August 8, 2012

"In 1964, JFK is reelected, with LBJ as VP. The GOP does not yet do its big shift to conservatism..."

"... and its defeated candidate is Nelson Rockefeller...  Barry Goldwater rises up in 1968...."

Yes! It's true! I finally got around to it and posted the details of the alternate history, the hypothetical based on the non-assassination of JFK, that Meade and I talked about to pass the time as we biked the Capital City Trail on August 3. Thanks to everyone who contributed other alternate histories! I'll repeat our scenario below the fold here for your convenience:

In 1964, JFK is reelected, with LBJ as VP. The GOP does not yet do its big shift to conservatism, and its defeated candidate is Nelson Rockefeller (whose VP choice is William Scranton). Barry Goldwater rises up in 1968, and he is successful, defeating LBJ (who has Hubert Humphrey as his VP). Goldwater's VP is William Miller (as it was, in actual history, in 1964), and Goldwater is an immensely successful President, winning the war in Vietnam, leaving civil rights issues to the states (and in the process preserving federalism values, to be used to excellent effect in succeeding years), and foreseeing and avoiding the problems of dependency on imported oil. Goldwater is reelected in 1972, defeating Hubert Humphrey (who has Scoop Jackson as his VP).

In 1976, Bobby Kennedy is the Democratic nominee (with Walter Mondale as VP), and he wins, defeating William Miller (who has Bob Dole as his VP). Bobby gets health-care reform, called "Bobbycare." But Bobbycare goes too far, and RFK goes down in 1980, crushed by Ronald Reagan (whose VP is George H.W. Bush). Reagan is reelected in 1984, defeating Walter Mondale (who has Geraldine Ferraro as his VP).

In 1988, it's Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen against George H.W. Bush and Jack Kemp, and — no big surprise — Bush and Kemp win. But they're in for only one term. Blamed for the economy — stupid! — they lose, in 1992, to Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Clinton and Gore are reelected in 1992 (facing Jack Kemp and his VP choice Tommy Thompson).

In 2000, it's Gore (with Lieberman) against George W. Bush (with Cheney), and Bush wins. In 2004, John Kerry (with John Edwards) lose to Bush and Cheney. In 2008, it's John Edwards against Mitt Romney, and Mitt Romney wins. (We won't worry about their VPs right now.) Challenged by Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney is reelected in 2012. And we don't get our first woman President. But the Romney terms come to a close. Now it's 2012, and Hillary goes for it again, only to be defeated in the primaries by another "first," the possible first black President, this fascinating upstart with the funny name Barack Hussein Obama. (But America, having avoided dependence on foreign oil, thanks to Barry Goldwater, never got dragged into crazy interactions with those Middle East countries, and there was never a 9/11 terrorist attack or an Iraq war, or any of those things that would make "Hussein" seem truly odd.)

Speaking of firsts, there's a first coming up on the GOP side, a woman! It's the hyper-competent and stunningly beautiful Sarah Palin. With 8 years as Governor of Alaska, her executive experience and record of accomplishment wow America. (She was term-limited in 2014, and spent the next 2 years running for President.) And so in 2016, we have our big first, the first woman President: Sarah Palin!


Patrick said...

Fun and interesting. Can I ask to what you referred to here: leaving civil rights issues to the states (and in the process preserving federalism values, to be used to excellent effect in succeeding years)?

gadfly said...

Heh - Sarah cannot even be deemed worthy enough to get a primetime speaking slot at the 2012 GOP convention.

So much for alternate history.

Nick Carter M. said...

Modern liberalism never would have caught on as much if it weren't for the JFK assassination. He became a martyr for the left.

I think that's what LH Oswalt wanted though, no? Wasn't he a communist who went to the Soviet Union and couldn't handle it, so he came back but still kept his ideology?

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

If only!

Revenant said...

Given the way Kennedy's approval rating was trending, it seems unlikely to me that he would have won in 1964.

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

No Jimmy Carter whatsoever. Sweet.

Chuck66 said...

Madison Wisconsin is being featured on O'Reilly tonight. In the next half hour. It should be good...kind of a interview your typcial Madison type I think.

Bob_R said...

So we don't help Israel in '73? Even if we are not dependent of OPEC I don't see how the Mideast becomes a non-problem.

wyo sis said...

Interesting and a real improvement on what actually happened.

traditionalguy said...

