October 21, 1960: Fourth and Final Nixon-Kennedy Debate

Wednesday, October 19, AD 2016

 

The fourth and final Nixon-Kennedy debate.  Most pundits scored this debate a draw.  Although the debates are famous, I do wonder if they exerted much impact on the election outcome.  They certainly were more dignified and issue oriented than our wretched presidential debates this year.  Of course that would have changed if the colorful, to say the least, private life of John Kennedy had been front and center.  However, it was a different world back then.  Many reporters knew that Kennedy was a womanizer.  However, this was at a time when  the personal sins of most politicians were not revealed by the press.  Whether this was a good or bad thing I will leave to another post.  But, our world is so different now, that such reportorial discretion is almost unimaginable, at least if the politician has an R after his name.  Even with Democrats, with the internet and blogs, such news would have a hard time being kept under wraps for any length of time.  Go here to view the entire debate.

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One Response to October 21, 1960: Fourth and Final Nixon-Kennedy Debate

  • Being a “womanizer” is a sin. Being a traitor, as Hillary Clinton is, is a crime against the America people. Ask Hillary Clinton, Ms. Ben Ghazi, the whereabouts of Christopher Stevens. Hillary will not tell us. Hillary told the terrorists. With treason, the individual forfeits his sovereign personhood and his citizenship, Hillary Clinton has forfeit her credentials to run for the office of President and be representative of all American constituents.

Second Debate

Sunday, October 9, AD 2016

I loved the show Rawhide when I was a kid and I imagine that there were more than a few ticked CBS viewers on October 7, 1960 when they tuned in to see the Western only to view two politicians debating!  Nixon wore television makeup for this second ever Presidential debate, unlike the first one, and most pundits at the time thought he won this second debate.  Nixon had spent little time actually practicing law, but he was good at the cut and thrust of verbal warfare, while Kennedy was better at set piece speeches.  Unfortunately for Nixon, viewership fell off by about twenty million viewers after the initial debate that he lost.  In those long ago days before the internet, if the debate wasn’t watched when first broadcast, it wasn’t going to be seen at all, except in the briefest of snippets on the evening news.

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3 Responses to Second Debate

  • Nixon had spent little time actually practicing law, but he was good at the cut and thrust of verbal warfare, while Kennedy was better at set piece speeches.

    Don’t think Nixon did any trial work at all. I think in his second pass at law practice, he offered oral arguments in appellate proceedings. IIRC, Nixon was a debate team veteran, like Ted Cruz but on a smaller scale.

  • From 1937-41 Nixon worked for the law firm of Wingert and Bewley, eventually becoming a partner. He did some trial work, mostly commercial litigation. He avoided divorce cases, as all smart lawyers should! Nixon was proud that among modern presidents he was the only practicing attorney which just shows that people can be proud of the strangest things!

  • IIRC, the Conrad Black biography says he did a couple of divorce cases, but found them unpalatable because the clients he had tended to discuss aspects of marital intimacy, so he avoided them after that.

    Gerald Ford practiced law for about 7 years, in partnership with Philip Buchan (who, I think, continued to practice in Grand Rapids after Ford left for Washington). I think Roosevelt practiced for a few years ca. 1910, but had some financial sector job during the 1920s.

    Supposedly, Nixon came to despise law practice, and told a friend ca. 1966 that he had to do something else or he’d be intellectually dead in five years and physically dead not long after. It’s a pity. Those 3 or 4 years may have been the most congenial his wife ever had.

September 26, 1960: The First Kennedy-Nixon Debate

Thursday, September 8, AD 2016

 

 

Fifty-six years ago in the historical rear view mirror, the four Kennedy-Nixon debates were the first presidential debates and set the precedent for presidential debates, although the next would not occur until 1976 between Ford and Carter.  In the first debate Kennedy, who secretly suffered from numerous ailments, radiated health and vigor.  Nixon looked terrible in comparison, having been  hospitalized for two weeks in August over an infected knee and having not regained the weight he lost during his recovery.  Nixon insisted on campaigning until the time of the debate and refused to wear television makeup.  Nixon’s mother called him after the debate and asked him if he was ill. After the debate, polls indicated that Kennedy went from a slight deficit to a slight lead.

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2 Responses to JFK Reads the Declaration of Independence

November 22, 1963: Kennedy Assassinated

Friday, November 22, AD 2013

Hard to believe that the Kennedy assassination was half a century ago.  Back in 1963 I was in second grade, but I was not in school.  Sick with pneumonia, my mother had taken me to the doctor and he had prescribed penicillin.  After getting my prescription filled my mother took me home.  She turned on our television set and I planted myself on the couch to watch it.  As we watched television we saw the initial news flashes that President Kennedy had been shot.  This was on a Friday, and the remainder of that day and the weekend, my mother, father and I and my brother practically lived in front of the television set, riveted by the around the clock coverage, something unprecedented in this country before that dreadful day.

