| Guest Historian Eric Lipps says, in this scenario in which Chappaquiddick never happened, we explore an EMK Presidency 1977-1985. If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit My AOL site.|
In 1971, Senator Edward M. 'Ted' Kennedy of Massachusetts announces he will run for president in 1972. His declaration transforms him instantly into the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.
Among the first people to volunteer to work in his campaign is Mary Jo Kopechne, who had worked for Kennedy's brother Robert prior to his assassination. She had met Ted Kennedy at a party in Chappaquiddick, Martha's Vineyard, in 1969. The pair had narrowly avoided what could have been a serious car accident while Kennedy had been driving her home afterward.
In 1969, whilst leaving a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy nearly drives his car off a bridge.
Badly shaken, he pulls over to the side of the road for awhile before proceeding to deliver his female companion, Mary Jo Kopechne, to her home and returning to the home of Kennedy cousin Joseph Gargan for the night.
In 1972, five men are apprehended emerging from an apparent break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Police will ascertain that the men are connected with the Committee to Re-Elect the President, President Richard M. Nixon's campaign organization.
In 1972, Ted Kennedy receives the Democratic nomination for President.
To the disappointment of many liberals, he does not choose as his running mate South Dakota's Senator George S. McGovern, who had run a strong second in the primaries. Instead, he picks Senator Henry M. Jackson of Washington State, who is known as a foreign-policy hawk.
In 1972, as expected, President Richard M. Nixon is renominated at the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach.
In 1972, an unemployed Chicago construction worker fires a shot at Ted Kennedy as the Massachusetts senator delivers a presidential campaign speech.
He misses and is apprehended by Kennedy's Secret Service detail. The failed attack is the lead story on all three network newscasts that night.
President Nixon is furious. He rages to his aide John Ehrlichman that the assassination attempt was 'a put-up job' aimed at garnering voters' sympathy for Kennedy, whose brothers President John F. Kennedy and presidential candidate Senator Robert F. Kennedy were both assassinated.
In 1972, President Richard Nixon is re-elected, defeating Senator Edward Kennedy by an even narrower margin than he had won over Hubert Humphrey in 1968.
Nixon?s victory would not have been possible without the votes of supporters of George Wallace, whose decision not to run in ?72 left them with nowhere else to turn.
Some Kennedy supporters will charge that Nixon and his people rigged the vote, and that Kennedy was the actual winner. However, no hard evidence supporting this claim will surface, and Kennedy himself will refuse to endorse the accusation.
In 1973, following a series of revelations in the media linking the Watergate burglars to the Nixon re-election campaign and White House, the Senate begins televised hearings.
In 1973, Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew resigns following revelations that as governor of Maryland in the 1960s, he had accepted bribes from state construction contractors to get their pet projects approved.
Agnew had continued to demand payments after moving to Washington as Nixon's VP, prompting the contractors to turn state's witness against him.
|Spiro T. Agnew|
He will eventually plead nolo contendere to felony charges of tax evasion and money laundering. President Nixon names Michigan Representative Gerald R. Ford to replace him. Ford is quickly confirmed as vice-president.
In 1973, under increasing pressure in regard to his role in the escalating Watergate scandal, President Nixon holds an hour-long question-and-answer session with 400 Associated Press managing editors. Insisting that he has done nothing illegal, he assures them, 'I am not a crook.'
In 1974, facing impeachment and the certainty of conviction in the Senate over the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon resigns. Vice-President Gerald R. Ford is sworn in as the 38th President of the United States.
In 1993, a powerful car bomb is detonated in the parking garage beneath Tower One of the World Trade Center in New York City.
It proves insufficient to bring down the building but does considerable damage, including knocking out the WTC radio and television broadcasting facility. Six people are killed.
Later that day, President Sam Nunn receives a report on the incident, which suggests that the bombing may have been carried out by terrorists linked to a shadowy group known as 'Al Qaeda' which is made up of Islamic radicals embittered by President Edward M. Kennedy's decision in 1980 to steer U.S. aid to Afghanistan's anti-Soviet mujaheddin primarily to secular groups. The report identifies a wealthy Saudi expatriate, Osama bin Laden, as the leader of this group. Bin Laden, the document asserts, had joined the mujaheddin after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and had been furious when the 'believers' he favored were passed over for U.S. funding and arms.
|US Vice President|
In 1993, Vice-President Bradley appears for the first of several days' testimony before Congress regarding the Nunn Administration's universal health insurance proposal, known as AmeriCare.
