John F. Kennedy

Bunker Mentality
December 30, 2009

It’s been a tough first year for President Obama, as critics throughout the body politic bemoan that Mr. Change-We-Can-Believe-In is looking more and more like Mr. Politics-As-Usual. With the coming new year, however, POTUS has a prime opportunity to regroup, reload, and revamp his image. He could start by ditching golf. Seriously. Its venerable White House history notwithstanding, golf is a dubious pastime for any decent, sane person, much less for this particular president.

The Beck Supremacy
December 26, 2009

When Vince Flynn recently finished writing his eleventh novel, Pursuit of Honor, he sent an advance copy to Rush Limbaugh, along with some special reading instructions. Upon arriving at Chapter 50, he told the radio host in a note inscribed on the chapter’s first page, “open one of your bottles of Lafite and grab a cigar and savor these words.” Flynn self-published his first political thriller twelve years ago but, today, has a seven-figure contract with an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Abortion, Catholics, and the Health Care Bill
November 10, 2009

Alan Wolfe is a TNR contributing editor and director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. Just before the House of Representatives voted on the Stupak Amendment, designed to stop any public funding of insurance plans that cover abortion, the U. S. Conference on Catholic Bishops (USCCB) weighed in with its endorsement.

Pungent Pundit of Pugnacity
September 29, 2009

William Safire, pungent pundit of pugnacity, impish impresario of impudence, limpid lookout for lexicography, knew his p.r. Just shy of his 30th birthday, in 1959, he gave a huge boost to one of his clients, the Florida manufacturer of a model home on exhibit at a Moscow trade fair, when he contrived to usher Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev into the kitchen showroom.

The Magic Seat
September 28, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Fall River, my hometown in Massachusetts, has been a bastion of devotion to the Kennedy family since John F. Kennedy's 1952 Senate race. We were so faithful that the turnout slogan in my dear city could well have been: "Vote for the Kennedy of your choice, but vote." It's like that in a lot of places around the state. A factory worker with no political credentials got elected state treasurer in 1954 just because his name happened to be John F. Kennedy.

Mad Men In a Good Place: How Did People Sound in 1963?
September 01, 2009

Last Sunday’s third episode of this season’s Mad Men was one of the best in the series on many levels, which was why for me, a frequent little problem with the show stood out more than ever. Namely, the show’s depiction of how people speak is less accurate than the loving exactitude with attire, cocktails, product labels, and the like. The most glaring example in this episode was what seems to have gone down as a memorable line from Peggy Olson, erstwhile secretary who is slowly climbing the corporate ladder.

Overselling The JFK Angle
February 14, 2009

Yoav Lurie is a freelancer in Washington. In his weekly YouTube address this morning, President Obama commended the passage of the stimulus plan and acknowledged that Americans may be a bit skeptical of Washington's ability to pull this one off, given its recent history of bungling. Towards the end of the message, he offered words that "President Kennedy spoke in another time of uncertainty": "Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks." The only problem is John F.

The Nixon-Obama Debates
November 05, 2008

In 1960, John F. Kennedy attacked the incumbent Republican administration for allowing the Soviet Union to open up a "missile gap" over the United States. The gap turned out not to exist. But it put the young, inexperienced Massachusetts senator on the political offensive and positioned him to the right of his more experienced Republican foe on the central foreign policy question of the day. Barack Obama has pulled off the same feat in this election, with an unintentional assist from John McCain.

Gonzo Sociology
October 08, 2008

The Politics of Truth: Selected Writings of C. Wright Mills Edited by John Summers (Oxford University Press, 320 pp., $21.95) C.Wright Mills published his sociological trilogy during the 1950s: White Collar in 1951, The Power Elite in 1956, The Sociological Imagination in 1959. Those were years of Republican ascendancy, and while the president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was a moderate, the vice president, Richard Nixon, and a number of key senators, including Joe McCarthy, belonged to the conservative wing of the party.

How I Would Improve The Conventions
August 18, 2008

Since the creation of the primary and caucus-based presidential nominating process, national party conventions have lost much of their point. Occasionally, as in the 1976 battle for the Republican nomination, the primaries and caucuses leave the candidates separated by a narrow and possibly fluid margin, giving weight to the thrust and parry of convention tactics. Of course, the presidential nominee could choose to throw open the vice presidential choice.