Rumsfeldia: Fear and Loathing in the Decade of Tears

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Drew, Nov 18, 2012.

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  1. TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

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    That didn't really get results for at least a generation after the Nazis, which is a long time to wait in this environment. And there was an occupying army for decades afterward, so even if something went wrong, the threat of Nazis could be nipped in the bud through extra-parliamentary means. Canada can't occupy the entire heartland and south alone, and the Europeans won't stay forever. There's no safety blanket. Also: Rumsfeld lost the popular vote twice, but he still got way more votes than Hitler ever did. That's cause for greater cynicism about the American people, especially in certain regions.
     
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  2. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    Again that can be chalked up to the Electoral College. This is a problem that can be fixed with some institutional reform.
     
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  3. TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

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    That ignores the possibility of a Rumsfeld 2.0 simply winning the popular vote outright. The slightest possibility of such a thing happening will be seen as indefensible.
     
  4. 4WantofaNail Mr. Self Destruct

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    People were joking about it earlier in the thread but I'm seeing some implications that once the CVs are gone there's going to be some problems with white supremacists after the civil war, or during it.
     
  5. Arthur Marston Well-Known Member

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    Why would anyone vote for a Rumsfeld 2.0 when every tenet of American conservatism has been comprehensively discredited?

    Right-wingers can go on about how Rummy and the CVs weren't "true conservatives" but nobody is gonna listen.
     
  6. TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

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    I was one of those people. I said that 90's America would be ruled by somebody who went insane, welded pieces of scrap metal to his face, and believed he was the Red Skull. In retrospect, I'm not sure I was kidding. Objectively, someone like that would not be noticeably more delusional than the Lesser Mao, Malan, Rumsfeld, or Coe. And if this story has a theme, I'd say it's that people, or at least Americans, only ever learn the wrong lesson, and thereby make things progressively worse.

    This Red Skull would rise to power in the former CV states in reaction to the Reconstruction regime, which had reached Morganthau Plan levels of harshness in punishing the states not smart enough to secede when they had the chance, or something like that. The Nixon-Agnew-Wallace troika get thrown out because really, those three decrying anything as too demagogic or punitive is the height of hypocrisy. Britain and France are distracted by the threat of a hardline neo-Stalinist USSR, where the fall of Rumsfeldia was seen as a vindication of actual communism, and MBA communism gets tarred as Rumsfeld lite and not to be trusted. Canada steps in to try stopping the Nazis, but their presence on American soil becomes another rallying point for the Skull, who decries foreign interference in American affairs. And after that, I dunno, more nukes, maybe.

    Same reason they did the first time - they hate other people and wanted to empower someone who promises make the out-group suffer. Giving them the chance will be seen as reckless.
     
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  7. Arthur Marston Well-Known Member

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    Even after voting for that person the first time cost them everything?
     
  8. TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

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    Totally. The less you have, the more you resent your neighbor. Especially if said neighbor rubs your wrongdoing in your face or something rude like that. Then you want to expiate your sin and silence them for good.

    To clarify, I'm not saying I expect Rumsfeldist parties to start winning elections anytime soon, but the very idea of there being a Rumsfeldist party ever again, or even so much as a single Rumsfeldist voter, will just be unacceptable to too many people.
     
  9. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    Well, I commented on the subject a while back. I can imagine in the ruins of the former CSA, there could arise from some far-right demagogic figure who tries to challenge the people rebuilding America. Some Neo-Nazis, some CV remnants, some Neo-Rumsfeldians.

    But realistically, such a group would not last very long if hunted by a professional army.

    As I've said earlier, rebel/extremists groups only really succeed if they have, like foreign backing from a major power, or access to valuable mineral.

    OTL, ISIS and the militias tearing apart the Eastern Congo have access to valuable oil and minerals. Mao OTL was only able to take over mainland China with Soviet backing.

    These Neo-Nazi type groups might be able to be headache to whatever force is trying to rebuild the former CSA, but without some kind of foreign backing, they won't last long. They won't really be able to do much in the smoky ruins of the American hinterland. And I doubt the occupation force, having faced one far-right extremism, will ever tolerate another.
     
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  10. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    That doesn't mean multiparty democracy is over. Rumsfeldians will remain a fringe, but other parties can still thrive.
     
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  11. TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

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    Like I said, the theme of this story for me is the systematic learning of the specific wrong lesson that will cause the most suffering. The occupation force will grow exhausted with the constant disorder and possibly disillusioned by their mandate, depending on just how heinously punitive it is. They'll bug out and create a vaccum that will invariably be filled by the worst possible replacement.

