even Saudi Arabia. Edwards, having no reason to invade countries that either had no part in the 9/11 attacks, or haven't already handed over the plotters in their country, begins to have a colder relationship with his VP. Eventually Edwards and McCain are having out and out screaming contests, and it isn't long until Edwards and McCain have their ultimate conflict.
In 2003, when NeoConGate officially began, the consensus was that one of two outcomes was bound to happen. President Edwards would resign, or claim ignorance and likely lose his re-election. No one ever suspected what did happen. The day the story broke, was the day after Edwards himself first learned about the conspiracy, fired Vice President McCain, and told the press in person of what happened. He claimed full responsibility for not realizing the conspiracy earlier, and requested Congress to begin a full investigation with impeachment hearings for all parties involved, including himself. Edwards was never removed from office, the investigation found no ties to Edwards from the Project for the New American Century, the main think-tank that originated the plan to invade Iraq to secure American interests. When the subpoenas began to fly, Edwards made sure every single member of his cabinet testified, denouncing executive privilege as unconstitutional, which the Supreme Court confirmed in a 5-4 decision when, CIA head Dick Cheney refused to answer his subpoena. Arguably the moment that defined Edward's respect for the Constitution, was the refusal of Alberto Gonzales to acknowledge his subpoena, and the President was seen dragging his Attorney General by his collar to the Senate for his hearing. The end of the affair hailed Edwards hailed as a champion for government accountability.
New Space Program
NeoConGate continues to eat up the headlines and to make matters worse, on February 1st, the Space Shuttle Columbia explodes as the result of a piece of foam debris. Edwards is recalled as being seen in a state of shock comparable to 9/11. After consoling the nation and the families of the fallen astronauts, he holds a press conference at Kennedy Space Center. It is said to be his most personal speech,
- "Thank you, please be seated. How's everybody doing today? Good? Good. Did any of you know that I originally wanted to be an astronaut? I've always been fascinated by flight, its what got me into the propulsion business, and I'd always planned on becoming one when I was in school, but... when my mom died...(sobs) Excuse me (he wipes away a tear from his eye, and exhales.) When my mom died in 79' because our insurance wouldn't cover her treatment, I swore I would never let that happen to anyone ever again, and, well here we are. When I was first informed that Columbia had exploded, I at first treated it like any other disaster, I calmly called in my staff and told them to send my condolences to the families, and to call in Chairman O'Kief for me to get a better idea of the situation, when it hit me. I had wanted to go to space since as long as I can remember, and when that ship exploded I remembered why I wanted to go to space, and how hard it was for me to abandon that dream for what I felt was required of me. I wanted to inspire the people of the Earth again, make them feel connected by a truly universal calling. I felt that if space were developed, if the resources that it had were tapped, a new golden age would be born for our children. This wasn't just a childhood fantasy, I'd seriously examined it while I was at Berkley, all too often with people much smarter than I, and had concluded that the rewards from mining the sky are far greater that its costs could ever hope to be. And my personal belief that the rewards felt by all humanity, the belief that we all share a single event, a single achievement, would unite the world in a moment of serenity. That is why I called you all here today, that is why I feel that this country needs a vision that goes beyond the confines of the atmosphere. Today I announce a new vision for man's continued exploration and development of space. Over the next ten years I plan to infuse NASA with well over half a trillion dollars in new funds, with potential expansion of the budget during a later date. These funds are to be first directed at the immediate development of a new space shuttle by a private firm, within two years. (Clamor) Please. People, please let me continue. Thank you. All of NASA's effort must go into the creation of this new vehicle. During my time at Seattle Dynamics I designed such a shuttle, and have discussed with Burt Rutan about the possibility of him building one for some time. Design is not an issue. Secondly, by 2006 I expect the new shuttle to have completed the International Space Station, in concert with our friends and partners abroad. The space shuttle shall be retired immediately, and all future flights until this new shuttle's completion shall be directed by the Russian Federation. Thirdly, upon the completion of these new shuttles, and their will be many of them, we must begin our belated return and development of the Moon, along with the other Near Earth Objects that are both a threat, and an opportunity. Finally, within a decade, we must finally make the next great leap we have been unwilling or unable to make, the manned exploration of Mars. This will require a far more versatile ship, an Interplanetary Exploration Vehicle if you will. To be designed and built for mankind's long-term march into the heavens. We can do this, we must do this, as our population continues to grow, as the Earth is stretched for resources more and more, space will become our saving grace. Our greatest folly is our complacency, our unwillingness to try what would be called impossible. But defying the impossible is what those brave souls aboard Colombia, and ever astronaut, represents.