The key to this nice plan would be how to stop the assassinations of Martin and John, and Bobby.

Goldwater was a realist and he did value the nuclear war as an option. But apart from the USSR how would that stop oil embargoes? Barry was never an expert on oil, nor on using a balance of power to divide the Arabs.

Funally, you nixed Nixon. What's the fun in doing that?

Barry Dauphin said...

Yeah, but what happens to Randy Travis?

nina said...

I can't imagine biking and significantly talking at the same time. But then, Ed and I tend to hike quietly as well. Though I suppose it would surprise no one to note that we are generally on the quiet side of things.

On the subject of JFK, I don't know how long it would have taken voters to wake up to his, well, inadequacies. I remember that just before his death, most of my classmates considered him quite the hero. Obviously that's parents talking through their kids.

Wally Kalbacken said...

But wait - who does Monica Lewinski fellate?

shiloh said...

"And so in 2016, we have our big first, the first woman President: Sarah Palin!"

Meade's dream fantasy!


"it seems unlikely to me that he would have won in 1964."

Average job approval JFK ~ Jan 1961/Nov 1963 ~ 70.1%.

Sept 1963 ~ 56%
Oct. 1963 ~ 58%
Nov. 1963 ~ 58%

JFK would have had the economy, his family, the space program achievements, The Cuban Missile Crisis in his favor. Plus he would have probably been a war time incumbent = unbeatable.

No war time incumbent has ever lost.

edutcher said...

2 points - at the end of the '60 Republican Convention, Barry Goldwater got up in front of the microphones and vowed that the next convention "will be a Conservative Convention". Goldwater worked 4 years to get it, so that piece needs to be considered.

Also, Revenant is right; the reason Jack Kennedy was in Dallas in November '63 was because he was in serious trouble regarding his re-election.

Chuck66 said...

Madison Wisconsin is being featured on O'Reilly tonight. In the next half hour. It should be good...kind of a interview your typcial Madison type I think.

Saw it. Didn't know there were that many amply endowed women there.

OTOH, some of the guys looked as if they'd been imported from San Fiasco.

shiloh said...

Also, JFK might not have run in '64 because of health reasons.

Anonymous said...

"Wally Kalbacken said...
But wait - who does Monica Lewinski fellate?" The most penetrating comment on the thread!

edutcher said...

There was a piece in the Saturday Evening Post shortly before the assassination, detailing how badly things had gone in the year since the Missile Crisis. He was in trouble.

And, no, he would not have been a wartime incumbent, any more than LBJ was.

The little animal is dreaming again.

shiloh said...

"Supposely" JFK and Goldwater met in the Oval Office a couple mos. before his assassination and JFK said to him, So, you really want this fuckin' job ?!?

FleetUSA said...

Nice evolution and well thought out -- even on a bike.

wild chicken said...

just before his death, most of my classmates considered him quite the hero.

I remember he was getting real sweet press in mags like Life and Look. Big photo spreads with the kids, and Jackie had given a TV tour of the White House, and there was a popular spoof album out. They really had people snowed.

Lem Ozuna from the Braves said...

And as a result we would not have Randy Travis... winning all those awards.

ricpic said...

What big shift to conservatism?

Michael K said...

I guess my comment never made it. My postulate is that William Rogers, Eisenhower's AG stopped the election fraud in Chicago and Texas that elected Kennedy and LBJ. Khrushchev would not have dared put missiles in Cuba with Nixon president. No Watergate, no Carter inflation. Two terms for Nixon, then Romney, then Reagan. A half century of peace and a good economy.

Joe said...

Since you can just change history, you forgot about how in 1992, aliens land.

Or, in 1981, in a panic, the Soviet Unions launches a full scale nuclear attack on the US.

KCFleming said...

Hmm, if I could change history, I'd shoot Engels.

edutcher said...

Have to second Michael K's take. If that had happened, none of the alarums and excursions of the Kennedy era and quite possibly (although it's not 100% IMHO) no Vietnam War.

I agree with him that Khrushchev would not have played the games with Nixon he played with Kennedy.

Whether there would have been Romney and Reagan (particularly Reagan) Administrations is something of a jump ball, but the hard Leftward trend of America would not have taken place under his scenario.

Phil 314 said...

Yes, but where does Marty McFly come in?

Michael K said...