He faces hostile questioning from several conservative legislators.
The administration's plan will be controversial, and will face determined opposition from the health insurance industry. On June 1, the 'Harry and Louise' commercial, paid for by a lobbying group for that industry, makes its first appearance on television. It attacks the Bradley group's proposal, which is still under debate in Congress, and urges viewers to contact their congressmen to oppose AmeriCare.
In Congress, Massachusetts Rep. Mary Jo Kopechne will be a strong voice in favor of the health care proposal. Active in politics since the late 1960s, Rep. Kopechne has emerged as a prominent liberal spokeswoman since her election to the House in 1986
In 1994, Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas is defeated for re-election by Republican Mike Huckabee.
A significant factor in Clinton's defeat is the whiff of scandal still clinging to him in the wake of his failed bid for the Democratic presidential nomination two years earlier.
Clinton had sought the support of former President Edward M. Kennedy in his gubernatorial run, but Kennedy, wary of being tainted by association with Clinton's alleged financial and extramarital misconduct, had turned him down. Clinton and many of his supporters will be convinced that Kennedy's denial of support tipped the scales in the election. This belief will embitter Clinton toward Kennedy, whom he had previously admired.
Republicans make significant gains in both the House and the Senate, but, thanks to aggressive campaigning on behalf of Democratic candidates by President Sam Nunn and Vice-President Bill Bradley, fail to capture control of either one.
In 1996, President Sam Nunn is re-elected, defeating Republican challenger Patrick Buchanan.
The Republican defeat is convincing enough to prompt talk that the party may need to rethink the increasingly belligerent ideological stance it has been taking during the past few years.
In Tennessee, Senator Albert A. Gore Jr. is re-elected as well. The popular senator is being talked up as a potential presidential contender in 2000. Although Gore himself is careful not to encourage them, his supporters frequently compare the Senator to Presidents John and Edward Kennedy.
Paradoxically given the results of the presidential election, Gore's win is a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy picture for Democrats in Congress, for although the GOP again fails to capture control of either the House or the Senate, it makes further gains in both. It seems likely that if existing trends continue, Congress will go Republican in 1998 or 2000.
In 1994, the federal Resolution Trust Corporation releases its audit regarding the Whitewater Development Corporation, which has been prepared by the prestigious firm Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro.
This 'Pillsbury Report' concludes that neither former Arkansas governor and failed presidential candidate Bill Clinton nor his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton was guilty of any wrongdoing regarding Whitewater. The report states that the Clintons were passive investors in this real estate venture and were misled by active partner James B. McDougal, who himself had apparently been milking the land deal to cover debts incurred in other unsuccessful investments.
Asked about the report's findings by reporters, Mr. Clinton states that he is glad that he and his wife have been vindicated. "However, he goes on, clearly thinking of his recent political misfortunes, "it would have been even better had we never been falsely accused in the first place.
Unspoken is Clinton's resentment of former President Edward Kennedy's denial of support in his failed quest for re-election as Arkansas governor, which Kennedy had made clear was due to Clinton's tainted reputation. The defeated governor believes that the former president should have backed him rather than listen to his political adversaries.
In 2009, family members announced the death of former President Edward M. Kennedy. According to their statement, President Kennedy passed away shortly before midnight on Tuesday, August 25. He had been battling brain cancer since being diagnosed with the disease in May of 2008.
End of the Road at Chappaquddick by Eric LippsKennedy was the last of the four sons of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., the controversial multimillionaire who had served as U.S. ambassador to Great Britain in the 1930s. The eldest brother, Joseph Jr., died in 1944 while on a World War II bombing mission. He was followed by John F. Kennedy, who after entering politics in 1946 served as U.S. representative, senator and finally President of the United States before being assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, and by Robert F. Kennedy, who as a senator from New York ran for president until his own murder on June 5, 1968, just after his victory in the California Democratic primary. Robert Kennedy's death left Edward, commonly known as "Ted," as the last male survivor of his generation of the Kennedy family.