2005:The election has left Congress with no clear majority, only a plurality of Independents by one seat in the senate, and three in the House. This results in some very confusing rules proceedings that ultimately rewrite the Rules for the House and Senate. The new Speaker of the House is now Democrat turned Independent, Nancy Pelosi. The victory of the 2004 election is relatively short lived; by August all eyes are on what is said to be the storm of the century, Hurricane Katrina. Edwards quickly consults FEMA director James Lee Witt, and orders an evacuation of New Orleans after declaring a state of emergency. When it becomes blatantly clear that the older population of the state are refusing to leave, Edwards orders the National Guard to forcibly remove the people from their homes and take them to a safe location with the other evacuees. It is a very controversial decision, which the President defends by stating; "I have no tolerance for idiots in a time of crisis." Edwards never really had high approval ratings in the south, so the comment was virtually irrelevant to his status. When the storm hits their are still thousands trapped, who either could not get out in time, or were not rescued in time. Edwards immediately recalls all troops from Afghanistan and leaves the relatively stable country to UN peacekeepers and the new Afghan Armed Forces. The troops are greeted as liberators in the devastated region, and the use of aircraft carriers to block the levees is considered one of the most ingenious acts of disaster relief ever conducted. When it is all over, New Orleans is completely devastated, but there is minimal loss of life, and President Edwards is hailed for his brilliant handling of the situation. By September he holds a press conference after consulting with climatologists. He states that after meeting with scientists from the international community, their is evidence to suggest that the Hurricane was the result of Global Climate Change (The correct term unlike OTL) caused by the natural cycle of polar warming, and made exponentially worse by human carbon emissions. He proposes amending his increase on the CAFE standards from 2002 from 35-mpg standards to 100 mpg by 2016. To ease the burden on automakers, he promises that any bill containing this increase would also include subsidies from the oil company's windfall profits tax to aid with retooling. He also proposes tax incentives for American businesses and family's that buy Green and contribute fewer emissions. The bill is met with a great deal of skepticism from both libertarians and Republicans, but the few remaining democrats and the Independent Plurality manage to coerce the bill through Congress. Edwards signs the Green America Act into law after the midterm elections drive most of the remaining Republicans and Democrats to a shell of their former glory. With an actual majority the Independents control both houses of Congress. The year ends with ten new shuttles making regular flights to the ISS, and more on the way, causing a boom in the private space flight industry.
2006:America returns to the moon at the start of the year with the new shuttle, commanded by Eileen Collins, the first female shuttle commander, and the first woman on the Moon. Construction of Tranquility Base (now Armstrong Base, the center of Tranquility City) begins immediately. To show his support for the program, Edwards trains for a mission to the ISS and flies into orbit at the end of January, where he becomes the first world leader in space. But, all of Edwards’s accomplishments are dwarfed by the events of March 7th, 2006. A team of twenty astronauts, commanded by William Oefelein, land on 433 Eros, the second largest Near Earth Asteroid. The team sets up a base and initial mineral scans yield over a hundred trillion dollars in minerals. Edwards gives an executive order to mine the asteroid immediately, claiming mineral rights for the United States. He orders several other asteroids to be claimed, and by April the US government has the largest surplus of any country in history. The economy explodes, with mineral prices falling like a stone. Gold quickly becomes nearly worthless and the dollar rises in value to what it was in the 1800s. US automobile makers immediately plan far more advanced and luxurious cars to keep up with the drop in mineral value. At a joint secession of Congress Edwards proposes a new budget and countless new bills. He increases subsidies to auto makers to retool by the end of his administration, provide free college education for all citizens, and increases funding to NASA by a trillion dollars to build the IEV. He also increases funding to develop the poorest nations on Earth by several trillion dollars, and puts forth legislation to end poverty, hunger, and unemployment in America. He also puts forth a Bill allowing any US territory to apply for statehood, which they all accept. His most popular piece of legislation is the cancellation of all taxes in the US. By the end of the year Edwards has a 93% approval rating, and the US economy is more powerful than any economy in history.
