Monday, August 01, 2005
What if Kennedy had lived
So my speculation on how history would have unfolded:
- Kennedy would have fairly easily won re-election against Goldwater - not a good presidential candidate though an honorable man & the country wasn't ready for his conservativism.
- Kennedy would have withdrawn from Vietnam. This of course is why so many are sorry JFK died. Two key differences between Kennedy & Johnson were Kennedy's PT-109 service in the military vs. LBJ's undeserved Silver Star, and the Bay of Pigs invasion. Kennedy proved that he would have been willing to pull the plug quickly if the risks outweighed the rewards.
- Most of the Great Society programs would not have been passed, especially Medicare/Medicaid which are now threatening to bankrupt us. If you look at Kennedy's main accomplishments, they are mostly foreign affairs: Partial Test Ban Treaty, Trade Expansion Act, and Cuban Missile Crises - Kennedy lacked the interest & legislative acumen to push through those programs.
- However I doubt that the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act would have been passed, which must count as LBJ's signature accomplishments.
In the end it comes down to whether the cost of not passing the 14th & 15th amendments into law a second time are balanced by an early withdrawal from Vietnam and the avoidance of expensive government obligations that should never have been undertaken. Considering how costly the Vietnam War was to our nation and how the momentum in our nation was clearly against segregation, I believe that our nation's history would have turned out for the better had Kennedy lived.
Final note - believe Oswald acted alone & view Assassins to be Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece.