Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Monday, January 09, 2006

President Goldwater?

Sen. Kennedy, from the fevered swamps of his brain, came up with an illusory Goldwater presidency to explain why a then 14 year old Alito was irreparably tainted so that he could never serve on the Supreme Court. (Don't ask me to explain the logic. I get a headache just following my own sentence.) Jack Kelly did something truly interesting and intelligent, however, when he imagined what would have happened if Goldwater actually had become president -- something that would have been possible if Johnson's government had admitted the Castro/Oswald connection:

It might have meant World War III, because Goldwater certainly would have taken military action against Cuba. It depends on how the Russians would have reacted. My guess is they would have been cautious. Cuba represented an opportunity for great gain for them, but no vital interests of the Soviets would have been threatened if communism failed there. Soviet vital interests definitely would have been threatened if SAC appeared over Moscow, as the Sovs feared in the two weeks following the Kennedy assassination. My guess is Khruschev would have rattled the saber, but not picked it up, when Goldwater took out Castro. The Vietnam war certainly wouldn't have unfolded as it did. Goldwater was an Air Force general, and he wouldn't have pussyfooted around as Johnson and McNamara did. The bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong that Nixon did in 1972 would have happened immediately after the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1965...if there had been a Gulf of Tonkin incident. The North Vietnamese, having had the example of Fidel Castro to profit from, might not have messed around with President Goldwater. Domestically, the Great Society programs that are now bankrupting the country would not have been enacted, at least not in the form they took. Congress would still have been dominated by a GOP/southern Democrat axis, and President Goldwater would have vetoed bills that in his view expanded the federal government overmuch. There'd have been no Nixon presidency (President Goldwater would have run for re-election in 1968), and consequently no Watergate. But there also likely would have been no opening to China. There also wouldn't -- on President Goldwater's watch -- been strategic arms treaties with the Soviet Union. Perhaps this would have led to war. But perhaps President Reagan's strategy of spending them to death would have taken place 15 years earlier. Sometimes coverups are successful, and sometimes they have enormous consequences.
Wow! That's a huge amount of alternative history to flow from one cover-up. It's entirely possible, of course, that the whole world would have been plunged into an nuclear nightmare, but I suspect that Kelly's right, that the Russians wouldn't have pressed that far for a little island south of Florida. Hat tip: The Paragraph Farmer