First and foremost Bush prevented Al Gore and John Kerry from being president. But even had the Democrats prevailed Hitchens wonders how they would have responded to situations in which they so rabidly denounced Bush’s policies:
Since Bush pretty much dedicated his presidency to the security of the nation after 9/11 he’s been a success.
"... The Effective Death Penalty and Anti-Terrorism Act [was] rushed through both Houses by Bill Clinton after the relative pin prick of the Oklahoma City bombing ... Given that precedent and multiplying it for the sake of proportion, I think we can be pretty sure that wiretapping and water-boarding would have become household words, perhaps even more quickly than they did, and that we might even have heard a few more liberal defenses of the practice.
"... I don't know if Gore-Lieberman would have thought of using Guantanamo Bay, but that, of course, raises the interesting question—now to be faced by a new administration—of where exactly you do keep such actually or potentially dangerous customers, especially since you are not supposed to "rendition" them. There would have been a nasty prison somewhere or a lot of prisoners un-taken on the battlefield, you can depend on that.
"... We might have avoided the Iraq war, even though both Bill Clinton and Al Gore had repeatedly and publicly said that another and conclusive round with Saddam Hussein was... unavoidably in our future. ... I think it's a certainty that historians will not conclude that the removal of Saddam Hussein was something that the international community ought to have postponed any further. (Indeed, if there is a disgrace, it is that previous administrations left the responsibility undischarged.)"
Read the whole thing here at Slate.