America was stunned at the idea that a President could be assassinated.  It had been 62 years since the last President had been assassinated and the country had grown complacent.  Conspiracy theories began almost at once, fueled by the surrealist murder of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby and by the inability of liberals to accept that their icon John F. Kennedy, ironically a very centrist Democrat, had been felled by a deranged Marxist, rather than by some sinister right wing cabal.

What was the impact of the Kennedy assassination on American history?  Probably minimal.  The economy was in good shape so Kennedy was doubtless going to be re-elected in 1964, especially with newsmen not covering his constant womanizing and his addiction to painkillers from a back injury he sustained during World War II.  Contrary to the imaginings of some liberal commentators, Kennedy was a cold warrior to his core, and the idea that he would have avoided the Vietnam War is fanciful.

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38 Responses to November 22, 1963: Kennedy Assassinated

  • Never speak ill of the dead.

    This scene in the 1962 film, “Lawrence of Arabia” comes to mind. Outside St Paul’s Cathedral after Lawrence’s funeral T. E. Lawrence’s bust is depicted. Clergyman says to Col. Brighton, “Well, nil nisi bonum. But did he really deserve . . . a place in here?”

  • “Contrary to the imaginings of some liberal commentators, Kennedy was a cold warrior to his core, and the idea that he would have avoided the Vietnam War is fanciful.”

    Indeed. Ever since the 1961 summit, Kennedy had been opposed to De Gaulle’s assessment of the situation in Vietnam – that the Viet Cong were engaged in an essentially nationalist struggle and that Ho Chi Minh was seen as a nationalist hero by the people – and his proposed solution of pacification and neutrality. In short, De Gaulle believed in the possibility of a unified and non-aligned Vietnam; Kennedy never did.

  • De Gaulle believed in the possibility of a unified and non-aligned Vietnam; Kennedy never did.

    I think subsequent events suggest deGaulle was in error.

    However, I suspect that he would have been just as much a political chameleon as his brothers Bobby and Teddy, and he would quickly have moved left as the Democrat party moved left.

    Doubt there was much there to begin with but the ambition of the patriarch and the manic competitiveness he instilled in his progeny (which Jackie and Joan laughed at, referring to their sisters-in-law as ‘the rah-rah girls’). By 1968, the surviving brothers were getting like typecast actors – consumed by a role they had played. As for the 3d generation, the most capable have stayed out of electoral politics and those which have entered it have discovered the hard way that the stuff only sells in the Boston media market.

  • Like you I was home sick from school, drinking some soup Mom had made when the news came on TV.

    One lesson I learned was the fickleness of memory. For years I had vivid memories of seeing the actual assassination on TV. obviously I saw the Zapruder film and spliced it in with Walter Cronkite’s coverage. So much for eyewitnesses.

  • Ted Kennedy moved the Democrat Party leftward like nobody else. he embraced abortion and never faced a single word – to our knowledge – from anybody in the Boston Archdiocese.

    Kennedy was killed when I was almost two months old. It really is past time to let this event stay in history. Kennedy was not a great president.

  • Assuming that Kennedy had slaughtered Goldwater, a fairly safe assumption…
    –Donald R. McClarey

    I disagree. One might make a persuasive argument that Kennedy would have won re-election in 1964 but “slaughtered Goldwater”? No, that’s a bridge too far in my estimation. President Cuban Missile Crisis would have had a very tough time pinning the OMG! HE’LL BLOW UP THE WORLD!!! albatross around Goldwater’s neck. Without Kennedy’s assassination, the OMG! HE’S AN EXTREMIST!!! slur on Sen. Goldwater would likely not have been plausible; the two men’s foreign policy positions were similar and Kennedy was a foot-dragger on the black civil rights issues.

  • “No, that’s a bridge too far in my estimation. President Cuban Missile Crisis would have had a very tough time pinning the OMG! HE’LL BLOW UP THE WORLD!!! albatross around Goldwater’s neck. Without Kennedy’s assassination, the OMG! HE’S AN EXTREMIST!!! slur on Sen. Goldwater would likely not have been plausible;”

    The mainstream media was in love with Kennedy as opposed to LBJ. The bad press that Goldwater got would have been doubled if JFK had been the candidate. The Cuban Missile Crisis, which at the time was viewed as a great American victory, would have been a plus for Kennedy with every Democrat shill howling about what would have happened if Goldwater had been at the helm instead of Kennedy.