In 1972, Sen. Kennedy ran for president and won the Democratic nomination before being defeated by incumbent President Richard M. Nixon. Following the disgrace and resignation of both Nixon and his first vice-president Spiro T. Agnew, however, Kennedy ran again and once more won the Democratic nomination. As in 1972, he chose Washington Sen. Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson as his running mate. It was in some ways an odd match, for Jackson was considerably more conservative than Kennedy on many issues, but where it had failed in 1972 against Nixon, the Kennedy-Jackson ticket prevailed in 1976 over the Watergate-shadowed Gerald R. Ford and his VP choice, Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York.
Kennedy would comment to several biographers on the role of sheer luck in his rise to the White House. On June 18, 1972, he had been returning from a party on Chappaquiddick Island in Martha's Vineyard, an intoxicated Kennedy had narrowly avoided a fatal accident when his car almost plunged off a bridge. Had the vehicle actually gone over, Kennedy noted, it was likely that either he, his female passenger Mary Jo Kopechne, or both would have died. Even if he had survived, the President suggested, the death of Kopechne might have permanently tarnished him, making his election to the presidency impossible. Instead, he said, the event helped persuade him to seek help with his growing dependency on alcohol, which had worsened after the death of his brother Robert the year before. His struggle with alcohol would inspire his founding, with his first wife Joan, of the Kennedy Center for Substance Abuse Treatment in 1988.
President Kennedy won reelection in 1980, narrowly defeating former California governor Ronald Reagan. Barely two months after his second inaugural, however, he was shot and seriously wounded by former mental patient John Hinckley, who had attempted to assassinate him to impress the actress Jodie Foster, with whom he had become infatuated. Vice-President Jackson was briefly named acting president under the Twenty-fifth Amendment -- the first time this had been done -- until it was clear Kennedy would be able to return to his duties.
In 1983, Vice-President Jackson himself would die, of an aortic aneurysm, forcing President Kennedy to seek a replacement. He selected Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, who would serve until Kennedy left office in January 1989.
As President, Kennedy would champion a number of causes, including health care reform, education and the environment, resulting in, among other things, the passage in 1984 of the Medicare Prescription Drug Pricing Act empowering Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. He would also face a number of crises, including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. His decision to selectively support the secular elements of the anti-Soviet mujaheddin would anger U.S. conservatives, already bitter at his decision in 1979 not to permit the deposed Shah of Iran to come to the U.S. For treatment for lymphoma, and would be opposed even by his own CIA director, Stansfield Turner. Kennedy's critics favored the Islamic fundamentalist factions, which they felt were more strongly anti-Communist. Also enraged would be many of those fundamentalists, including a Saudi expatriate named Osama bin Laden, who would go on to form the terrorist network known as Al Qaeda. In 1993 and again in 2001, this group attempted spectacular attacks against the U.S. The first attack, involving a powerful car bomb parked in the basement of the World Trade Center, did limited damage to the Trade Towers, resulting in six deaths; the second would be thwarted altogether after then-President John McCain responded forcefully to warnings that Al Qaeda was planning another strike against the United States.
After leaving the White House, President Kennedy would continue to advocate for his favorite causes, though his support would prove insufficient to overcome GOP opposition to the Nunn Administration's 1993 AmeriCare proposal for national health coverage.
He is survived by his second wife Victoria, two grown sons, Edward M. Kennedy Jr. of Branford, Conn., and United States Representative Patrick J. Kennedy of Rhode Island, two stepchildren, Curran Raclin and Caroline Raclin, and a sister, Jean Kennedy Smith.
In 1988, the Republican national convention opens in New Orleans, at the Louisiana Superdome. New York's Rep. Jack Kemp (pictured) has emerged as the clear front-runner for the presidential nomination, but supporters of several other candidates, especially the Rev. Pat Robertson, are demanding concessions regarding the party's platform.
