Vision is two more chapters. One summing up the Scoop/JIMMEH rivalry and the other serving as an epilogue
Honestly my gut says Jackson wins a close scrape against Carter ( as unlike IRL Jackson wasn't elected President in 76 like IRL Carter was and ITL Carter would be seen as the rightful heir run out of Washington by the swamp ) and then goes on to lose 80 heavily against Reagan or whoever the GOP nominee is. There's a good chance he loses more than Carter did IOTL tbh.

But then my heart want's Carter to get in for justice's sake and payback
For what it's worth I don't think the GOP nominee in 80 is going to be Reagan. Humphrey's manner of dealing with his cancer and his eventual death seem like it would create an enviroment where candidate health and transparency about it will be much more at the forefront. Might encourage the Republicans to go for younger blood.
Thank you. I understand that you probably didn't mean any offense, but the comment definitely read to me as a bit too flippant. But no harm, no foul
I meant more in an ironic sense that this TL was written shortly before, actually I'm struggling to put into words what I meant. Take it as no disrespect intended and me not thinking .
October 21, 1977


October 21, 1977

Jimmy Carter took his seat at the long table and waited for the President of the United States to enter. His colleagues in the cabinet couldn’t help but stare at him. They tried to pretend they weren’t, but Carter could feel it — and it was grating.

In the time between Humphrey’s funeral and this first cabinet meeting, there had been a host of editorials about the Humphrey/Carter relationship. Bob Woodward of Watergate fame announced he had a new book coming out on the matter. Carter had anticipated this because he knew Ham Jordan was cooperating in order to get their side of the story out there. Woodward’s editorial previewing his book’s thesis asked the question: “Did the Humphrey administration engage in a systematic effort to ensure that Jimmy Carter would not be the man to succeed him? How long did they conceal his cancer diagnosis so they could line up the chess pieces?” And then, because he was Woodward and couldn’t help himself, he wrote, “To paraphrase Senator Baker: What did the people around the president know? And when did they know it?”

It was a bit of sensational journalism, and it helped to further erode the wall between a president’s private and public lives. Many in the mainstream press were unwilling to engage too heavily on the matter, but when respected journalists like Woodward peddled their theories in the papers and in books, it became clear that the relationship between the press and the president was changing. In the post-Watergate world, everything smelled like a cover-up.

Carter was uninterested in all of this back-and-forth. He permitted Jordan (and Jody Powell) to cooperate with Woodward’s book only because he didn’t want him to come across as the villain in it. He didn’t care about whether Americans felt he was aggrieved. Interestingly, though, Carter’s public image was changing. The South now revered him as an almost Martyr-like figure. Southern politicians praised Carter, arguing he would have made a fine president, and they aired their grievances — that the Democrats had used their votes to win in ’76 and then turned their backs on the region when it meant one of their own might ascend to the office. Russell Long called it all “disappointing.”

Certainly, Carter was angry and upset. Most of all, he was confused that Humphrey — with whom he thought he had a good, trusting relationship — was so intent to prevent his presidency. He channeled his anger not at the late president but at the current one, who walked into the Cabinet Room with a swagger that irritated Carter from the start.

“Thank you all,” Jackson said. “Please take your seats.”

The Jackson administration had considered asking every Secretary to submit a letter of resignation, so that Jackson could start fresh. They only planned to accept one, but they knew that it would set off a whole new round of articles and editorials about Carter. It would make him the story. Jackson didn’t need that during his first days in the presidency, and so the president himself decided that it was a moot point. Everyone could stay.

“I would like you to know that I consider you all my team. We were in this together with President Humphrey, and we are in it together again now. Same team. Same mission.”

Jackson continued to outline what he identified as top policy priories and asked for a readout from each of his secretaries. Within a few sentences, he arrived at the topic of energy.

“And of course no agenda would be complete without significant attention to the energy crisis in our nation,” Jackson began carefully. “We must look at efforts of conservation, solar expansion, and the like. This will be our administration’s Manhattan Project.” Tall words from a new president, and they should have been welcomed by the Secretary of Energy who was now in charge of a project so large the new president had declared it akin to the effort to create the atomic bomb and end World War II.