"Yes, but where does Marty McFly come in?"

George McFly is class president and Marty has no need to take time off from his graduate school to mess around with Professor Brown.

XRay said...

Very, very, off topic.

I know it is all fun and games here, with a smudged patina of intellectual depth from our host.

But really, where does this sort of shit end...

I know the answer of course. But the insidious march of government mandated bullshit. It sickens me.

Leave me the hell alone, with whatever few friends I may find that share my values.

So shortly, I guess, the LGBT 'community' will demand to be Boy Scouts, as well. Like they give a fuck about Boy Scout values.

What fine values to instill in our youth.

In the hopes of ruling everything the left will destroy everything, of value any way.

ricpic said...

Since all the elites, all of them, love statism there was no way to stop the march of statism no matter who was elected president. The statism will continue until it either topples of its own impossible internal contradictions or we're all slaves, happy slaves but slaves nevertheless.

I am neither a cynic nor a fatalist despite the above but you tell me how what our entire elite wants can ever be rolled back.

ricpic said...

but slaves nonetheless.

Meade said...

"And so in 2016, we have our big first, the first woman President: Sarah Palin!"

shiloh said...
"Meade's dream fantasy!"

Funny thing is - Palin being elected in 2016 is the one part of the hypothetical I didn't come up with. Mrs. Meade thought of that.

Jon said...

Far too similar to reality from 1980 onwards.

Also, Sarah Palin could not become President in this alternate history, because she would not exist. She was born in 1964, and thanks to butterfly effects from JFK not being assassinated a year earlier, it's impossible that the same sperm would have fertilized the egg that produced her. I suppose that her parents could have had a different daughter who they also named Sarah, but it's very unlikely that person would have just happened to also marry Todd Palin (or someone named Palin, since Todd Palin wouldn't have been conceived in this universe either), let alone enter politics and become governor of Alaska.

Ann Althouse said...

I agree that there would be many more differences.

It occurs to me that Hillary would have remained a Goldwater girl.

She would never have married Bill, and I think she could have become President in 1992 or 1996 ... instead of Bill.

narciso said...

Well there are other elements, Goldwater would not have been that patient with the Vietnam incursion,
George HW, and Cheney saw their rise
during Nixon's rise, and most likely
would have not prospered otherwise,

XRay said...

Insane now. Hillary a Goldwater girl... never.

This alternate history stuff is nott worth the smell of a fresh cowpie.

shiloh said...

Meade funny indeed considering ...

'll shut up now. I can see you folks want to keep dreaming your dreams of Sarah, the woman of the people. I need to get out somewhere where it's a bit more stimulating. Enjoy your slumber.

8/7/12 12:13 PM

Nice to see Althouse's true feelings re: mama grizzly's political powers didn't "cloud" her hypothetical lol.


btw, the Khrushchev would have never tested Nixon meme is somewhat amusing.

One might want to take into consideration Nixon was more of a moderate Dem than Clinton. JFK's assassination opened the door, so to speak, for You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore Nixon. Otherwise, Vietnam would have been different, RFK wouldn't have run for NY senate. No Chicago convention riots in '68. etc. etc.

Also, no cheney/bush, no Obama just so cons no who to blame. :)

shiloh said...

know who to blame.

As Meade continues to dream about Sarah ...

Ralph L said...

FDR got us involved with the House of Saud and (I think) the Pahlavis in Iran. Once their (our) money started flowing into Washington, I don't think even Goldwater could have severed ties, and even a poorer, less-Westernized Persian Gulf would not have prevented the reaction of all the fundies.

So who would have made a bigger hash of Vietnam--LBJ or JFK? My guess is JFK would have given up after the 64 election as his health declined, further emboldening the USSR and scaring the voters away from Goldwater via a clever flower from LBJ.

Meade said...

Poor shiloh. Like most Democrats, transfixed and confused - the very thought of Sarah Palin causes them to sputter, stammer, and project their shameful fevered fantasies onto others.

Meade said...

Oh, Ralph L, I know you're probably right but must you be such a buzz kill? :-)

Ralph L said...

It occurs to me that Hillary would have remained a Goldwater girl
IIRC, her pull to the left wasn't caused by national events but by a lefty minister at home and Wellesly. And she probably decided her small-businessman father was a brute.