Family Values by Eric LippsThree days later, as expected, Jack Kemp receives his party's presidential nomination. In his acceptance speech, he announces he has asked Senator Phil Gramm to be his running mate. The choice of Gramm is widely seen as a compromise with the forces of insurgent candidate Rev. Pat Robertson, whose large evangelical following is considered crucial to Republican victory in the fall; Gramm is considered "acceptable" to both mainstream conservative Republicans and the so-called Christian Right, whose members tend to distrust Kemp.
The GOP platform this year shows the influence of the Reverend Robertson and his followers: it pledges renewed fealty to "family values", opposition to abortion, and support for a constitutional amendment to "legalize prayer in the schools of this nation". In addition, outspoken Georgia Rep. Newt Gingrich, influenced by Dr. Edward Teller, has pushed through a plank demanding of a massive increase in funding for the Office of Strategic Defense to develop technologies which will "render nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete".
In 2010, on this day a U.S. passenger airliner lands in Vietnam, at Hanoi's International Airport. It is the first such landing since the fall of Saigon in 1975 ended in the Vietnam War.Hanoi Horror by Eric Lipps
Before any passengers can disembark, however, a powerful bomb explodes, igniting the aircraft's engines and incinerating the plane in an explosion whose resultant fireball is visible for miles. It will latter be determined by forensic examiners that the bomb had employed military-grade explosive, giving rise to a variety of conspiracy theories spanning the political spectrum. Those theories are not quashed by the immediate attempt by Al Qaeda to take responsibility for the attack, because several other terrorist groups, including Islamic Jihad and Indonesia's Tamil Tigers, will also boast of being behind it.
Only in 2018 will it be learned that a previously unknown radical South Vietnamese group had planned and carried out the bombing with the intent of derailing normalization of U.S.-Vietnamese relations. The group, it will be learned, had the aid of revanchist U.S. military personnel, who provided the explosives and some technical assistance but who were told the target would be a Chinese plane rather than an American one and that the objective was to destabilize the Hanoi regime by provoking a military confrontation with Beijing.
The duplicitous scheme works, prompting President John McCain to sever all ties with Hanoi, setting relations between the U.S. and Vietnam back essentially to where they had been at war's end. Even after the true identity of the bombers is revealed, it will be years before another American passenger plane lands in Vietnam.
In 2008, Thursday, 9:08 AM from the National staff at The Boston Globe ~
Kennedy Family Tragedy by Eric LippsFormer President Edward M. Kennedy has been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, his doctors said Tuesday, and the prognosis appears uncertain at best for the last surviving brother of the famed Kennedy clan, who has been an enormous force in American politics for nearly half a century.
The announcement was made three days after Kennedy, 76, was stricken at the family's Hyannis Port compound. Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a battery of tests, including a biopsy, and identified a cancerous mass on the top left portion of his brain as the cause of his seizure.
The news sent shockwaves across Massachusetts, which he represented in the Senate after winning the 1962 election to fill the seat of his brother John, the first President Kennedy, until his victory in the 1976 presidential election, and across Washington, where he is held in high esteem by Democrats and Republicans alike. "The usual course of treatment includes combinations of various forms of radiation and chemotherapy," said a statement by Dr. Lee Schwamm, a neurologist, and Dr. Larry Ronan, Kennedy's primary care physician.
But the two Mass. General physicians added that decisions about the best course of treatment would be made after more tests and analysis. They described the senator as "in good overall condition ... up and walking around the hospital ... in good spirits and full of energy".
While his doctors said he will remain at Mass. General "for the next couple of days," Kennedy associates said they expected him to push for his discharge as early as Wednesday.
The prognosis is highly variable at best, ominous at worst, and it raises the possibility that the workhorse lawmaker will be unable to complete the final years of his eighth full term.
Despite the bad news, a Kennedy associate said that the senator shows no symptoms, remains upbeat, and has warned small groups of aides that he wants them back at work.
The associate, who requested anonymity, said Kennedy is plotting his course of treatment as if he were mapping strategy to promote a major piece of legislation, peppering his doctors with questions and planning to reach out to other specialists before determining a course of action.
Kennedy's type of cancer, known as a malignant glioma, is the most common kind of brain tumor in his age group. About 9,000 such malignancies are diagnosed each year in the United States.
