Alternate History: JFK


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Online Jon Banks

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Alternate History: JFK
« on: November 22, 2022, 02:58:57 PM »
On the 59th anniversary of the tragic events of 11-22-63, let's play a game.

What are your thoughts on how the rest of Kennedy's Presidency would've played out if he wasn't killed?

I'll start:

- Kennedy defeats Goldwater to win a second term.

- He doesn't go through with his plan to withdraw troops from Vietnam but he continues to resist full scale escalation

- The Civil Rights Act fails to pass in Congress

- Nixon defeats Lyndon Johnson in the 68' Presidential election

- JFK is remembered as a mediocre President

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Alternate History: JFK
« on: November 22, 2022, 02:58:57 PM »


Online Richard Smith

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Re: Alternate History: JFK
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2022, 03:17:37 PM »
On the 59th anniversary of the tragic events of 11-22-63, let's play a game.

What are your thoughts on how the rest of Kennedy's Presidency would've played out if he wasn't killed?

I'll start:

- Kennedy defeats Goldwater to win a second term.

- He doesn't go through with his plan to withdraw troops from Vietnam but he continues to resist full scale escalation

- The Civil Rights Act fails to pass in Congress

- Nixon defeats Lyndon Johnson in the 68' Presidential election

- JFK is remembered as a mediocre President

That sounds about right.  JFK was largely a do-nothing President remembered fondly mostly because he took a good picture and looked the part.  LBJ did more in his first 100 days as president than JFK did in his entire political career.  JFK did almost nothing for Civil Rights which was the issue of his age and it was not a priority for him.  He was only interested in foreign affairs.  Absent the assassination at his youthful age, he would be remembered as a mediocre president.

Offline Steve M. Galbraith

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Re: Alternate History: JFK
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2022, 04:10:41 PM »
That sounds about right.  JFK was largely a do-nothing President remembered fondly mostly because he took a good picture and looked the part.  LBJ did more in his first 100 days as president than JFK did in his entire political career.  JFK did almost nothing for Civil Rights which was the issue of his age and it was not a priority for him.  He was only interested in foreign affairs.  Absent the assassination at his youthful age, he would be remembered as a mediocre president.
The historian Richard Reeves in "President Kennedy: Profile of Power" (a really good book on his presidency):

"Kennedy was decisive, though he never made a decision until he had to, and then invariably he chose the most moderate of available options. His most consistent mistake in governing, as opposed to politics, was thinking that power could be hoarded for use at the right moment - but moments and conditions defied reason. He had little ideology beyond anti-Communist and faith in active, pragmatic government...What convictions he did have, on nuclear proliferation or civil rights or the use of military power, he was often willing to suspend, particularly if that avoided confrontation with Congress or the risk of being called soft."

I do think he deserves credit for normalizing relations with the USSR, for abandoning Eisenhower's first use policy and mitigating the possibility of a US/USSR conflict. He recognized, unlike a lot of people around him (not just the military), that a nuclear war was simply unthinkable, that it couldn't be limited or constrained.

It's remarkable that many conspiracy believers - the Stone/Garrison crowd for example - promote JFK as a Arthurian/great leader who was going to drastically change America for the better - not just in Vietnam or in foreign policy but domestically as well - and it was for this that he was struck down by the powerful forces he threatened. Then along comes LBJ who did far more to change America than JFK ever dreamed off. So these elements killed JFK to stop this change and then LBJ comes along and does all of the things, and more, that JFK wanted to do? It makes no sense but in conspiracy world it doesn't have to make sense; it just has to help promote the idea of a conspiracy.

The Kennedys simply didn't know how to pass legislation much less show interest in it. Working the Congress, making deals, cajoling and threatening members. LBJ knew how to do all of that; he acted quickly after the assassination to use the death of JFK to promote civil rights. Then after his landslide election he acted quickly to pass the Great Society. He knew he had to use that power to act immediately. JFK, as Reeves says above, wasn't interested in that.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2022, 04:32:11 PM by Steve M. Galbraith »

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Re: Alternate History: JFK
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2022, 04:10:41 PM »


Online Jon Banks

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Re: Alternate History: JFK
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2022, 04:32:31 PM »

It's remarkable that many conspiracy believers - the Stone/Garrison crowd for example - promote JFK as a Arthurian/great leader who was going to drastically change America for the better - not just in Vietnam or in foreign policy but domestically as well - and it was for this that he was struck down by the powerful forces he threatened. Then along comes LBJ who did far more to change America than JFK ever dreamed off. So these elements killed JFK to stop this change and then LBJ comes along and does all of the things, and more, that JFK wanted to do? It makes no sense but in conspiracy world it doesn't have to make sense; it just has to help promote the idea of a conspiracy.


We can say that with 20/20 hindsight of course. However, in JFK's time, he had lots of enemies who hated him and were happy that he was killed.

So while yes, LBJ maybe surprised some people (who could've predicted that a bigoted white southerner would enact the greatest Civil Rights policies in US history?), I don't think it was predictable prior to Kennedy's death how Johnson's presidency would play out other than the facts that he was more hawkish on Vietnam and more imperialistic than Kennedy was.

For example, unless the alleged conspirators had a crystal ball, how could they have predicted that LBJ would choose to cover-up evidence/rumors of Oswald's links to the Soviets and Cuba (in order to avoid nuclear war) rather than escalate the Cold War?

I think it's fair to say that Johnson's presidency turned out in ways that no one could've predicted.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2022, 04:33:34 PM by Jon Banks »

Online John Iacoletti

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Re: Alternate History: JFK
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2022, 05:01:54 PM »

Online Charles Collins

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Re: Alternate History: JFK
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2022, 05:37:10 PM »
JFK dumps LBJ and changes his last name from Kennedy to Arthur and is declared the new King. He then trades the Lincoln limo in for a golden carriage that Queen Elizabeth II is jealous of. Ho Chi Minh realizes that he doesn’t stand a chance against the newest King Arthur and joins the empire. And they all lived happily ever after…
« Last Edit: November 22, 2022, 05:59:27 PM by Charles Collins »

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Re: Alternate History: JFK
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2022, 05:37:10 PM »


Offline Jerry Organ

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Re: Alternate History: JFK
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2022, 05:54:29 PM »
    "Circling back to the quote with which we started, it wouldn't have been
     entirely out of character for LBJ to have said something like, "I'll have
     those niggers voting Democratic for 200 years," but on balance we have
     to question its authenticity."      -- Snopes

U.S. Presidents Have a Long History of Saying, Doing Things Called Racist (Link )

Online Jon Banks

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Re: Alternate History: JFK
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2022, 06:38:54 PM »
    "Circling back to the quote with which we started, it wouldn't have been
     entirely out of character for LBJ to have said something like, "I'll have
     those niggers voting Democratic for 200 years," but on balance we have
     to question its authenticity."      -- Snopes

U.S. Presidents Have a Long History of Saying, Doing Things Called Racist (Link )

I don't know if the quote is real or not but we do know that Johnson was known to use the n-word in Congress and the White House.


Lyndon Johnson was a civil rights hero. But also a racist.
https://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/lyndon-johnson-civil-rights-racism-msna305591


So it's not exactly a leap to say that few could've predicted that his presidency would be so important to advancing Civil Rights.

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Re: Alternate History: JFK
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2022, 06:38:54 PM »


 

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