There was much that the two could agree on when it came to federal energy policy, but there were also some major sticking points. Most notably, Carter supported decontrol of the gas industry. Jackson was largely opposed, hailing from Washington state where oil and gas prices were rarely as great of a concern as they were for other Americans because the state largely operated on hydroelectric power.

As Jackson read his remarks, he looked up often at Secretary Carter. He greeted Carter’s cold stare with an expression that seemed to say, Get in line or get out.

At the meeting’s conclusion, Jackson got up to leave and all the secretaries made their way out of their chairs. All eyes were again on Carter. Swallowing his resentment — and with more than a mild consideration for the amount of press in the room — Carter led the cabinet in applause. Jackson, caught off guard, brought his hand to his heart. “Thank you,” he mouthed to Carter.

• • •

The iciness and strained pleasantries of their first cabinet meeting together foretold what would become an enduring drama in Jackson’s presidency. Carter and Jackson, who had a friendly relationship before the ’76 primaries, would soon find their names synonymous with Hatfield and McCoy.

The first issue came just days after that first meeting, when the White House put out a statement announcing that James Schlesinger was being named the President’s Domestic Energy Policy Czar. The announcement left many in Washington scratching their heads. Carter was Energy Secretary. What would his job be if Schlesinger was going to be the president’s point-person on passing energy legislation? The announcement left Carter himself just as confused, in no small part because he had received no heads-up from the White House before the release was put out. Instead, a few days later, Jackson hosted Carter and Schlesinger for a meeting where the president outlined his general ideas for the energy legislation he wanted to submit to Congress. Then, they were dismissed. Carter said fewer than five sentences the entire meeting.

Stewing on all of this, Carter agreed to an interview on Meet the Press. Traditionally, cabinet members were offered up to the press for interviews on behalf of the administration, but this time, the bookers pursued Carter separately, perhaps sensing the animosity and hoping to capitalize on it. Jordan did not notify the White House Office of Communications about Carter’s appearance ahead of time, dealing his own retribution about the previous snub from Carter.

To his credit, Carter was aligned with the White House on nearly every talking point about energy matters. Even on the question about decontrol of the gas industry, Carter hedged, saying that he, Schlesinger, and the president had yet to arrive at a definitive plan for Congress. But then, Carter was asked about foreign policy, in particular the ongoing debate over whether or not control of the Panama Canal should be returned to Panama. It was an issue the late President Humphrey had been working to advance at the time of his death, and Carter himself had been one of the administration’s key point people on the matter, helping to make the case to the American public.

Carter initially dodged the question, reminding the interviewer that it was no longer his purview, but during a follow-up question, Carter admitted that Jackson was not, in his estimation, “giving the issue the attention it deserves” and feared that his “slow-walking” would endanger the Treaty’s ratification in the Senate.

President Jackson was enraged by Carter’s comments and the White House informed Jordan that the Secretary was not to speak to the press or put out any statements that had not been previously cleared with the White House. Jordan told the White House Press Secretary blankly, “Kiss my ass.”

The relationship deteriorated from there. As the energy package snaked its way through Congress, the White House believed that Carter was sabotaging them behind the scenes. In reality, Carter and Jackson were more closely aligned on the legislation’s details. The problem was Finance Chair Russell Long. But Jackson, who was not himself involved in the day-to-day negotiations, blamed Carter. Schlesinger did his best to stick-up for the Energy Secretary but it was to no avail.

Finally, the comprehensive package was divided into separate bills — a move Carter strongly opposed. The two most popular bills were passed. The others failed. Carter had predicted the exact income and after Jackson signed them into law, Carter announced his resignation from the cabinet. He and Rosalynn put their Washington home on the market and drove that very night to Plains, Georgia.

When he returned home to Georgia in the early days of 1979, Carter assembled his family and asked what he should do next. Rosalynn was the first to answer. She believed that Carter should launch a primary change against Jackson. He’d already beaten him in the primaries once before, some liberal Democrats were turned off by Jackson’s aggression towards the Soviet Union and blamed him for the unrest in Panama given his delay in getting the treaties ratified. Many Americans were dismayed by the story of how Humphrey robbed Carter of the presidency as outlined in Woodward’s book. It was more Washington seediness. The people wanted none of it.