Dr. Patrick Wen, clinical director for neuro-oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, called a malignant glioma, in general, "a really serious tumor," usually Grade 3 or 4 on a scale where 4 is most severe.
"The average survival for a Grade 4 tumor is 14 or 15 months," Wen said. "For a Grade 3 tumor, it's two to three years. Unfortunately, the older you are, the worse it is. The biology of the tumor is worse, it's more aggressive".
The senator and his wife, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, were given the diagnosis late Monday by his doctors.
His wife arrived yesterday at Mass. General at 6:20 a.m., stepping out of a black sport utility vehicle and walking briskly inside. His sons, Edward M. Kennedy Jr. and US Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, arrived at 9:45 a.m. Kara Kennedy, his daughter, also spent yesterday at the hospital, as did Kennedy's two stepchildren, Curran and Caroline Raclin.
None of the Kennedys talked to the reporters standing watch outside. Neither the family nor Kennedy's office issued public statements, but late in the day they allowed photographers from the Globe and Associated Press to shoot pictures of Kennedy and members of his family.
Once the announcement was made, in the form of an e-mail to reporters, reaction was broad, swift, and solemn. Dana Perino, Bush's spokeswoman, said the president "was deeply saddened and would keep Senator Kennedy in his prayers".
Kennedy's hospitalization Saturday triggered alarm in the political world and drew an outpouring of support from around the nation. The concern abated when friends and associates said later that day that he was talking and joking with family, watching the Red Sox on television, and getting takeout from Legal Sea Foods.
But as word of the new diagnosis traveled quickly yesterday, his constituents expressed sadness upon hearing the news.
"Oh, my God," said Lisa Rappoli, 55, of Belmont. "It's a shock, just a shock".
I just felt sorrow, but I'm praying, wishing that he has at least a good chance," said Angelo Vespa, 43, of Newton. "All that he's gone through, it's really said".
As Senator and later President, Kennedy made a career of championing the causes of the least fortunate in American society. After leaving the White House at the conclusion of his second term in January 1985, he continued those efforts, acting as an elder statesman of the Democratic Party. His ability to forge bipartisan agreement has brought sweeping changes to entire sections of federal law dealing with healthcare, mental health, the disabled, early childhood education, labor, civil and voting rights, and immigration. His first major speech on the Senate floor was in support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
To Massachusetts, Kennedy has helped bring enormous sums of money for funding medical and other scientific research, infrastructure, historic preservation, and aid for the state's older cities.
A summary of Kennedy's political achievements, compiled by his staff, is 50 single-spaced pages long.
"That's the trimmed-down version," an aide said recently.
Kennedy is the only one of the four brothers to live through middle age. His three brothers all died prematurely: Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., killed in 1944 on a World War II bombing mission; John F. Kennedy, assassinated in Dallas in 1963; and Robert F. Kennedy, assassinated while campaigning in Los Angeles in 1968.
Political success and personal tragedy have marked the epic story of one of the nation's most famous families. Edward Kennedy's son, Patrick, and nephew Joseph P. Kennedy II became congressmen, and a niece, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, served as lieutenant governor of Maryland.
Three other nephews died tragically - John F. Kennedy Jr. in a plane crash, Michael Kennedy in a skiing accident, and David Kennedy from a drug overdose. Two of Edward Kennedy's children, Edward Jr. and Kara, are cancer survivors.
Kennedy has suffered through his own misfortune and failure. In 1964, he suffered a broken back in a small plane crash in Western Massachusetts that resulted in the death of the pilot and one of Kennedy's aides. His marriage to his first wife, Joan, ended in divorce in 1985, shortly after the couple's departure from the White House, and as the third Kennedy brother to seek the presidency, he lost the 1972 election to Richard Nixon in a hard-fought contest some Kennedy partisans, with Watergate in mind, still insist was stolen.
Ironically, however, the Watergate scandal would help make possible Kennedy's successful second run for the White House four years later, in which he and running-mate Sen. Henry M. 'Scoop' Jackson would defeat President Gerald R. Ford and Vice-President Nelson A. Rockefeller. Kennedy's win in that election left his Senate seat open; then-governor Michael S. Dukakis appointed Lieutenant Governor Thomas P. 'Tip' O'Neill to fill the vacancy. O'Neill would remain in that seat until his retirement in 1987.