My sister's freshman roommate, who looked a bit like young Hillary, followed somewhat the same path, only later and slower. She still admired Scalia when she had him for a prof at UVa, despite having worked for the regulators at DoE.

shiloh said...

Meade's incoherency aside ie please look up the definition of transfixed and confused. Although it is interesting er not shocking but interesting, a mama grizzly thread at Althouse still garners more interest than mittens. As yes, she does know how to wear clothes like most other reality tv celebrities.

Again Meade, I'd like to thank Palin for Christine "I'm not a witch" O'Donnell and Sharron Angle. Harry Reid would also like to thank her.

And a write in candidate defeated her boy, Joe Miller in AK as Alaskans seem to be quite happy she's no longer their gov.

Yes, it is true I like makin' fun of her if that's what you call fixation. She's living the American dream, god love her, as she goes to the bank! So good for her ~ free enterprise in operation ...

Ralph L said...

Rockefeller divorced in 1962 and married Happy soon after. That's a major reason he wasn't the nominee in 64. It was a different world. Could Goldwater have gotten the nomination twice in a row?

Without LBJ's landslide in 64, the Voting rights act and Medicare/Medicaid wouldn't have passed. Would the crime rate rise and birthrate drop that began in 65 have occurred without the assassination?

Michael K said...

"btw, the Khrushchev would have never tested Nixon meme is somewhat amusing.

One might want to take into consideration Nixon was more of a moderate Dem than Clinton. JFK's assassination opened the door, so to speak, for You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore Nixon."

shiloh has no concept of what people were like. My guess is that you are a kid dreaming you understand things far too complicated for you.

Clinton was a left winger and conservative only in comparison to his wife.

Nixon's comment, as you may not know, concerned his anger at being rejected by California voters after he was cheated out of the presidency.

shiloh said...

MK, I know most everything about Nixon. Who, if I was ever to hate a politician, he'd be the guy. But much like Bush43, not worth the effort.

Re: the idiotic hypothetical ifs in this thread: If the 1968 election had lasted one or two more weeks, Humphrey would have won. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. If Gore had picked FL senator Bob Graham, instead of Lieberman. If Gore wasn't a wooden robot like mittens lol.

In any event, bottom line, Nixon resigned in ((( disgrace! )))

Michael K said...

"MK, I know most everything about Nixon. Who, if I was ever to hate a politician, he'd be the guy."

No doubt from your left wing reading. You just don't sound like someone who knows anything from real experience.

Kirk Parker said...


Either that, or blow up that train.

crosspatch said...

" Sarah cannot even be deemed worthy enough to get a primetime speaking slot at the 2012 GOP convention."

Had Palin not accepted McCain's nomination she would have gone on to be a wildly popular governor. At the time her public support was in the 80% range. She would have finished her time as governor being loved by Republicans and Democrats alike as she was before she was nominated.

Most of what people "know" about Palin is fantasy anyway. Starting the very week she was nominated for VP, the press started reporting vindictive fabrications as "facts" about her.

The political left in the US is extremely nasty to the point of being pretty much unethical in everything they do. The Democratic Party and their propaganda organ press is probably the most corrupt political institution the US has seen in 100 years.

test said...

Goldwater is an immensely successful President, winning the war in Vietnam

I think I need Meade to explain this.

Peter said...

RFK goes down in 1980, crushed by Ronald Reagan (whose VP is George H.W. Bush).

To make your alternate history converge with reality, you almost have to have a President Reagan, don't you? But what happened to McGovern, and why did you Photoshop him out of the political picture?

BTW, a more recent inflection point is Bush-Gore 2000. What difference would it have made if it had been Pres. Gore on 9/11/2001?

In any case, the big difference in your alternate history is Goldwater's hands-off policy on Civil Rights. That is, presumably there would not have been a 1964 Civil Rights Act- how would that have played out?

And then there's that "Bobbycare" instead of Medicid/Medicare. But would RFK have done the whole Office of Economic Opportunity thing, with its funneling of federal funds to assorted community organizers? (I think he would have- he was very much a populist).

What about SCOTUS- who would Goldwater have nominated, and what difference would it have made?

Mitch H. said...

Doing some research, I noticed that William Scranton is still alive, which knocked me back on my heels. His son has been carrying the flag for the Scranton family for so long that I just assumed the man had died in the late Seventies.

