WI: Oswald gets translator job in ‘62, JFK serves through Jan. 20, 1969

This is clever alternate history in which Kennedy survives an assassination attempt. But then has to fight for his presidency during the second term as a result of affairs, and especially cover-up of same, including destroying Oval Office audio tapes.

* I personally have Lee Harvey Oswald not becoming an assassin at all.

Open Timeline: Feel free to jump in. Please share some of your favorite ideas 🕵️‍♀️, and if it comes down to it, I enjoy multiple possibilities dancing within the same thread. :cool:
Oh god. Not this one.

I feel the urge to link kennedyarchy by Emperor Norton I.
 
So, as a result, I wonder if we still see disco in the 70's (which came out of the gay community after the Stonewall Riots in 69).
You've posed an excellent question. Personally, I think so. Disco and Gay Rights were kind of natural evolutions of the turn of events of the century. Gay Rights came from the Civil Rights Movement. Disco came from Motown which in turn came from Soul. They would've came about regardless of whether or not the Hippies came into their own. It would probably have been a different vibe though. More conservative dress at discotheques (as well as all around). Drug culture would also likely have been different (regardless of how one thinks it might've evolved).
 
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Assuming we don't get WWIII sometime 1964-69 over some crisis due to JFK's hawkishness, the US would end up worse offf than OTL. Delayed civil rights[1], more riots, no medicare/medicaid and most likely retaining the draft into the 80s or 90s.

JFK honestly shouldn't have run in 1960 imo.

[1] being generous here and assuming they still happen. before you say "but it's inevitable!" remember people said the same about universal healthcare in the us multiple times otl. honestly, a live JFK would be one of the easiest minimum-impact PODS to make the 1950s-60s civil rights movement end up fizzling out without much in the way of impact the way reconstruction or the radicalisms of the 1910s diid.
 
Assuming we don't get WWIII sometime 1964-69 over some crisis due to JFK's hawkishness.
Can I ask where this potential WWIII flashpoint would be? The late Sixties were relatively peaceful in terms of US-Soviet relations. The only nuclear close calls were due to mechanical errors in US radar and bomb detectors. One of JFK's main foreign policy goals following the Cuban Missile Crisis was the reduction of tensions with the Soviet Union (look at his American University Speech in 1963 for example). This goal of reducing nuclear tensions was later taken up by Lyndon Johnson, who signed the Outer Space Treaty and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (as did the other two WWII victors, the USSR and the UK). These would likely have been taken up by Kennedy with even more enthusiasm.

Delayed civil rights[1], more riots, no medicare/medicaid and most likely retaining the draft into the 80s or 90s.
I'll agree to disagree with you on your first three posited statements. The retaining of the draft I think is more likely, given that with no LBJ-level draft call ups in Vietnam, the same anger towards the draft will not exist. That said, it's highly possible Nixon still becomes President and still ends it like he did IOTL. That said he might not.

JFK honestly shouldn't have run in 1960 imo.
I can tell.
 
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He nearly got us into WWIII over Cuba OTL. Anyways, it's a good question where the flashpoint/danger spots would be. It's clear that there'd be multiple crises given the relatively hawkish JFK in office until 1969 and probably Reagan or Goldwater in 1968 due to a worse than OTL backlash. There'd be _something_

Vietnam seems like a good source of flashponts given a likely much more aggressive policy than LBJ. I could see faster and larger draft callups than OTL thanks to it being JFK.
 
He nearly got us into WWIII over Cuba OTL. Anyways, it's a good question where the flashpoint/danger spots would be. It's clear that there'd be multiple crises given the relatively hawkish JFK in office until 1969 and probably Reagan or Goldwater in 1968 due to a worse than OTL backlash. There'd be _something_

Vietnam seems like a good source of flashponts given a likely much more aggressive policy than LBJ. I could see faster and larger draft callups than OTL thanks to it being JFK.
I don't think JFK would be willing to escalate Vietnam as much as you said. JFK was always willing to move forward to peace, while it's true he was hawkish, he wasn't exactly a hawk as much as Johnson. There's much evidence that JFK was more willing to set up a peace settlement in 'Nam and had a reluctance for a full escalation.


 
So, as a result, I wonder if we still see disco in the 70's (which came out of the gay community after the Stonewall Riots in 69).
That's not how I remember the evolution of disco, at least in the US. I remember it as an outgrowth of R&B that became "soul" in the early seventies, clearly dominated by African-American influence. Disco grew from 1973 to an early peak in 1976, with only minor influence from the gay community. As disco spread, a new brand of "gay" disco would emerge as the Village People did not emerge until 1977. Later that year, it looked like disco was waning from the mainstream music charts, but the sudden (if not accidental) success of Saturday Night Fever (December, 1977) put new brands of disco on the charts in 1978, including a prominent genre of "gay" disco. As we know, halfway through 1979, disco went into total disfavor, yielding way to refined versions of "punk."
 