    Other parties could become Rumsfeldian. Like I keep saying, wrong lesson that makes things worse is the recurring motif here.

    Agnew thought he could escape impeachment by pardoning himself? Wrong, made things worse.

    His chief of staff saw what happened, and concluded that Agnew was not corrupt/ruthless enough? Wrong, made things worse.

    George Wallace thought tearing down the party system to make an opening for himself would make the country better? Wrong, made things worse.

    Democrats respond to the failures of the 70's and the success of Rumsfeld and decide to accommodate the latter and move to the right? Wrong, made things worse.

    Libertarians and WTP, disillusioned by the major parties, think they can fix things by splitting off and going their own way? Wrong, made things worse.

    Rumsfeld, having been betrayed by too many Republicans, decides to lean on CV for support, thinking they're more simple-minded and easily led. Wrong, made things worse. His former corporate allies make the same mistake again later, having also learned the exact wrong lessons from his impeachment.

    Responding to Rumsfeldia by outlawing opposition parties would be taking the wrong lesson from it, and make things worse. Which is to say, it is perfectly in keeping with what we've seen so far.

    Other thought - there will absolutely be some analogue to Anti-Japaneseism for America in this story. The absolute worst case scenario I can think of would involve Jack Kevorkian becoming President on a platform of self-genocide. The idea would be that not only did American government fail, but America, built on slaves and stolen land as it is, is inherently immoral and could have ended no other way. There are few to no Native Americans left, so the only recourse is self-destruction and letting nature reclaim its defiled territory. The world looks on in utter disbelief as, in a spectacle that makes Coe's wildest designs look tame, an entire nation marches willingly into its own gas chambers, utterly broken and unwilling to bear existence in this accursed universe any longer. That would be too grimdark even for this timeline. Anything less than that is still in the running, I think.
     
  12. 4WantofaNail Mr. Self Destruct

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    Well I personally think that depends on exactly how many occupation forces there are going to be in the first place. The CVs killed some millions, maybe tens of millions of Americans, on and off the battlefield. There simply might not be enough sane people left alive to effectively stop a few white supremacist warlords from carving out their own personal fiefdoms.

    Though in all fairness I've no idea how much such an ideology has caught on with disillusioned Americans.
     
  13. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    Well, it is the decade of tears. The 1970s was a decade of pain and frustration. If you are conservative, you think Rummy would be the guy to bring the US back to the so-called glory days where Wallace failed. Only, even as this man spouts the word freedom, and instead pushes America further off the deep end. By 1989, this person, having been robbed of his belief in freedom, turns to the CV to have some faint hope in...something. Then, the CV destroy what little remained of the rule of law, and they proceed to unleash a nightmare. Suddenly, your faith in God is rewarded with Douglas Coe becoming the modern day Satan.

    So in despair and desperation, seeing not only your belief in the American system of government, but your faith destroyed, some people might turn to the good ol' Klan just to be part of something. Man, that was depression to write.

    Yes, these groups could become warlords in a broken American nation, but again, once that occupation force can rebuild, they are not going to last long when faced with a real army.
     
  14. Archangel Battery-powered Bureaucrat

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    A mature civil society can change from a left/right extreme to democracy, without changing to the other extreme.
     
  15. TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

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    A mature civil society would have thrown Rumsfeld out on his ass the moment he started disappearing people. This America will never have a mature civil society ever again.
     
  16. Archangel Battery-powered Bureaucrat

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    A mature society evolves over time, even under dictatorial regimes, not always at the same pace in every case or time period. But this is what broke the cycle of polarized regime change in certain countries.
     
  17. TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

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    As I pointed out above, there's no signs of evolution or maturity anywhere ITTL's America. Everyone consistently makes the worst possible decision, and so continues the downward spiral. I could have added another thirty items to that list I made of people learning the worst possible lessons without overtaxing myself.
     
  18. Arthur Marston Well-Known Member

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    But how long is it gonna last? If TTL America is gonna keep fucking up for the rest of time, then frankly I see no reason to keep following this story.
     
  19. TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

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    Well, I've got some bad news. You think Coe is bad? I don't think you've seen anything yet. It wouldn't surprise me if the world ends the 20th century with a lower population than it started with.
     
  20. Arthur Marston Well-Known Member

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    And you know this because?
     
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