I now have to concede that Rockefeller would *not* have been the Republican candidate if JFK survived, unless you want to postulate something strange knocking-on from the change in press coverage somehow keeping people from noticing his disastrous personal life.

But I think that Miller only makes sense as a VP candidate in 1964, and only with Goldwater or another conservative who had to balance their ticket with an eastern liberal who was liberal, but not pugnaciously or combatively so. Sen. Smith, for instance, would have been nobody's VP choice, not matter who you postulate in the catbird seat. Maybe Scranton and a military man? George Romney was in the race, but did poorly.

Anonymous said...

James Pierson's thesis that the JFK assassination "shattered American liberalism" made sense to me.

...the liberalism that came out of the New Deal was a very optimistic liberalism about the future, and about America's role in the world. And the role of the federal government and perfecting our democracy. Kennedy constantly talked about the future. And the future is going to be brighter than the past. What happened in the 1960's was that that assumption of American progress among the liberals is shattered. The belief in American benevolence, of America's role in the world. Of the American past. All these were called into question by the liberals in the 1960's. -- Pierson interview on Uncommon Knowledge, 2008

Pierson draws a straight line from the JFK assassination to the transformation of American liberalism to a force darkly suspicious of America, its people, its government, and its role in the world.

Obama is the ultimate inheritor of this shattered liberalism.

shiloh said...

"I think I need Meade to explain this."

Goldwater reportedly mentioned:

I would have dropped soooo many bombs on N. Vietnam, they wouldn't have been able to grow rice for 10,000 years!

ok, ok, maybe it just sounds like something ole Barry would have said.

Joanne said...

Ann, I posit that the VP pick is a safety matter. Your VP should be so much worse than you that no one would assasinate you, because they would hate like hell for your VP to become president. LBJ obviously failed that requirement, and I don't see how the Kennedys could have trusted him after the "attempted" assasination in Dallas. I think LBJ would have been forced into retirement and some other Camelot Liberal chosen as VP in the second term.

It is odd though, how much more liberal the country bumpkin, LBJ, turned out to be than Kennedy had ever been. LBJ was worse than FDR at founding federal transfer programs and trying out statist social engineering schemes. Kennedy had a healthy skepticism of statists ideas, though not necessarily opposed, yet cooly entertaining ideas.

LBJ was a lifetime, professional politician. His only hammer was political/statist solutions. Would you even know who he was had he never been picked to be Kennedy's VP?

Bill Harshaw said...

I agree with Ralph L--Happy Rockefeller sank Rocky's chances. JFK and Goldwater were friendly and looked forward to their contest in 1964. I don't see why JFK's assassination helped Barry win the nomination. He couldn't win in 1964 and he couldn't win in 1968--civil rights, social security, rollback, and tactical nukes were always enough to do him in.

Incognito said...

Is anyone else bothered by the absence of Nixon from this counterfactual? First, he clearly had a burning passion to be president. Second, his stint as Eisenhower's VP made him a natural compromise figure for the different factions of the GOP. Third, he was such a clever schemer he probably could have remained a viable candidate as late as 1980. I just don't see him disappearing in any credible scenario.

Mitch H. said...

A) Nobody loves Nixon these days, right or left, so they tend to try to build counterfactuals which dispense with the hateful little man
B) Nobody loved him at the time, right or left, either. He was a useful battering ram for the Right, but he wasn't really of the Right, he was just hated by the right people. He possessed "availability", to use the early Nineteenth Century term of art, and that's about it. Strength of personality and drive were his only real selling points. As far as policy and legislative ability, he was actually pretty weak in comparison with characters like Johnson and Rockefeller, and as for principle, he had none to speak of.

His rise in 1968 was an artifact of the implosion of principle in 1964. Most of the presented counterfactuals assumed that principle failed to implode, either because it wasn't essayed (in the case of a Scranton/whomever or Rockefeller/whomever candidacy) or succeeded in some sort of special circumstance (Goldwater Triumphant). Nixon rides to the rescue only in the moral vacuum which formed from the total annihilation of the Republican Right in '64, tempered by the policy apocalypse of Liberalism Triumphant in '65-'67. And I don't agree with the people who blame the Kennedy assassination for the liberal breakup - it was a natural result of liberals getting every damn thing their squalid hearts desired in the Johnson years - and found it to be gall and wormwood.