President Edwards was often likened to FDR for his great oratories and their ability to rally the nation behind his policies. While he gave countless smaller speeches throughout his administration, there were certain singular speeches that had significant after effects for the country:
- First Inaugural: President Edwards used his first inaugural to try and rally the country behind building a better America. The speech is most remembered for his famous, "the only impossibility in this world is what we accept as impossible," quote. After the speech, President Edward's approval ratings went from 41% to 54%.
- 9/11 Address: Considered by many to be the president's greatest speech, the 9/11 address in many ways defined the Edwards presidency. The 9/11 address called for the nation to sacrifice for the greater good of preserving liberty, and for the country to unite around that cause. The speech had monumental aftershocks; the President's call for sacrifice and its, "we're all in this together," approach changed the mindset of the country in many ways to that of the Second World War. People who protested the higher taxes to pay for the war and the new healthcare programs, were immediately denounced as being selfish, some went so far as to say that they were hindering America's ability to fight and not liberals as in OTL. People embraced protecting civil liberties over all else, and in many cases advancing them.
- 1st State of the Union: President Edwards' first State of the Union Address was in many ways his most substantive. It built upon the togetherness brought on after 9/11 and really pushed forward for some of the most progressive legislation of his first term. While Right Tract had passed before 9/11 and the 2001 CAFE standards had gone through on the waves of security, Edwards put forth what would have once have been the most controversial reforms imaginable in regards to Health Care and the financial sector. Edwards stated that the destruction of the WTC building intensified the Dot Com Bust, and revealed major weaknesses in the US economy. Edwards argued that to solve these problems would require major reforms to the US economy and the US health care system which he described as "disgraceful." Edwards called on Congress to begin an investigation into the quality of the American Health care system, as well as the financial sector and would offer specifics for reform once the investigations had ended. This speech in many ways got the ball rolling for all of Edwards's first term achievements.
- Vision for Space Exploration:
- Colombia Trials Speech:
- Second Inaugural:
- New Orleans Speech:
- 4th State of the Union:
- Farewell Address:
The Unification of North America
By late 2006 the United States has supplanted the economies of all other North American nations. With Latin American Nations now dependent on subsidies from the US, and Canadian businesses simply unable to compete with the US, it comes as no surprise when millions of people from every North American nation come flooding into the US. By 2007 there are over 100 million illegal immigrants in the United States, and more still flooding in on a daily basis. This is said to be the final straw that lead to the America's greatest expansion of territory.
2007: US goods are now the most popular in the world; with mineral values down to next to nothing and subsidies going to every industry to retool, the US economy supplants those of every country. There are no taxes in America, and families are given a $20,000 subsidy from the government on a yearly basis. Americans live in a level of affluence that is unmatched by any nation, so much so that by the end of the year their are calls all over North America from countries that want to join the United States. Edwards holds a meeting in Washington DC with the Organization of American States, and all those in North America have stated that popular referendum dictates that they join. Edwards puts the proposal before congress, and after weeks of heated debate, the US annexes the entire continent. The North American Union Act was solidified when Cuba overthrew Castro from power and elected to join in referendum. The Act was constructed as follows:
- All New states shall be given the same rights and freedoms as any other state.
- All New states must amend their current constitutions to comply with the US Constitution.
- The US House of Representatives will expand to 600 seats to accommodate the increase of citizens.
- All previously illegal immigrants will be pardoned and given citizenship.
- The Continental United States will become Metric Standard by 2010.
- All Military Personnel will be refitted and rearmed with the current US Arsenal.
- English must be taught in every school by 2010.
- Spanish and French must be taught as second languages.
- A new network of highways and rail lines will be built to unite the continent.
- All Identification must be replaced by 2008.
- This includes all drivers licenses, passports, medical licenses, Weapons Permits, etc.
- States will be reorganized to accommodate the US federalist system, and demographics of the area.
