Blue Skies in Camelot: An Alternate 60's and Beyond

Start of Act III
Blue Skies in Camelot: An Alternate 60’s and Beyond

Act III: Progress & Prosperity


“Good politics are often inextricably intertwined.” - President Mo Udall


“Once you’ve been in space, you appreciate how small and fragile the Earth is.” - Valentina Tereshkova, Hero of the Soviet Union


“The Cold War isn’t thawing; it is burning with a deadly heat! Communism isn’t sleeping; it is, as always, plotting, scheming, working, fighting...” - Fmr. Secretary of State Richard Nixon at the 1980 Republican National Convention


“We’re just talkin’ about the future. Forget about the past. It’ll always be with us. It’s never gonna die. Never gonna die! Rock and Roll ain’t noise pollution!” - AC/DC, “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” from 1980’s Back in Black.


“Go ahead, make my day.” - Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan in Sudden Impact.


“Nothing’s ever easy as long as you go on living.” - Marilyn Monroe



upload_2019-12-2_16-38-0.jpeg
 
Great update. I'm definitely getting the vibe that hopefully Act III: Progress & Prosperity will be more akin to the Kennedy years then the Romney and Bush years. Hopeful and optimistic
 
Blue Skies in Camelot: An Alternate 60’s and Beyond

Act III: Progress & Prosperity


“Good politics are often inextricably intertwined.” - President Mo Udall


“Once you’ve been in space, you appreciate how small and fragile the Earth is.” - Valentina Tereshkova, Hero of the Soviet Union


“The Cold War isn’t thawing; it is burning with a deadly heat! Communism isn’t sleeping; it is, as always, plotting, scheming, working, fighting...” - Fmr. Secretary of State Richard Nixon at the 1980 Republican National Convention


“We’re just talkin’ about the future. Forget about the past. It’ll always be with us. It’s never gonna die. Never gonna die! Rock and Roll ain’t noise pollution!” - AC/DC, “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” from 1980’s Back in Black.


“Go ahead, make my day.” - Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan in Sudden Impact.


“Nothing’s ever easy as long as you go on living.” - Marilyn Monroe



Before you get too far into this, I have one major issue I want to bring up. In OTL, Yuri Andropov wanted to bring an end to the Brezhnev-era stagnation, bureaucracy and corruption. While I understand butterflies at work, I don't think Andropov would become the very antithesis of himself, especially seeing as he was on the cusp of becoming the KGB Chairman when Marilyn survived and started this TL. There are a lot of ways to get to a Soviet economic collapse, but having it be Andropov's doing through deliberate re-Stalinization is ASB.

I know I'm coming on strong here, but I minored in history with a European/Russian focus, and so it's an area I take great interest in.
 
Before you get too far into this, I have one major issue I want to bring up. In OTL, Yuri Andropov wanted to bring an end to the Brezhnev-era stagnation, bureaucracy and corruption. While I understand butterflies at work, I don't think Andropov would become the very antithesis of himself, especially seeing as he was on the cusp of becoming the KGB Chairman when Marilyn survived and started this TL. There are a lot of ways to get to a Soviet economic collapse, but having it be Andropov's doing through deliberate re-Stalinization is ASB.

I know I'm coming on strong here, but I minored in history with a European/Russian focus, and so it's an area I take great interest in.
Hello there @wolverinethad! Thank you for sharing your intriguing and well informed perspective on this very important topic. I agree 100% that Andropov would be unlikely to become an antithesis of his OTL self, and do not intend to have him become an alt-Brezhnev, if you will here. ITTL, Andropov has spent him time as First Secretary passing moderate economic reforms (which had begun under Khrushchev and Kosygin in '65) and consolidating support for the USSR from the communist world, as well as attempting to spread Soviet influence in Africa and Afghanistan, via its joint invasion with Pakistan. While Andropov is certainly more conservative than many in the USSR would like (think people like Gorbachev), he is definitely fighting as much of the bureaucracy and corruption as he feels that he can without losing his seat. By the late 70's ITTL, the Soviets, like China, are pursuing more decentralized economic policies, with reformers like Gorbachev even coming out in support of a move toward market socialism.