. . wonder if we still see disco in the 70's (which came out of the gay community after the Stonewall Riots in 69).
in more optimistic times, people who are different from the norm tend to be more accepted.

But happier times might be slower in producing interesting art? (broad generalization, of course)
 

Ijon Tichy

Kicked
Aren't we assuming that JFK isn't going to face another assasin, even if Oswald develops a bit of cop on? I recently read Joan Didion's Miami, and she portrays that city's Cuban political elite as being a) hopping mad over the Bay of Pigs, and b) extreme enough to take out a US president, given the chance.

(Personally, I've always been agnostic about the JFKonspiracy stuff - for example, I once met two lads who worked with my Da, and they told me that when they (these two, not my Da) had once been in Dallas for a convention, they had a look at the grassy knoll, and they concluded that it would be impossible to shoot from there and stay hidden. On the other hand, there's that photo of at least a dozen witnesses with the palms of their hands on the back of their heads, to show where they saw an exit wound on the skull of Kennedy's corpse).)
 
But happier times might be slower in producing interesting art? (broad generalization, of course)
The rapid evolution of entertainment and art at the time was heavily linked to the proliferation of audio/video technology (hi-fi music, TV) so there would be rapid evolution, though the content (e.g., anti-war) might be different. Also the Baby Boom in 1969 was aged 5 to 23 and they were a big demographic buldge for the seventies.
 
He nearly got us into WWIII over Cuba OTL. Anyways, it's a good question where the flashpoint/danger spots would be. It's clear that there'd be multiple crises given the relatively hawkish JFK in office until 1969 and probably Reagan or Goldwater in 1968 due to a worse than OTL backlash. There'd be _something_

Vietnam seems like a good source of flashponts given a likely much more aggressive policy than LBJ. I could see faster and larger draft callups than OTL thanks to it being JFK.
The threat of WWIII over Cuba was in 1962 (before the POD) and it changed the way Kennedy thought of foreign policy completely. I'm not saying it cured him of some of his hawkish views, I'm just saying I don't see what crisis could spark WWIII. Cuba was the closest we got and I think it would stay that way. ALSO, Kennedy was also not as ardent a hawk as you make him out to be. I will once again point to his 1963 American University Speech as a sign he wanted to cool tensions with the Russians. Vietnam becoming a WWIII flashpoint is also highly unlikely.

And as for Reagan or Goldwater in 1968, the Conservative backlash throughout the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties was fueled by a sense that the country was going down the tubes. We were losing a war to some rice farming peasants, inflation was sky-high, the youth were getting addicted to drugs, and the government seemed to have become inept, untrustworthy, and bloated. These wouldn't have happened to the same extent with JFK for several reasons. He wouldn't have expanded federal power to the same extent LBJ did (LBJ was a Roosevelt protege, Kennedy was a proto-New Democrat). Similarly, Vietnam wouldn't have been AS front and centre in the American publics' mind due to the fact that Kennedy wouldn't have sent as many troops (I'm not saying it wouldn't have happened, I'm just saying it wouldn't have been as big and it would've been handled differently). Law and order would still have been an issue. In addition to this, Goldwater (still the likely nominee in 1964 due to Rockefeller's infidelity) and his conservative ideology would've been damaged by losing an election heavily to the telegenic Kennedy. A bit soon for a Conservative revolution, at least in my mind.
 
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The threat of WWIII over Cuba was in 1962 (before the POD) and it changed the way Kennedy thought of foreign policy completely. I'm not saying it cured him of some of his hawkish views, I'm just saying I don't see what crisis could spark WWIII. Cuba was the closest we got and I think it would stay that way. ALSO, Kennedy was also not as ardent a hawk as you make him out to be. I will once again point to his 1963 American University Speech as a sign he wanted to cool tensions with the Russians. Vietnam becoming a WWIII flashpoint is also highly unlikely. If LBJ, who was utterly inexperienced in foreign affairs, didn't invade North Vietnam or Laos, then Kennedy wouldn't either.

And as for Reagan or Goldwater in 1968, the Conservative backlash throughout the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties was fueled by a sense that the country was going down the tubes. We were losing a war to some rice farming peasants, inflation was sky-high, the youth were getting addicted to drugs, and the government seemed to have become inept, untrustworthy, and bloated. These wouldn't have happened to the same extent with JFK for several reasons. He wouldn't have expanded federal power to the same extent LBJ did (LBJ was a Roosevelt protege, Kennedy was a proto-New Democrat). Similarly, Vietnam wouldn't have been AS front and centre in the American publics' mind due to the fact that Kennedy wouldn't have sent as many troops (I'm not saying it wouldn't have happened, I'm just saying it wouldn't have been as big and it would've been handled differently). Law and order would still have been an issue. In addition to this, Goldwater (still the likely nominee in 1964 due to Rockefeller's infidelity) and his conservative ideology would've been damaged by losing an election heavily to the telegenic Kennedy. A bit soon for a Conservative revolution, at least in my mind.
There's also to take in whether or not the Gulf on Tonkin incident still occurs or not, if things that preceded that event still happen.
 
There's also to take in whether or not the Gulf on Tonkin incident still occurs or not, if things that preceded that event still happen.
Indeed. Kennedy might've saw the Gulf of Tonkin for what it was: nothing. As LBJ put it: "those dumb stupid sailors were just shooting fly fish." That said, the event that really sparked mass deployments in country was the attack on Camp Galloway which would've happened regardless of Tonkin. I suspect even Kennedy would have to give way to deployments on that.
 
Indeed. Kennedy might've saw the Gulf of Tonkin for what it was: nothing. As LBJ put it: "those dumb stupid sailors were just shooting fly fish." That said, the event that really sparked mass deployments in country was the attack on Camp Galloway which would've happened regardless of Tonkin. I suspect even Kennedy would have to give way to deployments on that.
I feel like Kennedy would be willing to "escalate" Vietnam, but not in the way of Johnson. It also depends if we still see the deployment of Napalm still, however...
 
A number of thoughts from someone who was 11 when Kennedy was assassinated, and a teenager through the Lyndon Johnson years:

  • No way Kennedy will open up Cuba. Do you really think Fidel Castro will tolerate, never mind welcome, the man who authorized the invasion of his country? If Kennedy proposed it, Castro would tell him to go pound sand--perhaps in so many words. Opening Cuba to normal relations would have to wait until the next Republican following Kennedy.
  • Side thought: with Vietnam ramping up, a counterculture is virtually sure to develop. But Kennedy might be able to communicate his ideas, intentions, etc. better than LBJ, so what develops may not be as great a departure as the one we knew. It might even lead indirectly to the mods getting an edge on, or at least staying on par with the rockers.
  • Following the Bay of Pigs and realizing that Cuba was a closed door, I don't see how the relatively hawkish JFK would have done anything other than ramp up in Vietnam. All right, perhaps there's no Gulf of Tonkin resolution. But Kennedy, McNamara et. al. would have been looking for reasons/excuses to increase involvement with the ultimate goal an outright win to compensate for the fiascos 90 miles from Key West. I don't claim the buildup would have been the same, except in the qualitative sense that the US would have gotten in deeper and deeper as the '60s progressed.
  • Don't expect Lyndon Johnson to be Kennedy's running mate in 1964. And it certainly won't be Humphrey: putting two northerners, one a Catholic and the other a midwestern liberal, on the ticket, is the surest way I know to have a third party brew up to court the south--or even have a few southern states grit their teeth, so to speak, and vote GOP for the first time since Reconstruction. My money would be on the former, but I digress. Kennedy would more likely choose a southerner with moderate credentials who speaks the language but won't offend northerners: Al Gore Sr. of Tennessee might fill the bill.
  • Expect Lyndon Johnson to return to the Senate by way of the 1964 elections: if it weren't possible IOTL, he'd twist arms, etc., to make it possible. Then he can effectively hold Kennedy hostage: Kennedy would have to come to terms with Johnson to get much of anything through the Senate.
  • Voting Rights Act? Quite likely. Civil Rights Act? Not so much without the martyr aspect to play off. It might get by the House easily enough but getting any version past the Senate will require Lyndon Johnson's cooperation, and his price might be rather steep in terms of all sorts of concessions, Federal $$$ for Texas, and so on. If Kennedy accedes, he'd get what he wanted; if not, we're looking at intramural warfare among the Dems that could well lead to a split in 1968.
  • With declining health and increasing medication, Kennedy may get a bit erratic in the later years of his second term--assuming there is one. Remember Richard Nixon's midnight visit to protesters at the Lincoln Memorial? I could see Kennedy slipping out of the White House for ad hoc get-togethers with his opposition, or even people in general.
  • On that same erratic note, his judgment might be clouded enough such that he (Kennedy) might make an egregiously bad judgment about one of his affairs, which in turn would persuade/allow the woman in question to go public. The timing, if that happened, would be key. If it's before the '66 mid-terms, men are going to nudge each other in the ribs and grin about it, but pass it off as no big deal, while it may give more fuel to the nascent women's movement. If after those mid-terms / before the '68 election, it could spell problems. Women will be put off voting for Kennedy, and men will either be silent or sing the politically correct tune. In any event, it'll tarnish Kennedy's reputation: won't be down there with Warren Harding, but it won't be good either.
  • I don't see Kennedy anointing Lyndon Johnson as his successor in this case, especially if there have been back-room scuffles about what does and doesn't get done. More likely the mantel would fall to Humphrey or (more likely IMO) Scoop Jackson. Either way you slice it, though, waiting for whomever it is will be Richard Nixon--and he'll be determined not to make the same mistakes again. If it is Jackson, the election will be more of a two way race since Jackson's relatively hawklike stances will play better in the south. It might even be enough to dissuade George Wallace from launching a third party bid. But I don't see Nixon losing in '68, since a measure of fatigue with the Dems will have set in by then.
 
