Von Braun was a big proponent of Earth orbit rendezvous and had to be brought around to lunar orbit rendezvous, like almost all of the rest of NASA. But the engineering studies said that LOR was the only way to make it by the deadline which Kennedy had set. NASA was under orders from the politicians, the ones who were writing the checks. If Earth orbit rendezvous had been adopted and the possible lunar landing had slipped into the mid-late 70s, no one knows if the money for the lunar landing would have come along and the Apollo-Saturn hardware would have been abandoned in the 70's anyway. By 1969 interest among the politicians and citizens in spending the money it took to keep the Apollo-Saturn ecosystem going was already on the wane.