Political reform however is absolutely not on the table with Andropov. From everything I've read about him, he favored the use of force and was not open to the idea of opening the political sphere or anything like that. I would like to be corrected if I'm wrong, however. :)
 
I end up doing a lot more writing from school than I should, in all honesty. ;):oops:


It's also been a little over two years since this party got started. Here's to two more for writing the excellent Blue Skies in Camelot, @President_Lincoln!
Thank you so much, @AeroTheZealousOne! :D I too can relate to writing a lot from school. :) I hope I can keep delivering an interesting story for all of you, as we move into year THREE of Blue Skies. ;)
 
To be clear, this passage in Chapter 106 is what drew my attention.

The former KGB head was said to have an obsession with total control, and wanted to play a hand in every aspect of governing the USSR, including centralizing once again its economic initiatives and moving the country closer once again to a totally planned economy.
That is what set off the alarms. Andropov was, as you noted, a political conservative, but he was not so foolish as to retrench the economy when it was paying dividends for them, especially not in a scenario where there was a looming China war that would require funds. The trendline you created here for the USSR buys them a lot more time, unless they get bogged down in dumb situations--Andropov was the sort who would give KGB help to "fraternal socialist allies" rather than piles of free weapons (something that Khrushchev noted as early as 1959 would bankrupt the Soviet Union if it persisted) as Stalin and Brezhnev did.

I think Yuri will clamp down harder on dissidents than OTL Brezhnev did, as he isn't wedded to detente, but I just cannot see a scenario where he recentralized the economy and turned off the flow of hard currency, and this doesn't even count the inevitable benefits of properly managed oilfields (something I hammered out with @Yes for his excellent McGoverning story--the misuse of Soviet oilfields took what could've saved the nation and destroyed it, which is why they were Gorbachev's first internal priority upon his ascendance).

Anyway, it's your story and it's been uniformly excellent--I just think the USSR economic shift you outlined is unrealistic in this timeline with Daddy Andropov at the wheel.
 
To be clear, this passage in Chapter 106 is what drew my attention.



That is what set off the alarms. Andropov was, as you noted, a political conservative, but he was not so foolish as to retrench the economy when it was paying dividends for them, especially not in a scenario where there was a looming China war that would require funds. The trendline you created here for the USSR buys them a lot more time, unless they get bogged down in dumb situations--Andropov was the sort who would give KGB help to "fraternal socialist allies" rather than piles of free weapons (something that Khrushchev noted as early as 1959 would bankrupt the Soviet Union if it persisted) as Stalin and Brezhnev did.

I think Yuri will clamp down harder on dissidents than OTL Brezhnev did, as he isn't wedded to detente, but I just cannot see a scenario where he recentralized the economy and turned off the flow of hard currency, and this doesn't even count the inevitable benefits of properly managed oilfields (something I hammered out with @Yes for his excellent McGoverning story--the misuse of Soviet oilfields took what could've saved the nation and destroyed it, which is why they were Gorbachev's first internal priority upon his ascendance).

Anyway, it's your story and it's been uniformly excellent--I just think the USSR economic shift you outlined is unrealistic in this timeline with Daddy Andropov at the wheel.
Thank you raising these issues to my attention, and thank you for the kind words about the timeline. :) I'll be sure to go back and make some alterations to Chapter 106 to fit Andropov's more reform-minded attitude.
 
So I was looking for something unrelated and found an image you might want for TTL...

74AE7BA3-7FF3-432D-8350-81FFAB708288.jpeg


Can you say presidential portrait? Especially feels like the style and whatnot would fit Mo’s folksier tendencies, seeing as he’s probably the least likely president to want to look like a great man on horseback who’s above the people.
 
So I was looking for something unrelated and found an image you might want for TTL...