Nixon was the homunculus born of serial despair, of the betrayal of great hopes realized, and victory turned to ashes by a political monkey's paw.

If Goldwater survived '64 without the mortification of nomination and defeat, or actually won the election and did something in the way of extending the Eisenhower conservative consensus, either one of those would have eliminated the space for Nixon to burst from his chrysalis of rage and disappointment. One would hope that the sourness of the Age of Nixon might have been drawn off somewhat by some less Milleresque character, someone not quite so small and mean as the man from Yorba Linda.

Unknown said...

This alternative history starts too late. Consider that Nixon won in 1960 over Kennedy. Kruschev respected Nixon after the kitchen debates, in contrast to Kennedy, who was chain-smoking and hopped- up-on-amphetamines, when they met in Vienna. There is no Berlin crisis, there is no Cuban Missile crisis. The Bay of Pigs occurs, but we displace Castro with the promised air support to help the Cuban exiles. Kruschev and Kennedy come to an understanding that ends the Cold War similar to what occurs with Reagan and Gorbachev, only 20 years earlier. We avoid Vietnam. Kennedy, a more mature and capable leader, having actually done something in the Senate while Nixon was President, wins office in 1968, and is the forward looking, optimistic liberal Democrat who brings forth the Civil Rights acts that would have transpired in the mid-1960's under LBJ. Johnson is nominated in 1964, but fails to unseat Nixon. Johnson is never heard from again on the national stage. Did I mention we avoid Vietnam? Maybe we avoid much of the military industrial complex that developed due to the Cold War, and we have a less powerful central government, with budgets that balance longer than they did. Reagan may or may not have made it to the presidency; Carter certainly never does. We avoid Watergate and Enemies lists, since Nixon was a successful president and not bitter, and the press is not adversarial as they were. We avoid the Kennedy assasinations, and Bobby Kennedy wins the presidency at some point. Maybe with Hillary as Veep. Ok, maybe not. After that, who cares?

TJIC said...

> In 2008, it's John Edwards against Mitt Romney, and Mitt Romney wins. (We won't worry about their VPs right now.) Challenged by Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney is reelected in 2012.

If the economic collapse hits on schedule (and, frankly, as much as I dislike Obama, it had nothing to do with him - it was the inevitable result of long-term trends), I don't think the sitting president gets reelected. your alternate reality OR in this one.

(fingers crossed)

Xiaoding said...

"Goldwater is an immensely successful President, winning the war in Vietnam"

The comment assumes that the war was lost to begin with.

For one thing, it wasn't the "Vietnam" war. It was the war to contain Communist China. Which we won.

Any serious alternate history, needs to deal with the fact, that it was neccessary to "lose" the Vietnam war, in order to assure China, that we had no plans to attack them.

So, a Vietnam "defeat" is a given, it can't ba changed. The defeat was the plan.

Fearsome Pirate said...

If Nixon wins in 1960, there's never a Democratic civil rights act because after years of Democrats successfully scuttling or hamstringing Republican-led civil rights initiatives, including the civil rights acts of 1957 and 1960, Nixon, who was key in promoting those latter two bills, finally uses the bully pulpit of the White House to push through meaningful and lasting civil rights reform.

The black vote becomes permanently, irrevocably Republican.

The fissures over civil rights destroy the New Deal coalition that created the 20th century Democratic Party, and it retreats into being pretty much the party of the South. The Republican coalition that dominated politics from 1968-2008 now dominates from 1960-2000.

The inflation of the 1970s doesn't happen, because printing money to pay for Johnson's guns-and-butter program never happens. Therefore the Nixon Shock never happens. The Carter era never occurs. The Soviet Union is contained until it collapses in 1980 due to its inability to colonize Latin America and Asia. Nixon visits China in 1965 after being reelected in a landslide.

As with all dominant parties, corruption and patronage sets in. And the seeds of liberal Marxism are sown in academia. As a result, due to some crisis or scandal, Americans elect a hard-left Democrat in 2000.

Urbanleftbehind said...

Dont forget, Dr. Brown worked with Iranian terrorists, so Marty McFly would have wisely steered clear of him.

I think with Gore/Lieberman, 9/11 doesnt happen or is one plane that has a weird mechanical failure and crashes into 1 landmark. I think having Lieberman the J around as VP leads to one or more botched amateur assaniation attempts by Islamists during th spring/summer of 2001. By September, Lieberman (sick of dodging bullets that Ron Barber types took for him) and Gore get serious about Islamoterror.

dferg said...