Carter was interested in it, and he commissioned Pat Caddell to run a series of polls in key states. Could Carter still win? The polling came back and showed that while Jackson was vulnerable, toppling him in the primaries would be anything but certain. Democratic voters liked Carter, and when the ballot question was asked without Jackson as a possible candidate, Carter won overwhelmingly, but in a head-to-head primary, fewer voters felt they had a reason to abandon the incumbent president.

Carter decided to forego a 1980 campaign for president, but not before President Jackson’s team got wind of the potential challenge. They commissioned their own polls as a result and found that Carter was strong enough to create a headache for Jackson — and they speculated that the primary would only enflame the animosities of Southern Democrats, who Jackson would need badly in the general election against the Republican nominee. Jackson did not want to face Carter in a primary.

And so, through backchannels, Jackson arranged a new opportunity for the former veep and former Energy Secretary. An ongoing investigation into Georgia Senator Herman Talmadge had lead to an official denunciation of the senator’s conduct by the U.S. Senate. Senate Democratic leadership informed Talmadge that they would not offer his campaign any support if he chose to seek reelection in 1980. With a primary challenger already announced, Talmadge got the hint. He stepped aside, leaving his seat open.

And so, in the cold winter days of 1980, instead of shaking hands with caucus-goers in Iowa or primary voters in New Hampshire, Jimmy Carter stood in Atlanta, Georgia, and announced that he wanted to go back to Washington — this time as Georgia’s United States Senator. He faced a primary challenge from Zell Miller, but Georgia Democrats rallied behind Carter rather easily. Carter won the run-off with more than 60% of the vote, and in November, as President Jackson narrowly beat out Republican nominee Ronald Reagan to win his own term, James Earl Carter, Jr. was elected to the U.S. Senate.
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Always nice to see Talmadge get pushed out but I'm not sure if Carter is temperamentally suited to do particularly well as a freshman Senator or if he's just biding his time for a run 84'
Have you said who Jackson chose as his VP? I could see someone like Mo Udall, John Glenn, or Lloyd Bentsen.
Jackson pledged it'd be a Southerner in 1980 and I imagine Bentsen is probably a front runner in terms of meeting qualifications and wanting the job.
The iciness and strained pleasantries of their first cabinet meeting together foretold what would become an enduring drama in Jackson’s presidency. Carter and Jackson, who had a friendly relationship before the ’76 primaries, would soon find their names synonymous with Hatfield and McCoy.
Scoop and Jimmy's animosity goes all the way back to when they were both apart of the Anyone but McGovern movement in 1972 and then Carter ended up calling the Jackson team to get selected Veep, from Kaufman's biography
Richard Perle remembered that Carter called Jackson at 4 A.M. with this request: “Would Scoop be willing to approach McGovern to help get Carter selected as his vice president.” A stunned Jackson “could hardly believe what he was hearing.” Carter had spoken of McGovern with nothing but contempt; yet now he was willing to overlook all that in the hope of being selected.” Whatever respect Jackson had for Carter was out the window with that one phone call,” Perle said. “Scoop could not ever think of Carter again without a certain feeling of revulsion.”

Kaufman, Robert G.. Henry M. Jackson (Emil and Kathleen Sick Book Series in Western History and Biography) (pp. 238-239). University of Washington Press.


Scoop and Jimmy's animosity goes all the way back to when they were both apart of the Anyone but McGovern movement in 1972 and then Carter ended up calling the Jackson team to get selected Veep, from Kaufman's biography

Carter — and biographies of him — characterize it very differently. From their perspective, animosity didn’t begin until after the 76 primaries bc Jackson was embittered he’d lost to Carter whom he held in a lower estimation. We love a little historiography discrepancy!
Eyyy was wondering when this would continue! Glad to see an update :)

Can someone please remind me though: Who's "Jordan"?
Jackson pledged it'd be a Southerner in 1980 and I imagine Bentsen is probably a front runner in terms of meeting qualifications and wanting the job.
Bentsen does have the problem that he was perceived by several folks as ‘being the shiny Henry Jackson’. So, Jackson may err to someone who isn’t seen as his Texas Clone.