View attachment 506915

Can you say presidential portrait? Especially feels like the style and whatnot would fit Mo’s folksier tendencies, seeing as he’s probably the least likely president to want to look like a great man on horseback who’s above the people.
I love it! :D This will absolutely be Mo's Presidential portrait ITTL. :)
 
I love it! :D This will absolutely be Mo's Presidential portrait ITTL. :)
Hell yeah!

Also, one more because I inadvertently found this too and it’s just too funny to ignore.

Turns out Mo’s height earned him something besides comparisons to Abraham Lincoln:
FCD86AC5-4E9B-4C58-B651-410BC9DECCF1.jpeg

Yes, he actually played pro basketball! After seeing this come up between political pics of him, I had to make sure this is indeed him, and that it is. Turns out he spent the ‘48-‘49 season playing for the Denver Nuggets, and before that he was captain of the University of Arizona’s basketball team. Interestingly, this makes Mo Udall the most athletic American President, even beating Gerry Ford (who, ofc, was not president TTL but still).
 
Last edited:
Chapter 107
Chapter 107: Don’t Stop - Mo Udall’s First 100 Days in Office

Above: President Morris K. Udall and his older brother and Chief of Staff, Stewart, settle in for their first full day of work in the Oval Office. Desperate for hope after eight years of uncertainty and doubt brought on by the Romney assassination and the Great Recession, the American people placed their faith in Udall, “the most liked man in Washington”, to set the course of the ship of state toward a brighter future.


“Lord, give us the wisdom to utter words that are gentle and tender, for tomorrow we may have to eat them.” - President Mo Udall​


It was a cold but beautifully sunny morning in Washington as Mo Udall prepared to take the Presidential oath of office on January 20th, 1977. Though the wind chill cut the temperature down into the low teens, there was hardly a cloud in the sky to be seen. Perhaps the good Lord had sent a positive omen for the start of a new administration. Either way, the world waited with bated breath for the much awaited transition of power. Thousands of on-lookers and ecstatic Democrats choked the national mall as they strained to get as close as possible to the west portico of the Capitol, where the oath would be administered. Many of them had taken the recently opened D.C. metro system, a high speed rail line which though begun under the Kennedy Administration, had not been fully completed until the previous fall. They crowded together, people of all races, creeds, colors, ages, and backgrounds, united by a common desire for change and progress after eight years of recession, stagnation, and depressingly conservative status quo. Among them were former hippies and anti-war protesters from California, farmers and ranchers from the great plains and Midwest, assembly line workers and mill men from the northeast and deep south alike. Udall and Lloyd Bentsen, already sworn in as Vice President earlier in the day, had managed to reunite and grow JFK’s New Frontier coalition, and brought a wide swath of the country together. Many in the crowd still wore their campaign buttons: “All in for Udall!” The 95th Congress, which had just been called to session two weeks prior, was the most vibrant and diverse one yet in the nation’s history. Several freshman Representatives, among them Fannie Lou Hammer (D - MS), Bayard Rustin (D - PA), Jesse Jackson (D - IL), bolstered the ranks of the growing Black Democratic caucus. Congressman Harvey Milk (D - CA) became the first openly gay person to serve in Congress. All four of them stood with the thousands of hopeful people as they waited for Udall, their smiling, wise-cracking progressive champion to take to the secular pulpit and deliver what was promising to be a highly anticipated address. “Change was in the air,” Jackson would later recall of the day. “We were huddled in the cold, but hopeful.” This big tent of supporters may not have agreed on every policy, but they knew the country was in rough shape, and needed the government in Washington to be a part of the solution to its problems. Also seated near Chief Justice Paul Freund of the Supreme Court were Vice President Bentsen, former Vice President Reagan, President Kennedy, now a grizzled elder statesmen, but smiling fiercely, and President and First Lady Bush, who frequently leaned over to share kind words with JFK and his Jackie.


