The Assassination of Jacqueline Kennedy 11/22/1962

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Commissar, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. Commissar Banned

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    Oswald forgets to zero in his rifle and every shot that OTL hit JFK instead hits his wife, killing her and seriously wounding Nellie Connally.

    Effects?
     
  2. RogueBeaver Team Raitt

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    JFK becomes quite distraught for a period, but there are no long-term effects. He probably won't remarry for religious and political reasons, which means he will be a single father. I don't see that affecting either Caroline or John-John that much in the long term.
     
  3. Commissar Banned

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    What about the rest of the country or even the world?
     
  4. RogueBeaver Team Raitt

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    Some press coverage, generous obituaries, but within a couple of months Jackie will be largely forgotten. Rose Kennedy will become the substitute First Lady at official functions, as she often did IOTL.
     
  5. Redem Proud citizen of her majesty

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    Heh some culture change oblivously, while it would be the first president to have his wife murdered we can't say he ain't the first who is widowed
     
  6. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

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  7. RogueBeaver Team Raitt

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    Back to family dynamics: Jackie was disliked by the Kennedy sisters for being more worldly (Ethel became alarmed when her kids were not taught a literal version of the Flood in school) and poised than they were. One of the reasons that JFK didn't socialize with Bobby and Ethel was because there was no love lost between the two wives. BTW, now Bobby is the person closest to Jack, though the closest one to Bobby was Ted. As always, the Kennedy family dynamics are interesting for their students like Norton and myself, in the Chinese sense.
     
  8. Francisco Cojuanco Fanned

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    Well, religiously there's nothing stoping Jack from remarrying - on the other hand, the Church tends to prefer widows and widowers to remain unmarried... I think personally it's a crapshoot.
     
  9. RogueBeaver Team Raitt

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    FC: I vividly remember Ethel's response when asked if she'd ever remarry: "No, with Bobby looking down from heaven, that would be adultery." ;)
     
  10. Whanztastic BohemianAmerican Defenestrater

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    JFK wasn't exactly the best man by Catholic standards, what with the adultery and drug abuse and what not, so it is plausible for him to remarry, although I don't see it happening until after his time as president.

    I'd think that he wouldn't run for a second term, perhaps passing the political buck to Bobby, staying mostly out of the limelight but acting as an advisor, sort of similar to Bill Clinton's role in Hillary's campaign.

    Also, there is the chance that the 'curse of tragedy' that has beset the Kennedy family wouldn't exist ITTL.
     
  11. RogueBeaver Team Raitt

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    Whanztastic: True, but no one knew that at the time. ;) Nor do I think Jack would like taking orders from his kid brother. "Let's not all get excited about taking orders from Lovable Bob." :D Chalk that up to very different personalities.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2010
  12. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

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    JFK did not abuse drugs; that's an old conservative line. He had a number of prescription medications for various conditions. To accuse him of drug abuse would be like calling your grandma a junkie for using that heart medication.

    Jack wouldn't pass the buck to RFK if he did retire in 1964 (which I'd still doubt he'd do). RFK had no political record beyond what he was appointed to (however much he did, and he did do much, in the AG spot), and he wasn't appointed to much by that point. It'd be like Herbert Hoover (another man who did not hold an elected office before POTUS, and was only appointed to a number of positions) running for POTUs if you removed the majority of his appointed offices from the record. The electorate wouldn't tolerate it.
     
  13. RogueBeaver Team Raitt

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    I agree with Norton. The reason why Jack planned to move Bobby to Defense after 1964 (other than being worn out from slugging it out with Edna every day) was that so he'd be qualified on both foreign and domestic policy. That way, by 1968, there won't be any qualification issues. But even IOTL in '68, there were question about his experience. Ironically, Bobby was in Nixon's 1960 position: he had done a lot more than his title had suggested, being DPOTUS. But many of those things were not for public consumption, such as Mongoose. As a Senator, he couldn't pass bills of his own (but passed many important amendments) because he was among the 15 most junior Senators during his tenure, and LBJ's torpedoing his bills, or diluting them and incorporating them into Administration bills.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2010
  14. Dudekebm Well-Known Member

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    If JFK lived and Jackie Kennedy died instead? That would probably mean LBJ wouldn't have become president.

    - The situation in Vietnam wouldn't have been escalated as much as it did. LBJ was the one who really escalated it. To quote wikipedia: Kennedy's policy toward South Vietnam rested on the assumption that Diem and his forces must ultimately defeat the guerrillas on their own. He was against the deployment of American combat troops and observed that "to introduce U.S. forces in large numbers there today, while it might have an initially favorable military impact, would almost certainly lead to adverse political and, in the long run, adverse military consequences." He probably would have supported Diem in advisement and what not but pretty much left Vietnam a battle between Ho Chi Minh and Ngo Dinh Diem.

    - As far as LBJ's Great Society social programs, these would probably not have been introduced as these were more Johnson's, instead JFK attempting to further implement his New Frontier initiatives.

    - As far as Civil Rights, it may or may not have been a more difficult road, depending on whether JFK valued his ally Martin Luther King more than he feared J. Edgar Hoover. He would have seen the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through (perhaps sooner given he was not assassinated late 1963). JFK didn't have the legislative talent that LBJ had and had to contend with the southern democrats many of whom were vehemently opposed to integration or any civil rights reform. This probably would have played out as in the OTL since Hoover is still around and was against many of the civil rights leaders since he viewed them as a subversive element; whether JFK would have the cajones to direct Hoover to avoid such is the wildcard.