That's not how I remember the evolution of disco, at least in the US. I remember it as an outgrowth of R&B that became "soul" in the early seventies, clearly dominated by African-American influence. Disco grew from 1973 to an early peak in 1976, with only minor influence from the gay community. As disco spread, a new brand of "gay" disco would emerge as the Village People did not emerge until 1977. Later that year, it looked like disco was waning from the mainstream music charts, but the sudden (if not accidental) success of Saturday Night Fever (December, 1977) put new brands of disco on the charts in 1978, including a prominent genre of "gay" disco. As we know, halfway through 1979, disco went into total disfavor, yielding way to refined versions of "punk."
Okay, if you’re talking about “Disco Demolition Night” on Thursday, July 12, 1979, that was a joint promotion between a radio DJ and Chicago White Sox owner and showman Bill Veeck. He’s the same guy who back in the early ‘50s put a midget at the plate, who drew a walk, and was then replaced by pinch runner at first. And the same guy who wrote Veeck As in Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck.

* Thursday was inspired genius since it’s a one-day early start on the weekend.

And a chance for teenagers and young adults to act wild. Plus . . .

People put together things in their own way and have complex social views (even if woefully inaccurate!). To some people, disco may have represented African-American music. To other people, LGBTQ+ music before there was even such a term. And some young people may be anti-gay or anti-lesbian because . . .

they have an approach-avoidance conflict, in which something both attracts them and repels them, or​

they may have a habit of the high energy approach from religion, or​

because LGBTQ+ persons make for a convenient scapegoat, or ‘other,’ for the person who is buying into the stereotype.​

Any combo and more may be why some people have a problem with someone else being gay or lesbian or trans or bi- or queer or different in some other fashion.

I sometimes think the destructive side of human nature is at least as complex as the constructive side. And of course, they’re yin-yang and play off each other.
 
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A number of thoughts from someone who was 11 when Kennedy was assassinated, and a teenager through the Lyndon Johnson years:

  • No way Kennedy will open up Cuba. Do you really think Fidel Castro will tolerate, never mind welcome, the man who authorized the invasion of his country? If Kennedy proposed it, Castro would tell him to go pound sand--perhaps in so many words. Opening Cuba to normal relations would have to wait until the next Republican following Kennedy.
  • Side thought: with Vietnam ramping up, a counterculture is virtually sure to develop. But Kennedy might be able to communicate his ideas, intentions, etc. better than LBJ, so what develops may not be as great a departure as the one we knew. It might even lead indirectly to the mods getting an edge on, or at least staying on par with the rockers.
  • Following the Bay of Pigs and realizing that Cuba was a closed door, I don't see how the relatively hawkish JFK would have done anything other than ramp up in Vietnam. All right, perhaps there's no Gulf of Tonkin resolution. But Kennedy, McNamara et. al. would have been looking for reasons/excuses to increase involvement with the ultimate goal an outright win to compensate for the fiascos 90 miles from Key West. I don't claim the buildup would have been the same, except in the qualitative sense that the US would have gotten in deeper and deeper as the '60s progressed.
  • Don't expect Lyndon Johnson to be Kennedy's running mate in 1964. And it certainly won't be Humphrey: putting two northerners, one a Catholic and the other a midwestern liberal, on the ticket, is the surest way I know to have a third party brew up to court the south--or even have a few southern states grit their teeth, so to speak, and vote GOP for the first time since Reconstruction. My money would be on the former, but I digress. Kennedy would more likely choose a southerner with moderate credentials who speaks the language but won't offend northerners: Al Gore Sr. of Tennessee might fill the bill.
  • Expect Lyndon Johnson to return to the Senate by way of the 1964 elections: if it weren't possible IOTL, he'd twist arms, etc., to make it possible. Then he can effectively hold Kennedy hostage: Kennedy would have to come to terms with Johnson to get much of anything through the Senate.
  • Voting Rights Act? Quite likely. Civil Rights Act? Not so much without the martyr aspect to play off. It might get by the House easily enough but getting any version past the Senate will require Lyndon Johnson's cooperation, and his price might be rather steep in terms of all sorts of concessions, Federal $$$ for Texas, and so on. If Kennedy accedes, he'd get what he wanted; if not, we're looking at intramural warfare among the Dems that could well lead to a split in 1968.
  • With declining health and increasing medication, Kennedy may get a bit erratic in the later years of his second term--assuming there is one. Remember Richard Nixon's midnight visit to protesters at the Lincoln Memorial? I could see Kennedy slipping out of the White House for ad hoc get-togethers with his opposition, or even people in general.
  • On that same erratic note, his judgment might be clouded enough such that he (Kennedy) might make an egregiously bad judgment about one of his affairs, which in turn would persuade/allow the woman in question to go public. The timing, if that happened, would be key. If it's before the '66 mid-terms, men are going to nudge each other in the ribs and grin about it, but pass it off as no big deal, while it may give more fuel to the nascent women's movement. If after those mid-terms / before the '68 election, it could spell problems. Women will be put off voting for Kennedy, and men will either be silent or sing the politically correct tune. In any event, it'll tarnish Kennedy's reputation: won't be down there with Warren Harding, but it won't be good either.
  • I don't see Kennedy anointing Lyndon Johnson as his successor in this case, especially if there have been back-room scuffles about what does and doesn't get done. More likely the mantel would fall to Humphrey or (more likely IMO) Scoop Jackson. Either way you slice it, though, waiting for whomever it is will be Richard Nixon--and he'll be determined not to make the same mistakes again. If it is Jackson, the election will be more of a two way race since Jackson's relatively hawklike stances will play better in the south. It might even be enough to dissuade George Wallace from launching a third party bid. But I don't see Nixon losing in '68, since a measure of fatigue with the Dems will have set in by then.
Good analysis. But I don't think that Kennedy's affairs would leak that early. Keep in mind this is still a very Pre-Watergate world, considering that Kennedy's affairs remained covered up until the late 70's.
 

Ijon Tichy

Kicked
Okay, if you’re talking about “Disco Demolition Night” on Thursday, July 12, 1979, that was a joint promotion between a radio DJ and Chicago White Sox owner and showman Bill Veeck. He’s the same guy who back in the early ‘50s put a midget at the plate, who drew a walk, and was then replaced by pinch runner at first. And the same guy who wrote Veeck As in Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck.

* Thursday was inspired genius since it’s a one-day early start on the weekend.

And a chance for teenagers and young adults to act wild. Plus . . .

People put together things in their own way and have complex social views (even if woefully inaccurate!). To some people, disco may have represented African-American music. To other people, LGBTQ+ music before there was even such a term. And some young people may be anti-gay or anti-lesbian because . . .

they have an approach-avoidance conflict, in which something both attracts them and repels them, or​

they may have a habit of the high energy approach from religion, or​

because LGBTQ+ persons make for a convenient scapegoat, or ‘other,’ for the person who is buying into the stereotype.​

Any combo and more may be why some people have a problem with someone else being gay or lesbian or trans or bi- or queer or different in some other fashion.

I sometimes think the destructive side of human nature is at least as complex as the constructive side. And of course, they’re yin-yang and play off each other.
Blondie's Heart of Glass was a disco record by any definition of the term (when I told some young people about this, they were like "who's Blondie?": "these kids today with their long hair and their pot" I said, as I hobbled away on my zimmer frame).
 

Ijon Tichy

Kicked
Good analysis. But I don't think that Kennedy's affairs would leak that early. Keep in mind this is still a very Pre-Watergate world, considering that Kennedy's affairs remained covered up until the late 70's.
It becomes an open secret among "those in the know". Broad hints will be dropped in publications like Playboy, and in a more veiled fashion among the less racier media. And a lot of those doing the "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" will be secretly jealous of the man (even though he apparently could last barely two minutes in bed).
 
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