Oh! Love it!

Question for Ann on her scenario - what happens to the Soviets?

Early Collapse or Chinese like retooling? Other?

But most importantly? Who ends up with the Stargate?

Greyhawk said...

Another theory.

dferg said...


Ok, You've done it now! You revealed the Earth Prime timeline. That is a temporal infraction. The Men in Black will be by soon to neuralize this thread.

Since everyone will forget anyway, I am safe to say that Hiram is exactly right. His timeline is what should have happened. Unfortunately, the Soviets developed time travel while the US as going to the moon. The Commies went back in time, rigged the 1960 election. The Soviets knew that they would collapse in this timeline, but they also knew that the US would voluntarily adopt socialism much more quickly that way. Nw we are suffering in an alternative quantum reality that sucks. Damn Commies!!

Edward said...

Heinlein, in his alternate universe
stories, used the sequence of US
presidents to identify the universes.

Here is the worst case:
Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt,
Patton, Patton, Kennedy, Kennedy
Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy,
Kennedy, Kennedy, Scudder.
Scudder was the last President,
because once the Lord's Anointed
achieves power, it is blasphemy
to suggest he be deposed, and
blasphemy is punished by death.

A Jacksonian said...

When looking at alt-history one is best reminded that history is contingent, not just a flow of events, as pointed out by Azar Gat in looking at the question of if western liberal democracy is, in any way, 'superior' to authoritarian systems. While some things can be taken as givens, others must be questioned when writing alt-history, and there are both streams of movements and contingent factors that surround any set of events.

As pointed out earlier by others, Kennedy's re-election was by no means a secured thing, which was the main reason to be in Dallas. The Republican '64 convention may have been less stable (with Kennedy slowly committing the US to further involvement overseas) especially after Korea. Those two questions would play themselves out with Kennedy's health (and that of other family members) and any problems that naturally crop up in an administration near the end of its first term (people leaving, corruption charges, etc.). Those things make elections as much as social movements do, and actually become critical during a campaign.

After those events are examined, and probability looked at, just how things shift due to Kennedy being in office (or out of it if he took enough meds to make him semi-incoherent a few times in front of audiences) then brings into play what would have gone on elsewhere in the world. After '63 and the US involvement with the leadership in S. Viet Nam makes what happens after that problematical: does Kennedy continue a US build-up or go a UN route?

After that there is much wallpaper in the proposed line-up of Presidents is contingent. How does the US do without depending on Middle Eastern oil? Without LBJ to push Medicare/Medicaid, what is the push for 'Bobbycare'? In this timeline does MLK get assassinated or not? That alone makes huge changes in the social proposition of things. Does welfare get created in any form that allows it to grow into the problem it became? Does the 'Rust Belt' happen, because it is highly contingent on the stand-up of Japanese and S. Korean industries overtaking older US firms.

If you want to do an alt-history these things need to be examined to see just how other countries react to US policies. Cutting off Viet Nam may actually weaken the US position of standing behind its allies... staying in Viet Nam has its own problems, and going to the UN (always a fun thing pushed by the Left post-WWII) means that Kennedy has to make a real decision on getting UN help... or not... and that will mollify his base... or not.

Less wallpaper and personalities and more wall is necessary to give backing for the proposed alt-history. Right now it looks weak on quite a few basics, and doesn't examine contingent factors both known and relatively unknown.

Professor Mojo said...

There are some black swans that got ignored here: Six Day War (which got Bobby killed in the first place); Santa Barbara oil spill (but we might infer that Goldwater does not create the EPA or allow limits on CA drilling); Yom Kippur War (Nixon not in a position to allow Israelis to take Damascus owing to threat of Soviet intervention); Oil Shock (still happens even under Goldwater, but not as severe); Three Mile Island (does Bobby shut down all nuclear plants?).

Micha Elyi said...

Insane now. Hillary a Goldwater girl... never.

This alternate history stuff is nott worth the smell of a fresh cowpie.


Speaking of "fresh cowpie", go bathe and change your clothes. You tripped into a big one bub. Goldwater girl Hillary is a fact of actual history.

Rick Jones said...

