WI: Bill Clinton's Father Lives

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Amadeus, May 16, 2019 at 1:53 AM.

  1. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    Bill Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III. He was named after his father, William Jefferson Blythe Jr. Three months before Bill III was born, his father was killed as the result of a car accident while driving from Illinois to Arkansas. According to Bill Clinton's autobiography, his father had planned to move the family to Illinois before he died.

    What if William Blythe Jr had lived?
     
  2. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps we can see him consider Priesthood and become the pope.
     
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  3. Thomas Jefferson Well-Known Member

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    Marries his high school sweetheart, Hillary Rodham. They both go to law school, and bill ends up becoming a successful personal injury attorney while Hillary is appointed a federal judge by President Jerry Brown. One of her law clerks, Barack Obama, is elected President in 2012 and appoints her to the Supreme Court after Cruz Reynoso retires.
     
  4. Landmass Wave Well-Known Member

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    The Jesuits tried to recruit him when he was at Georgetown.
     
  5. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    Might Bill still want to go into politics? Being raised by his father in what could be a stable home wouldn't change the fact that he was an ambitious man with natural political talent. I don't think Clinton (who'd go by Bill Blythe in this ATL) would settle for personal injury law.
     
  6. Mark E. Well-Known Member

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    He probably would not have earned the Rhodes Scholarship because applicants were restricted by state and there was less competition in Arkansas. His ability to avoid the draft came because the selective service board in Hope, Arkansas wouldn't put him in the rotation until very late in 1968 and by the time he received his notice, he was in graduate school, exempt until the semester ended. In ATL, he would have gone to Vietnam in 1968, but he might very well have submitted his application to Yale Law School. Meeting Hillary in high school is iffy, because first, there are so many schools in the Chicago area, and second, Hillary was a year younger. So an OTL Yale meeting is very likely.
     
  7. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    He might just go to Yale for his entire graduate education instead. But service in Vietnam could have a major impact on his life. Were he to survive the war, it would definitely help his political career.

    Speaking of which, Bill Blythe (as he'd probably call himself) would run for office in Illinois instead of Arkansas. How far could he go? Might he still be elected President?
     
  8. Colonel Zoidberg Well-Known Member

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    Bill Blythe and Hillary Rodham meet doing debate at rival high schools. At first, they hate each other, although when Bill loses to someone else, Hillary is visibly upset, later telling him, “I’m the only one allowed to beat you.” That powerful respect turns into a deep friendship, and the two become vitriolic platonic life partners who rip on each other but would die for one another (kind of like Parzival and Aech in Ready Player One, except with law and politics rather than video games and Easter egg hunting. Now if only Bill adopts the moniker Parzival for some reason, this has the makings of a TL. Call it Ready Air Force One: A President Bill Blythe TL.)
     
  9. Decatur Well-Known Member

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    That won't happen. She's from Park Ridge, an extremely wealthy, all-white suburb where people like the Blythes aren't even allowed inside the city limits, let alone live there. If William Blythe Jr. moves his family to the Chicago area, they either settle in the city proper or one of the blue-collar suburbs like Cicero.
     
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  10. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    Now, it's not always going to work out so well when a teenage son confronts the violent step dad. Sometimes the step dad will take great offense, take it personally, and later wage a variety of sub rosa and open warfare against the son.

    My own dad was a drinker, but was more of a "happy" drunk. He committed his acts of violence and more commonly harsh emotional attacks when he was seething with anger and cold sober.

    People talk about a three-fold cycle of build-up of tension, act of violence, honeymoon period (maybe from release of tension and the person being truly sorry). Well, I didn't really notice that much of a honeymoon period with my dad following his acts of violence.

    * my dad has become a somewhat better man in his older years.

    ====================

    This shit is common enough that it is well worth talking about.

    Bill Clinton likely had months and months extending to years and years of a bad family environment. He also had the rare experience of successfully standing up to his step dad. And his mother left her husband. That is not the norm. For a variety of reasons, including immediate circumstances and lack of better alternatives, people generally stay in negative relationships.

    And, any re-roll,

    Well, many more ways of having an average political career than being president, right? At least it seems that way to me.
     
  11. Mark E. Well-Known Member

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    So, if Bill's father lives, he likely enjoys a much better family upbringing. He did well as it was. We can only speculate as to how he would have progressed in a better environment. Perhaps the difficulties made him more determined to succeed on his own.
     
  12. Colonel Zoidberg Well-Known Member

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    Another possibility: if Bill Blythe, or whatever he ends up calling himself in this timeline (he’s the third, so Trey is a possibility) ends up in the Chicago area, is there any chance he and a certain OTL community organizer end up being friends, or rivals, before they become well-known?
     
  13. Landmass Wave Well-Known Member

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    Bill is 15 years older than Obama. In OTL he was already President when O was elected to the state legislature.

    Most likely wouldn't have been in direct competition - Blythe is at least a governor or senator by that point, not a local activist.
     
  14. Colonel Zoidberg Well-Known Member

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    I did have that thought - maybe Obama gets on with Blythe’s office in Springfield. This may avert him meeting Michelle Robinson, though.
     
  15. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    Of course, I’d hate to wish domestic violence on anyone, as I’m sure you would as well. Usually, people buy into whatever system they’re living under, as just the ocean they swim in.

    Sometimes people side with the underdog.

    Without domestic violence, maybe young Bill sides with the special needs kids? Perhaps he even participates in a math tutoring program in which kids teach kids two or three years younger than themselves, so that math will not be the single biggest reason kids get discouraged with school. And just maybe, he thinks through the issue that . . . a meritocracy is all well and good, but there really should be enough good jobs for everyone, or at least a vibrant and growing middle class.

    Perhaps Bill gets elected to Congressp from a Chicago district, and he really talks about the slow and tragic decline of the American middle class. He rises in Congress, and with colleagues, is effective at finding examples within both states and other countries to reverse this.

    This would be a Congress ascendant timeline! :)
     
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  16. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    Bill Blythe might run for the House in 1974 (as Clinton did in Arkansas) if there is an opportunity. But whether or not he wins would depend on the district he lives in. If he runs and wins, I could see him getting elected to the Senate and then the Presidency. If not, then he could take his OTL path (Attorney General then Governor) but in Illinois instead of Arkansas.
     
  17. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    I'll tell you, I'm so tired about timelines about presidents (even though I'm as guilty as anyone!)

    esp. if Clinton is elected in the "Watergate class" of 1974, I'd much rather see Congress continue to assert itself, during Ford's time as an unelected and minority party president, and even with Carter as an inexperienced president. Congress is happy if either man does positive stuff, but they're not going to sit on their butts waiting.

    * Bill Blythe is just not that good a name as Bill Clinton, and it does make a difference! :p

    All the same, let's say Bill rises to eventual chair of the House "Education and Labor" committee, or "Energy and Commerce" committee, or the powerful "Ways and Means" committee. Yes, Bill makes a career staying in the House, maybe he eventually becomes Speaker of the House, maybe not. Either way, he's easily one of the top eight leaders in the House.

    a Congress Ascendant timeline, and things go appreciably better for the country!

    (at least it would be interesting and different)
     
  18. Mark E. Well-Known Member

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    From what I read, there was some real infidelity in William Blythe Jr.'s marriage. Suppose they make it to Chicago. The marriage might not have lasted, so you are getting back closer to OTL. Young Bill's mother gets remarried, if young Bill is young enough, he takes the new name. It's just that he grows up in a completely different region and market.