Fumbling the Ball by David Tenner and Steve Payne
says: what if the United States had three Presidents in a single day?
Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily
reflect the views of the author(s).
In 1985, the Speaker of the
House, Tip O'Neill (pictured) was sworn in as the forty-first President on
A perverse chain of events led up to the ironic outcome that a Democrat
politician should occupy the White House less than a year after an
overwhelming GOP victory in the presidential race.
The winner of that election, President Reagan had been undergoing
intestinal surgery for the removal of an polyp, and under the provisions
of the Twenty Fifth Amendment had temporarily transferred the powers of
the Chief Magistrate to the Vice President, George Bush. But shortly after
Reagan entered the coma from which he would never emerge, Bush also
suffered a fatal loss of consciousness. Following a freak accident on the
tennis court, Bush slipped during a tennis game, banged his head and was
To his horror, O'Neill would soon discover that from within the White
House, Reagan and Bush had been running a series of illegal (and not to
say morally repugnant) covert operations, completely outside congressional
oversight. Exposed in tooth and claw, the dangerously unchecked scope of
the imperial presidency would be vastly curtailed, and the post-war
imbalance of power between the various arms of the US Government largely
restored during O'Neil's accidental, but transformational, Presidency.
says this story is based upon a
discussions group post from David Tenner and the tennis court incident
is described in Dorothy Bush Koch's biography, "My Father, My President" .
Other Contemporary Stories
Steve Payne and David Tenner
Guest Historian and Editor of
Today in Alternate History, a Daily
Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.
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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit
differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items
explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist
superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy
Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting