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Old 11-21-2013, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Vegas
1,789 posts, read 1,895,378 times
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Everywhere one looks on TV these days there's a story about JFK. In my daily scan of 400 websites, I've already seen a dozen stories on him.

But, what's the big deal?

Okay, let's all agree that he was a true war hero – unlike another politician from Mass. who will remain unnamed. He served in the House for 6 years, then the Senate for 8 – apparently doing an adequate job. He beat some weak opponents in the primaries and faced Tricky Dick in the General, winning just by 2 10ths of 1 percent. Only because electors from Mississippi, Alabama, and Oklahoma voted for Harry Byrd did he win.

In foreign policy he ended up with the Berlin Wall, the disastrous Bay of Pigs, The Cuban Missile Crisis, supported a dictator in South Vietnam [leading to the expansion of US involvement in that area], backed the Ramadan revolution in Iraq, said Israel would endure, and came up with the Nuclear Disarmament Treaty. He was also responsible for the creation of the Army's Special Forces – known as the Green Berets – an element specially designed for supporting the government of South Vietnam.

He created The Peace Corps, probably his best accomplishment and manged to lower taxes in spite of Democrat opposition in Congress, creating an economic boom.

But what about personally. He was the son of a notorious bootlegger who made millions by breaking the law of the land. He grew up in wealth and luxury, never having to work at a “real” job. And, compared to JFK, Clinton was a virgin. Everybody – including his socially selected wife, knew he dorked women in the White House and almost everywhere else he went – not even counting the notorious affair with Marilyn Monroe. One thing at least – he never stood up before the American people or the world and told bald-face li8es.

So, I again ask – what's the big deal about JFK?
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Old 11-21-2013, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,276 posts, read 20,242,528 times
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Camelot was a lot of fun, especially since it got televised into the peasant's huts.

The Kennedys were the embodiment of charm and grace, they radiated a royal aura and America liked getting caught up in the fairy tale aspects. That the saga ended with the martyrdom of the handsome Prince, dying in the arms of the beautiful Princess, shored up the legendary feeling of it all.

The soap opera aspects aside, JFK was an incredibly powerful and effective public speaker, employing a sophisticated, classic style of rhetoric which seemed to lift him above the ordinary and served to inspire others.

Further, JFK was the Baby Boomer president, that generation was between 10 and 15 years old when his administration began. Eisenhower had been a vague, grandfatherly type figure to this generation, but JFK was the young, cool dad who understood the kids and got them to relate to him on a personal basis.

Finally, JFK was also the first tv president right at the time that tv was becoming extremely influential. JFK seemed to have an intuitive grasp of what television did....it invited the public figures into America's living rooms where the guest was expected to be gracious and well mannered, precisely what JFK was. By contrast, having a shifty character like Nixon in your living room meant that you counted the silverware after he left.

So, if you wish to know why JFK was so loved, do not focus on his accomplishments and failures, concentrate rather on the image that was built, and to which many still cling. It is not much different from the Reagan dynamic, another president who is revered in a manner inconsistent with actual accomplishments.
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Old 11-21-2013, 10:55 AM
 
1,420 posts, read 2,775,950 times
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If he doesn't get shot, maybe he's just another president.
He was handsome. People vote on looks and perception. (Nixon won the debates according to radio listeners but lost according to TV viewers).
Was the muscle behind the greatest achievement in human history, the Apollo Lunar Expeditions.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:05 AM
Status: "Trump - excepting Jorgensen, the least of multiple evils" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
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It's a case of emotion and superficiality over-ruling reason.

At age 43 at the time of his inauguratuion, he was one of the youngest men ever to occupy the White House (Obama was inaugurated at 47) and he surely had the looks to impress that shallow portion of the electorate that gets its knowledge of public affairs (appropriate similie) from the trash at supermarket checkouts and votes on the shallower issures.

And at the time of his election. his sexual conduct wasn't brought up much because in that day "nice people" simply didn't talk about such things in public.

In fairness, it was a time when the impending coming-of-age of the Baby Boom generation, born on the heels of World War II, and "handed the keys" to an economic powehouse that would face no serious rivalry for another twenty years, was going to effect some big changes no matter who was in power. But the organization of the young, whether in organizatons like the Peace Corps, in the Kennedy camp, or in the counter-cultural "Summmer of Love" seven years later, was a phenomenon not encountered for a long time previously.

As it turned out, it was a President of an entirely different cast who set the stage for a huge economic boom (mostly by simply mitigating the extremes of fifty years of control of Congress by one party) and put an end to the last of the great slave-states which almost destroyed all of democratic pluralism back in the Thirties and Forties.

Last edited by 2nd trick op; 11-21-2013 at 11:33 AM..
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 7,850,272 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheektowaga_Chester View Post
If he doesn't get shot, maybe he's just another president.
He was handsome. People vote on looks and perception. (Nixon won the debates according to radio listeners but lost according to TV viewers).
Was the muscle behind the greatest achievement in human history, the Apollo Lunar Expeditions.
Instead of "maybe", it's more like "probably", IMO. There was similar interest/hero worship of James Garfield and William McKinley because of their assassinations. It's just that after more than a century, it wears off.

Besides, what tops a fiftieth anniversary except a 100th or 150th or 200th? The 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1976 was a big deal!
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Waiting for a streetcar
1,137 posts, read 1,234,360 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sargentodiaz View Post
Everywhere one looks on TV these days there's a story about JFK. In my daily scan of 400 websites, I've already seen a dozen stories on him. But, what's the big deal?
The big deal was the veritable sea change in American life that JFK's election brought about. The 1950's were a dark gray narrow and dispiriting decade of decline and defeat. And then, instead of a stumbling worn out old warhorse in the White House, there was a man of intelligence, someone full of enthusiasm, youth, and vigor. And instead of the dowdy old Mamie, there was the elegant and graceful Jackie. The country was infected and inspired by these things. This is why the Kennedy's were beloved. And then it was all snuffed out.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:28 AM
 
31,371 posts, read 33,522,815 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd trick op View Post
It's a case of emotion and superficiality over-ruling reason.
That's a rather unsurprisingly cynical view. Personally, I think that Kennedy was the embodiment of a post war American ethos that saw no limit to what could be and as a national leader inspired the nation to achieve a vision that he espoused which was in stark contrast to what the nation would experience following his assassination.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:30 AM
 
32,525 posts, read 32,476,754 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fairlaker View Post
The big deal was the veritable sea change in American life that JFK's election brought about. The 1950's were a dark gray narrow and dispiriting decade of decline and defeat. And then, instead of a stumbling worn out old warhorse in the White House, there was a man of intelligence, someone full of enthusiasm, youth, and vigor. And instead of the dowdy old Mamie, there was the elegant and graceful Jackie. The country was infected and inspired by these things. This is why the Kennedy's were beloved. And then it was all snuffed out.
This.

We believed we could do extraordinary things as a country when Kennedy was president. He inspired us to do more, to reach further, to work together, to serve others. His death changed how we thought about ourselves and each other and our country. A wonderful spark was taken away that day.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:33 AM
 
10,724 posts, read 10,362,879 times
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Quote:
Everywhere one looks on TV these days there's a story about JFK. In my daily scan of 400 websites, I've already seen a dozen stories on him.

But, what's the big deal?
I get your point and I'll even acknowledge there is something to it. The real JFK is something different than the Camelot myth that Americans in the 1960's were spoon fed. Here's why he was such a big deal though:

1. No one could speak like JFK with the possible exception of FDR. The man was a gifted orator and his speech writer, Ted Sorenson, was as good as they get for mastering rhetoric and cliche.

2. He was handsome and he had a beautiful wife that both women and men dreamed about. Jackie knew how to groom and wear clothing too and that enhanced her appearance further.

3. You had to understand the time. This country was being moved by men and women who had fought in World War II and were hitting their late thirties and forties during his presidency. Jack was a war veteran and when he used lines in his inaugural address (referring to his generation) about being "disciplined by a hard and bitter peace" (referring to the Cold War that followed World War II) he spoke to the very heart of that generation and its desire for peace and a better world for their children.

4. Jack was actually in fairly poor health, but gave off an aura of strength and energy. It was less an intellectual thing than it was an emotional thing for many people. They thrived off that energy and he fired their imagination as a political candidate and a President.

5. The press treated Jack well. They did this because: 1. Because the economy was good; 2. America was the unchallenged leader of the world; 3. Jack had been a journalist earlier in his life and he understood the "tricks of the trade; 4. In those days, people tended to believe the President when he said something.


Quote:
Okay, let's all agree that he was a true war hero – unlike another politician from Mass. who will remain unnamed. He served in the House for 6 years, then the Senate for 8 – apparently doing an adequate job. He beat some weak opponents in the primaries and faced Tricky Dick in the General, winning just by 2 10ths of 1 percent. Only because electors from Mississippi, Alabama, and Oklahoma voted for Harry Byrd did he win.
Jack was no more a war hero than millions of other people who served overseas. Although, I do admit the story of PT 109 is an engaging story. I think the "war hero bit" in his case is real, but overplayed. As for your remaining points though, you are wrong. Jack won the election with 303 electoral votes to 219 for Richard Nixon. He did lose Mississippi. He lost five of eleven electoral votes in Alabama. He lost Oklahoma too. But the point is that he could afford to lose them all with a victory margin of 303 electoral votes. What almost did cost JFK the election were the votes in Texas and Illinois. Mayor Daley probably engaged in some election fraud in Chicago that "pumped up" JFK's vote margins there. Nevertheless, he still could have carried the day unless Texas had been lost too. Texas is more controversial than Illinois. If there was any fraud there it was much less blatant and JFK may have legitimately won the state because he was prescient enough to put LBJ on the ticket with him. My hunch is that when the votes were counted that JFK did indeed win, but perhaps by an even narrower margin than the official tally shows. Election fraud was limited to democrats either. There were tales of fraud in Ohio too which went to Nixon by a slim margin. Nixon had an opportunity to contest the election and chose not to do so.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...election,_1960