    All in all we'd have a very different decade of the 1960's (i.e. no Vietnam War or at least one as we know it in the OTL)
     
  15. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

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    Most of the Great Society was just the New Frontier with a Johnson spin and LBJ finishing what Kennedy started. Medicare, addressing poverty, civil rights and other such grand ventures were in that program set or planned to be. Issues like Medicaid and areas of the war on poverty and so forth are up in the air. Transportation and education might be up in the air too, but I think there'd be some reform.

    A majority of Congresspeople already said they would vote for Civil Rights a short time before Kennedy died, so it'll pass. You'll get variables from the exact makeup of further CR legislation, although a Voting Rights analogue is probable to follow. Keep in mind, we oversimplify history. The mechanism of Congress and Congress people is just as responsible, if not more so, for Civil Rights and CR passage as any President.
     
  16. joea64 Well-Known Member

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    It may take somewhat longer for some parts of the Great Society program to be passed - no sympathy factor, for one thing, and LBJ isn't arguing from the bully pulpit of the White House. OTOH, Johnson will, assuming he runs again as Kennedy's VP in 1964, certainly still be in there using his master-legislator skills to get the Administration's programs through Congress.

    How many more states might Goldwater win TTL? He'd still lose by a considerable margin, but I don't think it'd be quite the landslide it was OTL. Also, might he and JFK follow through on that plan they discussed, where they'd travel together on a grand debating tour? (That's definitely something I'd have liked to see!)

    Vietnam: I'm not quite so sanguine that it wouldn't have escalated in a way requiring the insertion of large numbers of U.S. troops. Things just have this way of happening that knock all one's good intentions into a cocked hat...

    Assuming an Arab-Israeli war happens in the 1960's, what will Kennedy do?
     
  17. Dudekebm Well-Known Member

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    JFK was a little more conservative on this sort of thing than LBJ. There would be a lot of reform but in a more JFK manner. Probably more programs for enabling people to take care of themselves rather than overt handouts. Plus better funding for domestic programs due to lack of an expensive escalated war that he had to pay for.


    Maybe I just started thinking about the MLK assassination as well. The FBI had wiretaps on him and what not which RFK authorized initially for a 'one month trial period' and okayed by JFK, but LBJ never bothered to repeal the authorization once the trial period was over. If say MLK had lived or JFK had got more overt White House support (JFK and RFK did advise MLK and the SCLC to cut ties with folks which might have had a CPUSA past or connections with such), then things might have progressed along a lot differently for the civil rights movement. Think about it: JFK actively supporting the movement very publicly.
     
  18. RogueBeaver Team Raitt

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    1964 electoral map.

    [​IMG]

    (D) John F. Kennedy/Lyndon B. Johnson: 407 EV, 60.3%
    (R) Barry M. Goldwater/William E. Miller: 131 EV, 39.1%

    Incumbent President: John Kennedy (D)

    Jack Kennedy wins those debates hands down. Re Middle East: JFK will supply arms to Israel as per OTL. With Bobby at the Pentagon, there might be a push to supply similar weapons to the US' Arab allies.

    Kennedy II Cabinet (changes only)

    Secretary of State: Robert McNamara
    Attorney General: Nicholas Katzenbach
    Secretary of Defense: Robert Kennedy
    UN Ambassador: Dean Rusk
     
  19. Drew Well-Known Member

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    "St. Jacqueline the martyr" would be a very potent image which the Kennedy team could exploit for the 1964 elections. The American people will grieve with him and his children as much, perhaps more than they did with Jackie and the children. If a president is murdered, well that is a hazard of the job, and it had happened before. For a First Lady to be murdered like that, unspeakable in 1963.

    Her murder, and the image of the widowed father soldiering on in raising the children while trying to lead the nation would also be a powerful image which could make the President very hard to assail. In the immediate aftermath, anyone saying anything critical will have to beware of sounding mean-spirited. While this will fade over time, it will remain a central part of the narrative for the rest of his presidency, and the Kennedy brothers had access to expert p.r. people who could make that work.

    One of the things that irked RFK most during his Senate career was that in the Senate he was junior to his younger brother Teddy. That was accentuated in 1967 when Ted became the senior Senator from Massachusetts while Robert was still the junior Senator from New York. Ted had prefferment in the Senate's seniority system.

    RFK wasn't ready for a Presidential run in 1964; for one thing he was only 39 years old and he didn't have a political resume outside the shadow of his brother. In some ways Teddy's career progressed along the Presidential route much faster because being in the Senate allowed him a degree of freedom from that JFK shadow and to make his own mark.

    While being Sec Def. will help RFK I would think, for his long term political development, it would be best to send him off to be elected Governor of Massachusetts where he could develop a political and executive record of his own, independent of JFK's.

    The DPOTUS thing doesn't work out very well at that time because there is no historical context for it as part of a public career, and flirts dangerously with the idea of an absentee president, or one who can't cut it. As it is the closest thing to a DPOTUS is usually the President's Chief of Staff, and that isn't usually a stepping stone to the presidency.
     
  20. RogueBeaver Team Raitt

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    RFK did not have the clubbable personality to make friends in the cloakroom, and Ted did. He was more Thatcher than John Diefenbaker: a disciplined, talented executive who commanded authority, while not being a great parliamentarian by any standard. When it came down to the "nut-cutting", that is where things got interesting.