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View Diary: On the anniversary of JFK's assassination, a boatload of speculative what-ifs are still unresolved (144 comments)

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  •  that is very interesting. LBJ had a solid, if (2+ / 0-)
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    viral, Lily O Lady

    often secret record of supporting civil rights. And not just civil rights -- the War on Poverty was his also. He wasn't born rich and didn't identify with the rich and classy.
    So -- it's possible that if JFK had lived, we might have had far less substantial programs than Medicare, Medicaid, Headstart; maybe we wouldn't have had the amazing (and now endangered) Voting Rights Act, but maybe also no Vietnam war?
    I wonder if Kennedy's stance against war is because, unlike G.W. Bush and Cheney, he didn't view it as a video game. He had experienced the awfulness of war. Johnson, OTOH, though in uniform, was never in combat.

    While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

    by Tamar on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:42:17 PM PST

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    •  A lot of that stuff would likely have happened (6+ / 0-)

      at some point, even if not in the same way or at quite the same time.  Civil rights, in particular, was exploding onto the national stage regardless, and the federal government was going to have to act eventually.

      It's also not just a question about what Kennedy would have done, but, if American liberalism took a very different path (one that avoids Vietnam), what future Democratic (and Republican, for that matter) presidents would do.  We often talk about what the Democratic Party would look like if RFK hadn't been assassinated, but JFK's living would have changed it a lot more, and quite possibly for the better.

      •  I'll give you civil rights, but I'm not so sure (0+ / 0-)

        about the social programs LBJ created. His legislative chops and common roots made him more likely to create the Great Society. Kennedy called on all Americans to support their government. Johnson knew that some people truly needed help from their government.

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 05:08:35 PM PST

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        •  Expanding social programs is a general liberal (1+ / 0-)
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          Lily O Lady

          ideal.  Whether or not Kennedy did it, a future president likely would have, in some form or another.  LBJ was hardly the only Democrat (or Republican, in ye old days) to be interested in that sort of thing.

          •  Who? Nixon? Maybe if Humphry had been (0+ / 0-)

            nominated and elected it could have happened. But the Powell Memorandum was written in 1971 and the rightward lurch begun. I'm not sure JFK, while compassionate, could understand how people might need to look to their government for help. I'm giving LBJ his Great Society.

            "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

            by Lily O Lady on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 05:35:05 PM PST

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            •  Are u unaware of JFK (0+ / 0-)

              visiting with poor whites in WVA during the '60 primaries?  Quite a few in that state and unemployment was quite here there at the time, and he needed their votes.  He couldn't help but notice, and be personally affected by, the depth of their poverty.

              Also scenes of JFK getting up early, before dawn, to greet the working man at his factory.

              One of his first acts upon taking over as president was to increase the federal assistance to states for the needy to obtain surplus food.  Not a tax cut for the rich, but a needed govt step up in assistance for the poor.

              Matter of fact, all the Kennedys have consistently been in touch with the plight of the poor.  Ted famously fought often, for instance, for regular and substantial increases in the minimum wage, along with battles for universal health care as a right for all.

            •  If JFK had lived, there wouldn't have been a (1+ / 0-)
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              jsmagid

              President Nixon, most likely.  The whole direction of American politics would be different.

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