Quote:
In foreign policy he ended up with the Berlin Wall, the disastrous Bay of Pigs, The Cuban Missile Crisis, supported a dictator in South Vietnam [leading to the expansion of US involvement in that area], backed the Ramadan revolution in Iraq, said Israel would endure, and came up with the Nuclear Disarmament Treaty. He was also responsible for the creation of the Army's Special Forces – known as the Green Berets – an element specially designed for supporting the government of South Vietnam.
Jack didn't cause any of the things you mention above with the exception of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. He had to sign off on that and its unfortunate that he did because it may have lead indirectly to the Cuban Missile Crisis (CMC) in 1962. The other events would have happened regardless of who was President and it was simply a question of coping with them. Jack prevented the Berlin Crisis from escalating into a shooting war. He resolved the CMC without a nuclear war occurring. Finally, the Test Ban Treaty was a critical agreement that made the world much safer for us and our children. The symbolism involved in the USA and USSR agreeing to the Treaty was equally important. It made a shooting war between us that much less likely.

Quote:
He created The Peace Corps, probably his best accomplishment and manged to lower taxes in spite of Democrat opposition in Congress, creating an economic boom.
The economic boom would have occurred anyway because America was at the very top of its stride in 1961. The tax cut helped though. The Peace Corps is something we can all be proud of.

Quote:
But what about personally. He was the son of a notorious bootlegger who made millions by breaking the law of the land. He grew up in wealth and luxury, never having to work at a “real” job. And, compared to JFK, Clinton was a virgin. Everybody – including his socially selected wife, knew he dorked women in the White House and almost everywhere else he went – not even counting the notorious affair with Marilyn Monroe. One thing at least – he never stood up before the American people or the world and told bald-face li8es.

1. A child is not responsible for their father's fame or infamy (In Joe Kennedy's case).
2. Many Presidents have been wealthy when they took office. I would say a "poor" President is indeed the exception to the rule.
3. IMO, a person's sexual life is pretty irrelevant to being President. The exception would be showing that i interfered with the President's job performance in some way. I don't see that at all in Kennedy's case. I also think Jack's "sexploits" are overstated. One must remember this is a man with terribly bad back who had to spend a huge amount of time sitting. He also suffered from Addison's Disease for which he took copious amounts of cortisone. I'm sure he "got around", but I think its considerably overstated.


Quote:
So, I again ask – what's the big deal about JFK?
All I could add to what I have said above is that the USA was economically and politically at its peak as a world power from 1961-1963 (JFK's presidency). Presidents usually get the credit when things go well and the blame when they go wrong. Its just the way it is.

Jack's assassination created a huge hole. No one knows what he would have done had he remained President. I think his reelection in 1964 was a virtual given. So, he would have served until January of 1969. Vietnam would have been a big issue. Its tough to say for sure what he would have done. Perhaps, he would have pursued a very limited war and simply backed out if the communist insurgency appeared to be winning, rather than commit 500,000 combat troops. The way his life ended all we have our questions that can't be answered. Many of those questions haunt historians to this day.

Lord, though, that man could speak...
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:41 AM
Status: "Trump - excepting Jorgensen, the least of multiple evils" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
13,823 posts, read 8,487,842 times
Reputation: 17892
Quote:
Originally Posted by sargentodiaz View Post

He was the son of a notorious bootlegger who made millions by breaking the law of the land.
Not exactly. When it became apparent that Prohibition wouldn't last, Joseph Kennedy obtained the exclusive distribution rights to several popuar brands of Scotch whiskey; I'm sure that a lot of back-room dealings and political hackery were involved, but "bootlegging" it wasn't.

There is an amusing story that when Mafia overlord Frank Costello (who was very seldom involved in violence and was sometimes called the "Prime Minister of the Underworld") was undergoing questioning about his associates during the Kefauver investigations, he would sometimes toss in the name "Joe Kennedy". When pressed a bit futher he would then explain that this "Joe Kennedy" was "an old bootlegger in Toronto whom I've known for years".

Last edited by 2nd trick op; 11-21-2013 at 11:58 AM..
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