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View Diary: What JFK Would Have Done with Today's Senate (155 comments)

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  •  He would have done badly (6+ / 0-)

    He had a lackluster Congressional record.
    The heavy lifting was done during LBJ's term, with bigger majorities and knowing how to work things (which JFK didn't).
    His bigger problem was the seniority system - nearly all major House and Senate committees were chaired by conservative southerners. The Virginia head of the House Ways & Means committee - quite conservative - blocked most of his agenda singlehandedly.
    He was a fairly ineffective president who governed in good economic times, saved the world from nuclear war during the Cuban missle crisis, but then set the stage for greater involvement in Vietnam. Liked him (was a kid when he was elected),  but his record is skewed by his glamor and his death. Maybe a second term would have improved things.

    •  Cuban Missile Crisis (0+ / 0-)

      In my view, JFK did as much to help bring that on as he did to solve it.

      Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

      by Big River Bandido on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 04:50:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because Kruschev judged him as weak in their (0+ / 0-)

        first meeting?  I'm not saying that myself, but I've heard many historians say that.  Is that why you think Kennedy bears responsibility for bringing on the Cuban Missile Crisis or do you some other reason?

        •  No, I was referring to his rhetoric (1+ / 0-)
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          Tony Situ

          of saber-rattling from the Inaugural Address throughout his Presidency.  Although, I suppose I would also agree with you on the Khruschev point, in the sense that the Vienna conference was an embarrassment to Kennedy and his new Administration, one could view the Missile Crisis as Kennedy attempting to make up for his earlier performance.  

          In general, JFK seems to me to have had a powerful sense of himself and a strong desire for a role in history comparable to his heroes.  He was a political opportunist in the sense that he was fearless about identifying and grabbing on to any opportunity that arose (that's not necessarily a good or bad thing in itself).  But given the risks involved and how close we came to actual nuclear war during autumn 1962, his behavior leaves him open to charges of recklessness.

          Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

          by Big River Bandido on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 04:25:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks. I was referring to the theory that (1+ / 0-)
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            Big River Bandido

            when Kruschev and Kennedy met in Vienna, Kennedy came off as weak, so Kruschev thought he could put missles into Cuba and Kennedy would be too much a wimp to do anything about it.

            Speaking of meetings with Kruschev, I get a kick out of Nixon's meeting with him when he was Ike's VP.  Nixon went to Moscow and he and Kruschev appeared on stage on TV and were bantering back and forth about which country was more advanced.  Nixon saying, "OK, you're ahead of us in space exploration, but we're ahead of you in color television technology", and Kruschev responding, "No, we're great in color TV too!", and they (and the audience) were smiling and laughing (at least Nixon was; it's hard for me to tell what Kruschev's mood was).  That is one of the few scenes of Nixon where he looked likable.

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