McCarthy Isn't

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by M79, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. M79 Well-Known Member

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    What do the 1950s and 1960s look like if McCarthy never comes to higher office?

    Bonus points if he remains in the public eye somehow not involving conservative politics.
     
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  2. overoceans Well-Known Member

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    Anti-Communism is still gonna be a pretty strong force in US politics. A lot of the most iconic stuff associated with "McCarthyism", eg. HUAC, had no direct connection with McCarthy himself.

    And when the hard-hat rioters, for example, were beating up anti-war protestors in the early 1970s, they likely weren't citing the speeches of McCarthy specifically as their justification.
     
  3. Derek Jackson Member

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    I fear that things like the black list would go on longer. J R McCarthy was an idiot and a drunk.

    JE Hoover was much more dangerous to political dissent
     
  4. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    Nixon resented McCarthy for stealing his thunder as the nation's leading anti-Communist. So Nixon would likely have a higher national profile.

    If not Communism, McCarthy would probably find something else to latch onto. Maybe he focuses on attacking Truman's "wasteful" spending and the scandals in his administration. Or his handling of the Korean War. Either way he wouldn't have as much of an impact as in OTL, and he probably wouldn't be remembered today.
     
  5. TripleCitizen Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps an even more entrenched and rabidly anti communist America the 1960s. Because Tailgunner Joe certainly didn’t do the Anti communist movement much good.
     
  6. arrowiv Well-Known Member

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    The Tailgunner, it should be noted, was actually considered in 1950 to be "one of the worst senators" and he was up for re-election. So he was really desperate in need of a big campaign issue. He actually toyed with things like social security and even national health care until he had that chance dinner with Father Edmund Walsh who persuaded Joe to try anti-communism as THE leading issue in his campaign. WI Joe does not have that fateful dinner?
     
  7. Mark E. Well-Known Member

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    Anti-communism continued into the sixties as the justification of Vietnam and it proceeded into the seventies and eighties. Without McCarthy, you wouldn't have the fanatical persecution of entertainers and the double-bind questioning that imprisoned some for perjury. An anti-communist Nixon would take a much more level-headed approach.
     
  8. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    Not to mention U.S. foreign policy. For example . . .
    Instead of viewing it as normal coalition building. Or perhaps, he played them much more than they played him!

    But nope, we viewed Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq [Mosaddegh] as a “communist dupe.”
     
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  9. Colonel Zoidberg Well-Known Member

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    My first thought was “some other dickweed spearheads the anti-Communist movement” but I wasn’t thinking of Tricky Dick...weed Nixon. Come to think of it, having more anti-Communist cred might be enough to get him elected President in 1960.

    I sure hope he doesn’t overplay his hand during the Cuban Missile Crisis, assuming it happens that way at all.
     
  10. Mort the Reaper Well-Known Member

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    IIRC, Eisenhower once called McCarthy something along the lines of "the best agent Moscow never had".
     
  11. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    But Nixon already had such a high trajectory.

    He was elected to the House at age 33, to the Senate at age 37 (from the hugely competitive state of California!), was asked by Eisenhower to be his running mate at age 39, the ticket won and he took the Oath of Office for Vice-President at age 40 on January 20th, 1953. Some seven plus years later, came within a hairbreadth of the presidency in 1960.

    And won it his second try in 1968.

    So personally, I kind of think that when someone has a high trajectory (read: unlikely), then any change, even a seemingly very favorable change in their universe, the odds are it's going to lead to a lower trajectory. Just that there are many more ways of being average than there are of being an outlier.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019 at 10:04 AM
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  12. rick007 Well-Known Member

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    Funny thing. FDR tried to get Orson Welles to run for McCarthy's Senate seat in 1946. If Welles ran and won, no McCarthy.
     
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  13. Electric Monk Does Your Believing For You

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    Nixon was angry at McCarthy for stealing his thunder and basic plan—no McCarthy probably means Nixon gets a lot dirtier in the 1950s and might well not come out as well as he did IOTL.

    Beaten to it, but the double fun you get out of this POD makes it an obvious recommendation.
     
  14. TripleCitizen Well-Known Member

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    He would have probably invaded Cuba during the Bay of Pigs incident, so probably no Cuban Missile Crisis.
     
  15. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    For example, perhaps Eisenhower DOES NOT ask Nixon to be his VP running mate in 1952.
     
  16. Colonel Zoidberg Well-Known Member

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    That’s a possible can of worms as well - if Nixon overthrows a Soviet- friendly dictator in their backyard, Khrushchev may decide he has to do the same in order to maintain Soviet security. That or they put the missiles in Central America.

    Depends on how far Nixon pushes it. If he goes to ridiculous extremes, Ike isn’t touching him with a 39 and a half foot pole. If he plays it right, Ike would be a fool not to.
     
  17. Mark E. Well-Known Member

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    That might create an interesting situation. Wasn't Orson Wells banned from radio for 25 years by the FCC after the War of the Worlds incident? So, it would take some kind of executive order to put his speeches on the air, an issue that would give fodder to the GOP.
     
  18. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    No, he wasn't banned by the FCC. From the Library of Congress: "On being told of the panic after the live hour-long broadcast, Welles professed surprise, dismissing the drama as a mere Halloween Eve prank. Yet some 60 percent of stations that had carried the CBS program had to broadcast announcements to calm those who had panicked. The next day, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission termed the broadcast and its widespread impact “regrettable.” But the drama virtually made Welles’ career (the 23 year-old actor and producer would go on to make the classic “Citizen Kane” just three years later)."