As for the man of the hour himself, he stood beside his wife, Ella, and resisted the cold with a placid grin. After months of meticulous planning and working with outgoing President Bush on the transition, the President-elect freed himself to focus on crafting a lean, breezy, and powerful inaugural address. He believed that in this field, at least, he had been successful, and he kissed his wife’s cheek as the Chief Justice waved him forward and the marine band played him in. Freund, an aging Harvard man with a deep voice, bellowed the oath out to the impossibly tall (6’5”) Udall as he raised his right hand and swore it.


“I Morris King Udall do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me God.”


The crowd offered a thunderous round of applause, and Udall waited for a moment for them to settle down before he began to speak.


“My fellow Americans, I want to begin by thanking my predecessor for the good work he has done for this land, and for the help he has provided me in preparing to assume this office.


In this ceremony, we celebrate the majesty of American rebirth. It may be the brunt of winter here in Washington, but through our reaffirmation to the peaceful transition of power, we summon forth a spring which thaws even the coldest of hearts, and lets freedom ring from every hilltop and every valley, in this, the world’s oldest and most vibrant democracy. I declare today that we need a change in this country. I can see from the signs, buttons, and banners that many of you are carrying that you agree with me. But we seek change not to challenge, but to boldly reiterate our belief in our nation’s founding principles, and our belief that every single American possesses the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In short, we seek progress, change we can all believe in. In this regard, we are inheritors of a long and proud American tradition.


In order for us to bring about the national renewal we seek, we must be bold. We must restore our country’s confidence in the present, and invest in its future - both economic and environmental. As Franklin Roosevelt once said, ‘The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.’ We gather today amidst the greatest economic crisis this country has faced since the Great Depression. Just as in the days of FDR and the New Deal, our government, the only institution that is, as Abraham Lincoln pointed out, “of the people, by the people, and for the people” must be part of the solution. We possess today the means of continuing the great work carried out by President Kennedy, whose New Frontier programs vastly reduced the number of Americans living below the poverty line. America has never been a country defined by impossibilities. We look to the stars and insist that one day we will visit them. We encounter disease, famine, and war, and demand that they be resolved for the betterment of all men. Today, we assert that America, in its third century since declaring its independence, will be a land of great accomplishments, great thinkers, peace, prosperity, and noble defenders of human rights around the world.”

...

“I would like to conclude today by sharing something my wife Ella and I read on the side of a camper while on vacation near our home in Arizona: ‘America ain’t perfect. But we’re not done yet!’ Together, we will labor to build a more perfect Union, with your help, I believe we cannot fail. Thank you all, God bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.”


...




Following the conclusion of his well received inaugural address, the President also defied expectations in another way. Alongside First Lady Ella Udall, Mo became the first newly inaugurated President to walk the entire length of the parade route from the Capitol to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, his new home and offices at the White House. Images of the President and First Lady, alongside House Speaker Tip O’Neill (D - MA) and other Democratic leaders walking through the frigid, crowded city while their Secret Service detail rode in black limousines seemed to perfectly read the mood of the country, and did a great deal to endear Udall to the average American. After five years of President Bush’s aloof, “out of touch” leadership, Udall’s everyman gesture, waving to the crowds, shaking hands, and laughing at jokes, showed how much he truly cared about the people he’d been elected to govern. Udall was already known throughout the capital and the political world as “the most well liked man in Washington”. These gestures at civility, good humor, and humility, showed that he was aiming to build a large governing coalition despite his progressive agenda. For his part, the President also felt this had been a natural move for him to make. He loved to interact with crowds and be out and about with the American people. And after surviving an assassin’s bullet on the campaign trail back in San Francisco, he came to believe that the people needed to physically see that he wasn’t afraid of anything, least of all walking among them. Later that day, after a single inaugural ball, another attempt at modesty in the capital, Mo returned to the Oval Office and got down to work with his Chief of Staff, his older brother and former Secretary of the Interior Stew. His first order of business? Getting his remaining cabinet appointees approved by the Senate, and then an immediate “day one” push on creating single payer, Universal Health Care.