JFK isn't shot, so Lee Harvey Oswald isn't killed either. If he lived a natural life long enough, he feel right at home in today's Democratic Party. Hell, he might even be a Senator from Minnesota by now. :)

Thucydides said...

How about a real "contrafactual"; Colin Powell runs for office. He was actually touted as a possible VP candidate in 1992 and Presidential candidate in 1996.

With a moderate Republican in office, Speaker Newt Gingrich would have had less success selling "Contract with America" and less leverage against the White House, the Republican Congress would not have had welfare reform or balanced budgets as their signal acheivements in the 1990's and the economic situation in the early 200's would not have been so good, potentially making 9/11 a greater catastrophy than it was.

OTOH, there would not have been the agressive enforcement of the CRA in the 1990's during the Clinton Administration to create the housing bubble which imploded in 2008, and it is quite possible the Democrat majority Congress of 2006 would never have happened with President Powell in the White House, so the rampant spending explosion starting in 2006 would also never have happened. End results, a short, sharp shock as the tech bubble implodes in 2000 and a double dip in 2001 as 9/11 temporarily damages American confidence, but no 2008 economic crisis.

CM said...

Not so! Everybody knows JFK dropped Johnson due to scandals & weakened influence with south. JFK -Humphrey won in 64, but Kennedy resigned in 1966, during wake of Hyannisport wiretapping scandal. HHH ran in 1968, lost to Rockefeller-Romney (George.)
Lackluster economy led to "Hope & Change--Ready with Teddy!" in 76, Veep Ed Muskie. Unfortunately "Camelittle" came to en end with Gipper plus Kemp in 80.
Assassination of Ronald Reagan by John Hinkley put Kemp into White House, propelling Conservative Revolution. In 1984 Kemp/Baker cleaned Muskie-Bentsen' s rollback clock.
1988 was Dem year. Surprise upset by young W. Clinton led to disappointment with Kenndyesque sex scandals & inconclusive Gulf War occupation of Iraq. In 92 "Desert Ike" Colin Powell started two terms as first AfAm President. His vp, James Baker wound up US in Iraq, was elected in own right in 2000.
Vice Pres Jeb Bush was sworn in after 9/11, 4th plane hitting White House with Pres. Baker inside. Bush successfully prosecuted Terror War , reelected in 04.
Comeback Kid Clinton took 2008 with wife as
VP. Hillary lost in 2012 to VP Romney's son Mitt.

Unknown said...

I am the author of a book, “The Memoirs of John F, Kennedy: A Novel” which delves deeply into the question presented by this blog - “What sort of world would we inhabit if, forty-nine years ago, John F. Kennedy had recovered fully from bullet wounds inflicted at Dealey Plaza and gone on to fulfill a second term as president?” And as can be noted from all the comments to this posting, there are a host of predictive futures that might have been realized.

My point of view, heaven forbid, is from a more liberal position. For all his faults I admire JFK, and it is reflected in the book, which would at first blush alienate most conservative readers. But if anyone is interested in a well-researched alternative fictional account of “what might have been?” which ponders the politics and personalities of all those involved in the early sixties- give it a read.

Unknown said...

Very interesting hypotheticals! I think if JFK had not been assassinated, or survived the attempt, he would have been reelected in 64. I believe he would have kept Johnson as VP because he needed him for the southern votes. JFK would have got us out of Vietnam and moved ahead with Civil Rights. In 68 it would have been LBJ vs. Nixon and LBJ would have probably won due to the success of Kennedys term. In 72, LBJ would have been challenged by his archrival RFK and Bobby would have retaken the White House for the Kennedys. Bobby would make a lot of changes for the good of the country. In 80 Reagan would be challenged by Teddy and in a close race Teddy would win, because there wouldnt have been a Chappaquiddick since RFK was never killed. Teddy would serve one term then lose to Bush I in 84. Bush would serve two terms and no Iraq war would have happened. In 92 Clinton wins and serves two terms. After that I'm not sure but the country sure would have been more peaceful and successful if JFK and RFK had been allowed to lead us!!!!!!!!!

Unknown said...

To say Goldwater would have won the war in Vietnam is ridiculous and to write this loses credibility for the rest of your argument. After 50+ years many have written that JFK did not want to use troops in Vietnam and was planning to remove advisors and use back door channels to cease involvement in Vietnam. LBJ and Nixon's Presidencies dropped more bombs on Vietnam than the US used in all of WW2.