Stanford Report Online

Stanford Report, November 9, 2000
Hoover fellows ponder election mess on 'the morning after'


The day after one of the closest presidential election contests in American history, the mood was one of sleep-deprived bewilderment among senior fellows with the Hoover Institution.

"We've had a long and truly weird night," said Larry Diamond, a senior research fellow at Hoover who moderated a seminar Wednesday.

Hoover senior fellows Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and David Brady addressed the crowd of roughly 90 people who had gathered in the Stauffer Auditorium for "The Morning After: The Outcome of the 2000 Elections and Implications for U.S. Foreign Policy" -- even as the nation was still waiting to find out who the next president would be.

But both Brady and Bueno de Mesquita agreed that the election had made one thing clear: Whoever becomes the next president of the United States will not ride into office on a mandate, and he also will face a Congress that has become more evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.

This split could lead to gridlock on legislative matters, said Brady, who is also a professor at the Graduate School of Business.

Meanwhile, a large majority of incumbents in the congressional races held onto their offices

Brady said he did not know why, in a time of prosperity, Vice President Al Gore has struggled against his GOP opponent. He suggested that Gore had bungled his campaign.

Speaking after Brady, Bueno de Mesquita took on the unwieldy task of discussing how results of the election could affect U.S. foreign policy, bouncing between "what ifs" in the case of a win by either Gore or Governor George W. Bush.

He noted that both candidates support a missile defense system but that Bush's proposal is far more expansive than Gore's. Bueno de Mesquita said he did not agree with what he described as Gore's view that the military serves a "Boy Scout function," engaging in nation building and human-rights missions.

"That is the mission of diplomacy, not the military," he explained in an interview following the seminar.

Bueno de Mesquita also said that he has more faith in Bush's foreign-policy advisers than those of Gore, who drew largely from the Clinton administration's team.

While he said the Clinton administration has been successful in foreign-trade policy, Bueno de Mesquita criticized other aspects of its foreign policy -- in Somalia and North Korea, for example.

The two panelists disagreed on Gore's chances of running again in the next presidential election.

Brady said he did not believe Gore will get another shot at the presidency if he loses in this election.

Bueno de Mesquita, however, took a different view.

"I don't agree that Gore's day is over," he said.