Some of the President’s choices were more palatable to Congress than others. Udall began by once again making history when he named Shirley Hufstedler, a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, first appointed in 1968 by President Kennedy, to be the nation’s first female Attorney General. Beyond the historic nature of the pick, Udall also selected Hufstedler for the position due to her liberal views on protecting freedom of speech and her believe in inclusive, affordable public education as a fundamental right to all Americans. In a country still leery of the Justice Department, and the FBI in particular after the reign of J. Edgar Hoover and the start of the War on Drugs, Hufstedler seemed like a breath of fresh air. She faced some resistance from conservatives in the Senate, but was eventually confirmed 83 - 17. In time, the new President’s cabinet would come to include more women than any before, including its first African American woman, Patricia Roberts Harris - Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. Likewise, Udall’s pick for Secretary of Defense, Cyrus “Cy” Vance was swiftly hailed by both parties as a fine pick, given his years of service as Secretary of the Army and later Deputy Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy Administration. Vance was a firm believer in the judicious use of soft power, and believed that continued detente with the Soviet Union, furthering the peace process in the Middle East, and strictly enforcing the Kennedy Doctrine and devotion to human rights should form the cornerstones of American foreign policy. In this, Vance was joined by one of the new President’s more controversial picks - George Ball for Secretary of State. One of the most liberal diplomats in the nation, Ball had, as Undersecretary of State to John F. Kennedy, been the first White House advisor to urge the President to withdraw American forces from Vietnam. At the time, he had been called “overly worrisome” by JFK, but following Kennedy’s reelection, his words of wisdom would come to dictate the President’s foreign policy and prevent an escalation in Southeast Asia. Though anti-war protesters and academics loved the announcement of Ball’s selection, Hawks from both parties, especially Congressman John Kerry (D - MA), and Senators Scoop Jackson (D - WA) and Barry Goldwater (R - AZ) were less than thrilled to say the least. The Senators grilled Ball during his confirmation hearings, with questions only a stone’s throw from asking if he “had any intention of letting Soviet tanks roll into Saigon should the fancy strike them?” Ball shrugged off these accusations as “nuts” and was eventually confirmed, albeit narrowly, thanks to some clever vote whipping by Senators Russell Long and Ted Kennedy, both of whom would quickly become critical allies to the new President. The selection of Walter Reuther, legendary union organizer and civil rights activist, helped to reassure Udall’s Democratic base that he meant business about protecting the rights of labor to organize, and that his progressive vision for the country would include everyone.


The Morris K. Udall Administration (As of February 1st, 1977):

President: Mo Udall

Vice President: Lloyd Bentsen


Secretary of State: George Ball

Secretary of Treasury: W. Michael Blumenthal

Secretary of Defense: Cyrus Vance

Attorney General: Shirley Hufstedler

Secretary of the Interior: John F. Seiberling

Secretary of Agriculture: George McGovern

Secretary of Commerce: Juanita M. Kreps

Secretary of Labor: Walter Reuther

Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare: Patricia R. Harris

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Walter Washington

Secretary of Transportation: Yvonne B. Burke

Chief of Staff: Stewart Udall

EPA Administrator: Douglas M. Costle

Director of OMB: Samuel P. Goddard, Jr.

U.S. Trade Representative: Joseph Montoya

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations: Andrew Young



Above: President-Elect Udall meeting with former Senator George McGovern (D - SD) to convince him to come out of retirement and serve as his Secretary of Agriculture, in order to “continue his heroic, lifelong fight against hunger”.

...