Kennedy had suffered from what insiders describe as a "serious" drinking problem in the 1960s, apparently exacerbated by the personal tragedies he suffered during that decade. However, after nearly driving his car off a bridge while returning with a female companion from a party in Chappaquiddick, Martha's Vineyard in July of 1969, a close call he blamed on his having been intoxicated, the Senator sought counseling and has apparently remained sober since that time. His passenger in the near-accident, Mary Jo Kopechne, would work for all three of his presidential campaigns and would eventually seek office herself, winning election to the House of Representatives in 1986. Kennedy and his first wife Joan, who remained on good terms following the breakup of their marriage, founded the Kennedy Center for Substance Abuse Treatment in 1988.
In 2009, on this day former U.S. President and football star Jack Kemp died at the age of 73, after suffering from cancer, his spokeswoman announced.
Legacy of a Bleeding Heart Convervative by Eric LippsHe was a tax-cutting Republican who described himself as a "bleeding-heart conservative".
He represented western New York for nine terms in Congress, then ran for President in 1988, defeating Democrat Richard Gephardt to succeed President Gary Hart, after Hart's bid to win his party?s nomination for a second term collapsed amid the Donna Rice scandal.
In office, his greatest success was Operation Desert Wind, the Kuwait intervention following Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's attempted military conquest of that country. Immediately after Desert Wind, his popularity stood at 91 percent in the Harris and Gallup polls.
Unfortunately, his domestic policies would bring those numbers crashing to earth. A long-time advocate of the gold standard, President Kemp would use his post-Desert Wind clout to push through Congress a measure legalizing private ownership of gold and authorizing limited gold coinage. However, the Sinclair scandal, in which wealthy Connecticut investor James Sinclair exploited fears of war in the wake of the overthrow of Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev by military hard-0liners to run the price of gold to unprecedented heights after first purchasing huge amounts of the metal with the aid of an international syndicate, would tarnish Kemp badly. Sinclair had been a prominent Kemp backer in 1988, and critics would suggest (though never prove) that the President had made a deal with the goldbug in exchange for his support. It would not help that another of the President's favorite ideas, the "urban enterprise zones" he had induced Congress to authorize as an alternative to welfare, proved far less effective than Kemp had promised. By 1992, he would be struggling to hold onto his office.
It was a struggle he would lose. That November, Georgia senator Sam Nunn would defeat President Kemp at the polls.
In 1994, the ex-President would run for the U.S. Senate, defeating three-term incumbent Daniel Patrick Moynihan in one of the closest senatorial races in U.S. history. He was re-elected in 2000 and again in 2006.
His spokeswoman Bona Park said he died at his home in Washington.
Political colleagues of both parties paid tribute to him, with fellow ex-President Edward M. Kennedy, himself diagnosed with terminal cancer, calling him "one of the nation's most distinguished public servants".
Former President John McCain said: "Jack will be remembered for his significant contributions to the Reagan revolution and his steadfast dedication to conservative principles during his long and distinguished career in public service".
His greatest legacy may stem from his years as a congressman from Buffalo, especially 1978, when his argument for sharp tax cuts to promote economic growth became Republican party policy, which has endured to this day.
In 1981, U.S. President Edward M. Kennedy is shot and gravely wounded by a former mental patient named John Hinckley.
Scoop Jackson's Eight-hour PresidencyUnder the provisions of the Twenty-fifth Amendment, Vice-President Henry M. Jackson becomes acting President, until it is clear that Kennedy will recover. Afterward, comedians will have a field day with jokes about Jackson's 'eight-hour presidency.'
Following Hinckley's arrest, it will emerge that the would-be assassin has been stalking the President for months, and that his motive for attempting to kill Kennedy was not political but instead a desire to impress the actress Jodie Foster, with whom he has become obsessed since seeing her in the movie Taxi Driver.
An odd consequence of the shooting will be the cancellation of the TV superhero spoof The Greatest American Hero, whose lead character had been named Ralph Hinckley. Given Kennedy's near-assassination, on top of the successful assassination of his brothers President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, the ABC television network will decide that retaining this series is bad for its public relations.
