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JFK

 
 
yeahman
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2003 06:36 am
just got through the JFK marathon on the history channel. most americans regardless of whether or not they were alive during his administration, admire JFK as one of the greatest of all time. and i find that very interesting.
he barely won the election, wasn't a wartime president, an irish catholic, the extra-marital affairs, served less than 3 years, there were accusations of nepotism, and many say that he wasn't very commited to domestic agendas.

as someone who has only read about him, i am among those that greatly admire him. he may not have been the greatest president but he's by far my favorite and that sentiment is felt by many of my generation.

one kennedy biography compared him to churchill saying that "we don't remember what he did but we remember what he said." it's that inspirational character that i think all americans long for.

there were numerous circumstancial factors that led to his popularity today. he was assasinated, he was young, photogenic, had a glamourous wife, cute kids, and immediately preceeded 2 of the most hated presidents in history.

but watching the documentaries i was impressed most by his uncanny leadership qualities.
he took full responsibility for the bay of pigs even though it would have been all too easy to blame his advisors or even eisenhower. i can't even imagine a president today admitting to such a mistake without being forced to do so.
then there was the tightrope walking of the cuban missile crisis. faced with the same situation, i think clinton would have let himself be blackmailed by the soviets and george w bush would have led us into WW III.

what are your impressions of JFK?
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2003 06:46 am
Kennedy was a master showman. The word that was bandied about at the time about him was "charisma". He had charisma, with a capital "C". He was adept at pulling people together, and his presidency took on an aura that it really did not deserve.

I think that history will rate him as a mediocre president, but give him an A+ in image creation.

To paraphrase, I think that Kennedy was mostly sizzle, but only a bit of steak!
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yeahman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2003 08:08 am
what was it about that "greatest generation" that made the leaders of the time so charismatic?

at the 100th anniversary of kennedy's assasination, i think he'll be remembered like churchhill is remembered today. not for what he did but for what he said and stood for.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2003 08:18 am
ye110man- I don't think that you could put the other presidents at that time in the same category as Kennedy, when it came to charisma. I think that a lot of it had to do with television. He knew how to play to the cameras.

Another thing. As a holdover of former years, in the days of Kennedy, people admired leaders, to an extent that they do not do now. They were not picked apart to the extent that is done today.

The media did not interfere in a public official's private life. That was why Kennedy was able to stay clear of any implications of corruption and scandal. Most everything that was written about him that would tend to diminish him as a President, came out AFTER his death. At the time of his presidency, he was the "golden boy".
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2003 08:19 am
Agree that he was a brilliant orator, a smart guy and had the charisma thing--although I hate that charisma matters in a President.

He did make some defining statements about the US; beautiful rhetoric-- he espoused some "conservative" ideals---"Ask not what your country can do for you..."

I think we were fortunate Bobby was around during the more tense situations--and think JFK was highly overrated due to compassion for his murder, and Jackie's efforts to immortalize him. Still--not a bad guy.
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yeahman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2003 10:00 am
Phoenix32890 wrote:
ye110man- I don't think that you could put the other presidents at that time in the same category as Kennedy, when it came to charisma. I think that a lot of it had to do with television. He knew how to play to the cameras.

FDR and truman were up there. and macarthur. and they weren't americans but, churchill, ghandi, mandela, pope john xxiii, and the perons. hitler was very charismatic as well. and mao, stalin, castro, ho chi min, eisenhower, and de gaulle were, at the very least, all powerful leaders.
but i was thinking more about mlk jr and malcolm x.

that whole period between 1940 and 1965 is probably the most quoted era in history. i'm sure the TV had a lot to do with it but with such a disproportionate number of almost mythical leaders, i would think that world war ii and its aftermath created furtile grounds for those leaders to emerge.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2003 10:18 am
Kennedy didn't remain in office long enough to achieve his domestic agenda--Lyndon Johnson pushed through the civil rights agenda, because he twisted arms (he knew "where all the bodies were buried"), and the Medicare and Social Security Disability Act. Kennedy inheirited a wobbly economy, with a dairy famers strike, as well as the Bay of Pigs fiasco. I don't think he judged southeast Asia well, but, there again, he was not in office long enough to carry through a consistent policy. In the Cuban Missile crisis, he displayed leadership under pressure, and was quite astute--when Curtis LeMay told him the MiGs were all lined up on Cuban runways, and vulnerable to attack, he ordered CIA U-2 overflights of U.S. airbases, and shot back at LeMay in a later meeting that his planes were lined up along the runways as well. He was good, but "Camelot" is likely all he'll be remembered for--not his tough stance with the Russians in Berlin and Cuba, and not a domestic policy agenda which has radically changed our lives.
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Mr Stillwater
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2003 11:02 pm
Quote:
First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations--explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon--if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.


Full text and sound: JFK Urgent Needs
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yeahman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2003 11:47 am
anybody know where i can find gore vidal's "holy family" essay?

and i'm also curious as to why the election of 1960 was so close besides him being catholic.
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