Having survived a very tight race to be reelected to a third full term as the senior U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, and now occupying the important leadership position of Senate Majority Whip, Ted Kennedy returned to Washington with his beautiful, glamorous new movie star wife, Sharon Tate Kennedy and resolved himself to get to work right away on fulfilling President Udall’s biggest and arguably most important campaign promise - a national, single payer program for health insurance in the United States with no cost sharing (though he would eventually compromise on this final point). It was a daunting task, one which took Kennedy into collaboration with Labor Secretary Walter Reuther, Congressman Ron Dellums (D - CA), and Senate Majority Leader Russell B. Long (D - LA) among others (including union groups and Medical research think tanks) to ensure that the bill, eventually dubbed the “Medicare-for-All Act”, in honor of former Senator Jacob K. Javits (R - NY), who now returned to Washington to lobby and twist arms for the bill. The legislation aimed to expand Medicare into an all encompassing public healthcare system for all Americans. It would be properly and completely funded through slightly higher medicare payroll taxes, its proponents explained. While this became a right-wing talking point, with GOP Congressional leaders biting at the chomp to point out that “Kennedy’s bill” would raise taxes on middle class Americans, both Senator Kennedy and President Udall were quick to counter that the bill would also slash premiums and overall costs by doing away with “profiteering in the medical industry”. This would mean that even if average Americans paid more in taxes to join Medicare, they would pay far less than they currently were in premiums to their private insurers. When it became clear that the bill - now popularly branded “MoCare” after the Commander in Chief - was gaining widespread, bipartisan support throughout the country, lobbyists for the medical industry joined with conservative politicians from both parties to try and see the thing killed before it could ever reach Udall’s desk. Opposing them were fierce advocates, who claimed a universal, single-payer system would make preventative care far more accessible, which would also reduce costs to the system and citizens overall by catching diseases and treating them early. Some, including the President, also argued that MoCare would lead to increased economic growth, spur aggregate demand by giving Americans more disposable income, and generally improve American quality of life. The fight, the first major one of Udall’s Presidency, was on.


The bill was first introduced in the House on February 3rd by Congressman Dellums (D - CA), who proudly declared that “finally, we have begun to see change we can believe in on this fundamental issue! No American should be unable to receive the care they need. Seeing a Doctor when you need to is a fundamental human right.” Shortly thereafter, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Al Ullman (D - OR) gave his assent to endorse and release the bill to the floor for a vote, but only in exchange for assurances from Stew Udall and Speaker Tip O’Neill (D - MA) that the plan was revenue neutral and would pay for itself in new taxes. Ullman’s support meant fiscally conservative, budget hawk Democrats could line up behind the bill, and they did, in droves. Opportunistic Dems who had loathed Udall’s “do-gooder attitude” when they’d caucused together now lined up to support his reform bill. The President couldn’t help but be delighted by the turning tables. These formerly reluctant Democrats were joined by liberal Republicans following the announcement by Senator Spiro Agnew (R - MD) that he would co-sponsor the Senate’s version of the bill, along with Senator Kennedy. It took plenty of political capital, vote whips by Patsy Mink (D - HI) and Jim Wright (D - TX) not seen since the first 100 days of the New Deal, and a vast, tireless campaign to rally public opinion by the President. “Call your Representatives and Senators and tell them to vote for Medicare-for-All!” Udall beamed in one famous television ad from the era. “And when you’re done, pick up the phone and do it again!”


The successful passage of this bill was critical for the new President, of course, and everyone in Washington knew it. The media reported feverishly on the “high hopes” many Americans had in their smiling, confident new leader, and put the pressure on for Udall to deliver on his most prominent promise. If Udall failed to see national healthcare through, he would have burned much of his sway and goodwill with the public, leaving him ripe for accusations of weakness and of breaking his word. Because of this, Republicans were instructed by Gerry Ford and Howard Baker to drag their feet wherever possible - delay, squirm, even filibuster if you had to. Anything to keep these bills from being passed too quickly and with too little meat for the GOP to sink their teeth into. The Republicans doubted they could stop the popular tide demanding this kind of healthcare reform, but they hoped they could at least moderate it and leave it open to privatization or abolition in the future.


Senator Paul Laxalt of Nevada, one of MoCare’s most avid critics, spent nearly twelve hours filibustering the bill once it was introduced in the Upper Chamber. Echoing former Vice President Ronald Reagan, Laxalt decried what he called “the socialist takeover of American medicine!”


