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Old 11-08-2018, 10:03 PM
 
8,369 posts, read 8,638,866 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rishi85 View Post
I am from India. Always had a fascination with American history and seek new authors to read on their Presidents. I think Arthur Schleisinger(spell?) is one of the finest. I also thoroughly enjoyed Robert Dallek s An unfinished Life on president Kennedy.

I have a question for you : In the book and upon looking online I see that Kennedy is often rated somewhere in the middle but on the higher side among the presidential rankings and above average in historian rankings- why is that?
I mean why not great? It was only 1000 days, where did he go wrong to hover around 20-25 instead of say the top 10.
I am a democrat and am probably predisposed to democrats who were elected President. However, the reality is that first JFK was assassinated before he could do much as President. He served from January 20, 1961 to November 1963. That's two and three-quarters years in office. Its not long enough for most people to be a great president. However, there is a second problem too. JFK was not effective in getting most of his legislation through Congress. I think he got a tax cut through and he got legislation approving the Peace Corps. He also did a good job of preventing a nuclear war by the way he handled the Cuban Missile Crisis. Ultimately, that may be his greatest accomplishment in office.

When people think of JFK most of those who say he was a "great president" cannot identify a single piece of legislation he got passed. It all comes down to image. He had good looks and he had an attractive wife who was 10-15 years younger than he was. It is true that the times were pretty good. The economy was booming, but largely because of global circumstances, not because of anything either the democrats or the republicans had done.

Historians don't rate JFK particularly well. However, ordinary people when asked to rank the greatness of the presidents invariably rate JFK in the top 10 or 15. I think their reasons for doing so are pretty superficial and don't reflect reality.
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:11 PM
 
8,369 posts, read 8,638,866 times
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Originally Posted by rishi85 View Post
Jack Kennedy himself was in a terrible shape pretty much all life, which makes me appreciate his stoic resolve just as a human being. Dalek states in the book that had Kennedy s health files been known to public he'd never get elected.
It would have made some difference. He suffered from Addison's Disease which is an inability of the body to produce an essential hormone. He was hospitalized eight times from 1950 to 1960. He might have died, except scientists figured out how to produce cortisone which was the hormone that JFK needed. If you look at pictures of him carefully, you may be able to make out puffy cheeks.

That doesn't sum it all up though. He had a really bad back. It was so bad that he wore a back brace under his clothing for pain relief. The problem bothered him for many years. I wondered how he met the physical fitness requirements to enlist in the Navy during World War II. After the war, he campaigned for public office and walked the neighborhoods around Boston. His aides remarked that they sometimes thought he would pass out from back pain trying to climb the stairs in some Boston brownstone apartments.

He was not a well man, but he was able to cover up most of it. On the other hand, he probably could have gotten through another four year term as President.

There are many stories of him philandering with women before and during his presidency. I'm sure they are generally correct. However, I have also wondered how a man with those physical problems could have been as "active" as some claim he was.
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:25 PM
 
788 posts, read 302,279 times
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Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
JFK was not effective in getting most of his legislation through Congress. I think he got a tax cut through and he got legislation approving the Peace Corps.

JFK's tax cut was passed and signed by LBJ in 1964.
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Old 11-09-2018, 05:37 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
1,724 posts, read 651,285 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mircea View Post
No, he would have lost the 1964 Election, or lost in the primaries to other Democrat candidates......




.

Excellent post. (can't rep you again yet)


It's also routinely ignored by most JFK-ophiles that the famous MLK march on Washington and "I have a dream" speech was made to embarrass JFK who had not made any significant attempts to keep promises made to the black community. Given their overwhelming voting support of him in 1960 and his slim margin of victory, one would have hold suspect his chances in 1964.
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Old 11-09-2018, 09:13 AM
 
Location: Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA
3,690 posts, read 3,281,892 times
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Originally Posted by Labonte18 View Post
I agree.. Johnson carried all but 6 states. He probably got a little love rub from the electorate that Kennedy wouldn't have gotten, ...

Indeed, in the 1960 election a few "faithless Electors" voted for Right Wing Democrat (!) Senator Harry Byrd of Virginia rather than vote for the Roman Catholic JFK. That didn't happen in 1964.
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Old 11-09-2018, 09:52 AM
 
8,260 posts, read 6,090,066 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
Historians don't rate JFK particularly well. However, ordinary people when asked to rank the greatness of the presidents invariably rate JFK in the top 10 or 15. I think their reasons for doing so are pretty superficial and don't reflect reality.

Landing on the moon is his greatest accomplishment, most likely. And, that.. He gets the credit for it and.. Mostly that's proper. would the push to get to the moon have been as great if he hadn't been killed?

and, honestly.. He kinda started the dream with the public to get to the moon.. Obviously that was the goal of NASA prior to his speech.. But.. All he did was a speech.. I don't want to undersell what his words meant, especially after his death.. Do we get to the moon without those words? Yeah, probably so.
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Old 11-09-2018, 09:57 AM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
34,841 posts, read 42,987,031 times
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I wonder if the Vietnam Nam war would have been less of a misguided quagmire if John Kennedy, or Bobby hadnít been killed. Johnson was such an ass.
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Old 11-09-2018, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
7,114 posts, read 5,276,090 times
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Originally Posted by Nodpete View Post
In 64, yes . But not by democrats today, they would never elect him he was way to conservative.
Seriously? His idea of a tax cut was tor educe the top bracket to 65%...

In 1961 he signed into law federal assistance for education, medical insurance for the elderly, housing legislation, federal aid to struggling areas, and an increase in the federal minimum wage.

Hardly conservative.
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Old 11-09-2018, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
7,114 posts, read 5,276,090 times
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Originally Posted by gentlearts View Post
I wonder if the Vietnam Nam war would have been less of a misguided quagmire if John Kennedy, or Bobby hadnít been killed. Johnson was such an ass.
But I don't know that he was politically any different. JFK and RFK were fresh faced, young, and inspiring, but LBJ was similarly lukewarm about entrenching us in Vietnam. The Gulf of Tonkin incident is what spurred it.
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Old 11-09-2018, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA
3,690 posts, read 3,281,892 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOV View Post
Seriously? His idea of a tax cut was tor educe the top bracket to 65%...

In 1961 he signed into law federal assistance for education, medical insurance for the elderly, housing legislation, federal aid to struggling areas, and an increase in the federal minimum wage.

Hardly conservative.

Not conservative compared to Goldwater or Reagan, but conservative compared to today's Democrat party platform. JFK was a staunch anti-communist who authorized the CIA to train the volunteers who invaded Cuba. And he was ready to get into all-out war with the Soviet Union because they were evil and we were good. Imagine any politician today getting us into a potentially nuclear war because we're good and the enemy is evil.
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