This post is an article from Eric Lipps's No Chappaquiddick thread.
In 1986, President Gary Hart delivers his State of the Union address. He had hoped to be able to refer in his speech to a successful launch of the space shuttle Challenger carrying into orbit Christa McAuliffe, the New Hampshire social studies teacher chosen to be the first civilian to fly aboard the shuttle and already dubbed the "teacher in space" by the media.
Teacher in Space by Eric LippsHowever, engineers at NASA contractor Morton Thiokol warned that earlier fixes to the spacecraft's O-ring seals might not be enough to prevent a catastrophic failure in the unusually cold weather of the scheduled launch date, and as a result, the planned liftoff has been delayed.
The shuttle's continuing unreliability, which has repeatedly led to mission postponements, has become a sore point between the Hart administration and Congress on the one side and NASA on the other. The President is considering ordering NASA to begin work on a new generation of orbiter designed from the beginning to avoid the problems encountered with the existing shuttle fleet. None of this registers with Hart's growing chorus of critics, who will quickly brand the delayed launch of this much-ballyhooed mission "one more bungle on the part of an incompetent administration".
This article is set in the No Chappaquiddick timeline in which explores the consequences of an EMK Presidency 1977-1985.
In 1983, physicist Edward Teller informs U.S. President Edward M. Kennedy that "recent breakthroughs" in X-ray laser technology have made possible the development of what Dr. Teller asserts can be a "100 percent effective" defense against nuclear missiles.
TedK Authorizes "Star Wars"Teller claims that a single module of the system he envisions, one "the size of an executive desk", would be able to counter a full-scale Soviet ICBM attack.
The President is familiar with anti-ballistic-missile technology, having been involved in Senate debates on the subject as far back as the late 1960s. Based on the questionable history of ABM efforts, which have never produced a working system, he is skeptical of Teller's claims despite the scientist's fame as "father of the hydrogen bomb".
Nevertheless, he informs Teller that he will support an increase in research funding for this project. He cautions, though, that he will make no public announcement on the subject. "Why tip off the Soviets about what we're doing?" he asks rhetorically. "And besides, if we go public with this and then we can't get the damn thing to work after all, we'll look like idiots".
Dr. Teller assures Kennedy that there is no danger that the technology will turn out to be unworkable, but agrees that it is probably best not to publicize the project. He leaves the office satisfied.
This post is an article from the No Chappaquiddick timeline by Eric Lipps.
In 1985, on this day four Palestinian terrorists seize control of the passenger liner MS Achille Lauro off the coast of Egypt. Holding the passengers and crew hostage, they directed the vessel to sail to Tartus, Syria, and demanded the release of 50 Palestinians then in Israeli prisons. After being refused permission to dock at Tartus, the hijackers murdered wheelchair-bound American passenger Leon Klinghoffer and threw his body overboard.
The Achille Lauro Affair by Eric LippsThe incident provides a harsh test of President Gary Hart's administration. The President, fearing he will be charged with "weakness" by conservatives, first advises the Egyptian government against negotiating with the terrorists and then directs that a military response be readied. In consultation with the Israelis, whose successful 1976 raid on terrorists holding hostages at Uganda's Entebbe Airport had been made into a television movie, Hart directs that U.S. Marines storm the ship, which had returned to its port of origin, Alexandria.
The raid is a distinctly mixed success. Three of the four terrorists are killed, and the fourth, Abu Abbas, taken prisoner. However, several hostages are killed, including Marilyn Klinghoffer, wife and now widow of the man murdered earlier by the terrorists. It will be rumored for years that Mrs. Klinghoffer was shot by one of the U.S. troops.
In the aftermath, President Hart will be sharply criticized by liberals, including his immediate predecessor President Edward M. Kennedy, for taking armed action in preference to negotiations. Conservatives will join in, criticizing the Hart Administration for "bungling" the rescue attempt..
Kennedy's criticism will be particularly painful for Hart. The two men had been friends, and Hart had been among the second President Kennedy's strongest supporters in the Senate; EMK's sharp words will feel like a personal betrayal.
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© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.