Senator Robert Kennedy (D - NY), meanwhile, one of the bill’s most ardent defenders, countered fiercely, accusing Laxalt of “seeking to keep millions of Americans in poverty amidst the greatest economic downturn in decades, strictly for the profiteering of his friends in the medical industry.”


In the end, the GOP theatrics did little to prevent the inevitable. The Democratic Party, resisting internal pressures and divides over social policy especially, stood firm, along with some pretty steep promises for government contracts and spending, as well as the help of their liberal Republcian allies, and passed MoCare through the House 301 - 134 and the Senate 68 - 32, just barely enough to achieve cloture and end the filibustering. Ted Kennedy, Ron Dellums, and their allies, such as freshman Congressman Jesse Jackson (D - IL) celebrated feverishly when the final vote totals were counted live on C-SPAN for the world to hear. In the Oval Office, Mo Udall watched with a triumphant grin, flashed his big brother a thumbs up and tapped his glass eye in victory.


“I never thought I’d live to see the day.” President Udall chuckled.


With the bill signed on May 15th, 1977, Mo was able to cap off his first 100 days in office with a monumental achievement, one that would later be considered one of the greatest of his entire Presidency. It reassured the American people that this “smiling, jokester Arizona cowboy” meant business, and gave him the momentum he needed to pursue the next item on his legislative agenda: a bill to protect the pristine Alaskan Wilderness by making large swaths of it into federal nature preserves.



...

Shortly after his triumph in expanding Medicare to cover all Americans, President Udall headed to Notre Dame University in Indiana, where he had agreed to give an address on American foreign policy, and what the world could expect on the international stage from his administration. While primarily an expert on conservation, healthcare reform, and other domestic issues, the President didn’t want the country to believe that he was not up to the challenge of serving as the Leader of the Free World as well. In a rousing speech, recorded and later televised for the whole nation to see, Udall vowed to reject the “sabre-rattling” ways of the Soviet Union’s current leadership, and instead sought to return the focus of American foreign policy away from containing communism and once again toward the goal of protecting and supporting fundamental human rights. He lauded the Kennedy Doctrine, pointing to its success in reunifying Vietnam as a democratic state and preventing full-scale war, and warming relations with the People’s Republic of China and Allende’s Chile as proof that ideology did not need to be the sole determinant of who America’s friends and allies could be. He quoted Lincoln once again when he asked, “Do I not destroy my enemy when I make him my friend?” and challenged Yuri Andropov to “work with us to bring about a treaty which will limit and hopefully, eventually end, nuclear proliferation.” It was a bold address, replete with Kennedy-esque idealism and firmly held conviction that America continue to hold the moral high ground in the great twilight struggle of the 20th century. And while some, especially on the right, accused President Udall of being “naive”, most Americans thought it was a beautiful ideal to work towards, remembering that not so long ago, Americans and Soviets had worked together to put a man and a woman on the Moon.


Proving that he was willing to stand up for civil liberties and human rights, even as he sought new thawing in the Cold War, Udall wrote a personal letter of support to Soviet nuclear physicist, Nobel Laureate, and political dissident Andrei Sakharov, whose insistence on the need for civil rights and reform in the USSR had made him a target of the Andropov regime, but a symbol of hope and liberation around the world. Udall expressed his hope that “First Secretary Andropov might learn a thing or two from Dr. Sakhraov. Unlike what the good doctor does every day in his labs, knowing that to deny your people their fundamental human right to liberty isn’t exactly rocket science.”


Finally, the President also made his first foreign trip of his time in office, a quick jaunt over the border to Ottawa to reaffirm friendship with Canada and develop a working relationship with Prime Minister Roger Stanfield. Before the year was out, the President would also make stops in India, Japan, France, Belgium, and Iran, where tensions between the Shah’s oppressive regime and his people were beginning to intensify.




Next Time on Blue Skies in Camelot: Difficulties Across the Pond Continue
 
Last edited:
Top