Final Days of Office
2008:President Edwards closes out the year with a meeting with all nuclear powers and proposes a nuclear proliferation that would decommission all ICBMs by 2010, and use them for a series of Nuclear Pulse Detonation Rockets for interstellar Probes. The provision only passes after the US agrees to pay for it. With growing pressure to announce his successor, President Edwards consults with Vice President Clark, and Secretary of State Powell. Neither one wants the job, and both would rather retire with their heads held high. The President then nominates Senator Barack Obama to succeed him as President. The independents immediately rally behind him, and only have Libertarian Candidate Ron Paul to deal with. Obama is already leading in the polls with 65% of the electorate by mid April. With Afghanistan an agrarian powerhouse in the Middle East, and the rest of the region finally warming to the West, Edwards decides to announce the end of the War on Terror when the governments friendly to Al-Qaeda have been overthrown. The statue is a gift to the United Nations. Edwards also encourages Europe to United in popular referendum as a parliamentary democracy. Local elections with the revised European Constitution are complete within the year, and the European Union is a single confederation of states by the end of the year.
President Charles Malcolm Edwards entered the Presidency as an unpopular leader who won less than half of the popular vote in America, and left as the most popular president in US history and widely considered to be the greatest president ever to serve office. As the world heals from the age of violence that was the 20th Century, President Edwards has left the world a better place than he found it; since his Presidency began in 2001 the United States has expanded over the entire North American continent; health care is free and universal, and genetic engineering via stem cells has led to countless cures and treatments for once unstoppable diseases; the income tax has been abolished, and the federal reserve is used only to act as a central storage and management unit for the resources allocated from Near Earth Objects; the US is known throughout the world as the country that provided clean drinking water for every developing nation, and stands as an arbiter of peace; the Middle East is far more stable than ever before, and the nations of Kurdistan, Afghanistan, and the UAE stand as beacons of prosperity in what was once a desert of hopelessness. The Obama administration that followed oversaw the completion of many of President Edwards’s legislation, and built off of his ideals to decommission and destroy all Nuclear weapons by 2015. The Obama administration also saw the first drop in emission levels and proclaimed the beginning of the end of global warming. By 2012 an American had landed on Mars. Commanded by Leland Devon Melvin the first crew of 100 spends two years building the first base on Mariner Valley. The Lunar Project yields ever-expanding towns on the moon, and some have suggested a Lunar State. President Edwards has since completely disappeared from public life, and has dismissed his secret service. Currently his whereabouts are unknown. In 2009 Oliver Stone released his award winning film, Charlie, depicting the early life and first term of President Edwards.
In a 2009 C-SPAN Poll President Edwards ranked often with FDR, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln among the top four greatest Presidents in American history. The rapid expansion of government programs that occurred during Edwards' term redefined the role of the government in the United States, and Edwards' advocacy of government social programs has been considered instrumental in redefining liberalism for future generations.
George Friedman, Chief Executive of STRATFOR, said that Edwards "secured a safer, freer world, while preserving and advancing American liberties." Ben Stein said of his economic policies: "He took America from an economic superpower... and turned it into an economic empire."
- "Let me profess unto you America that the only impossibility in this world is what we accept as impossible."- 1/20/2001
- "While we may be threatened by the hate and terror of our enemy, we must never compromise our freedoms. For while our bodies may die, our liberty must live on." - 9/11/2001
- "We must put an end to partisanship in this time of war, for we are all equally threatened, and we must all stand together to defend our freedoms." -9/20/2001
- "Sacrifice is the engine of liberty in a time of crisis. If we are all to enjoy liberty, we must all sacrifice to defend it." -9/29/2001
- "As a government we are equally responsible for the World Trade Center attacks. Our negligence bred the fear and hatred that drove a people to attack us." -4/18/2002
- "I have failed the American people for in my negligence; that is inexcusable. I can promise you this, however, I will never fail you again." -1/31/2004 (The Columbia Trials)
- "Our greatest folly is our complacency, our unwillingness to try what would be called impossible. But defying the impossible is what those brave souls aboard Colombia, and every astronaut, represents." -Vision for Space Exploration