  • I can honestly say I know where I was when the news came… I was 7 weeks and one day away from being born 🙂

    Based purely on what I’ve heard and read about JFK, I consider him somewhat overrated. He happened to die when he was at a peak in public approval and was coming off of positive events like the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. He also hadn’t started the really heavy campaigning for 1964 so he had yet to come under attack by the GOP. Who knows what failures or scandals might have erupted in his second term?

    Personally, I suspect that if Nixon had died or been assassinated after his trips to China and Russia but before Watergate, or if Carter had died right after Camp David, they too would be regarded as great presidents today, even though they lacked the charisma of Jack Kennedy.

  • Another historical footnote that might be of interest to TAC readers: the man responsible for bringing murder charges against Oswald was Dallas district attorney Henry Wade. If Oswald had ever gone to trial, he would have been in charge of the prosecution and probably would have been remembered as the man who brought JFK’s assassin to justice. Instead he’s remembered as the defendant in Roe v. Wade. When Norma “Jane Roe” McCorvey and Sarah Weddington decided to file suit to test Texas abortion law, they made Wade the defendant because he had recently (in 1970) closed down an illegal abortion clinic in Dallas.

  • “…the man responsible for bringing murder charges against Oswald was Dallas district attorney Henry Wade.”
    The burden of proof that the unborn was not a person was on Sarah Weddington, left unmet. Our (constitutional) posterity, George Washington’s posterity (from the Preamble to our Constitution) have the will to live and therefore, the Right to Life, the states’ acknowledgement of their personhood.
    It is hard to believe that there was sufficient evidence to bring Oswald to trial.
    No less than 39 predictions of Kennedy’s assassination came to him from around the world, but Kennedy came to Dallas that fateful day.

  • “…the man who brought JFK’s assassin to justice.”
    I like the term bringing the “assassin to Justice” for it is the duty of the state to bring outlaws to Justice.

  • I don’t think calling Kennedy a centrist Democrat is accurate. Sure he was waffly on the civil rights movement initially because of the Southern wing (and maybe some of his own views, I don’t know,) but he was pretty liberal through and through. The tax cut he passed that’s cited as conservative was a demand-side one in line with Keynesian economic thinking.

    You could call him centrist in comparison to a McGovern or future Democratic “we shouldn’t provoke them” views of Communism, but I prefer to think of that as a liberal/leftist divide. There’s also new cultural issues of course but that’s just because a consensus existed back then that doesn’t now. Economically, Kennedy’s pretty much in line with the Democrats who’ve come after him. They’ve wanted a national health insurance program as far back as Truman if not FDR.

  • Art Deco

    I am not concerned to defend De Gaulle’s view of Indochina in general, or Vietnam, in particular. I only meant that, if Kennedy, like De Gaulle, had thought a unified Vietnam would probably turn out like Tito’s Yugoslavia – authoritarian, vaguely Marxist, but unaligned – then, he would have favoured disengagement. As he rejected it – “I mean President de Gaulle follows a policy of advancing the interest of France and he is a man of great stature. We are trying to advance the interests of the U.S. and we think the interests of the U.S. are tied up with maintaining the balance of freedom in the world,” he told Walter Cronkite – he would almost certainly have favoured continuing (and, necessarily, increasing) American involvement.

  • “I don’t think calling Kennedy a centrist Democrat is accurate”

    It is entirely accurate. I do not call him a centrist Democrat in comparison to what the Democrat party has become, but in the context of his times.

    The opposition of Eleanor Roosevelt, the avatar of American liberalism, to the rise of Kennedy in the fifties is telling:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=5p9GIzyk0XgC&pg=PA287&lpg=PA287&dq=eleanor+roosevelt+john+f+kennedy&source=bl&ots=ekwLld4RMm&sig=gMqh1vLVe5aGCWal0IrCh7ERMnU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=vomQUq_oMYqC3AXSnoDoAQ&ved=0CFoQ6AEwAzgU#v=onepage&q=eleanor%20roosevelt%20john%20f%20kennedy&f=false

  • I don’t know,) but he was pretty liberal through and through.

    I think it is an error to impute abiding political principles to the Kennedys. The clan has been fairly consistent in their positioning since 1963, but they have to maintain their brand and (one suspects) the concept they have of themselves. (One might guess that the Shrivers and some of the third generation are serious exponents, though).

  • I was a resident physician at Presbyterian Hospital in New York on the train to Washington for an interview at NIH. When I got off, I was surprised to see police with guns at Union Station. Oddly enough, I was able to get to Bethesda on time for the interview and back to the train for home. The interview in a round-about way led me to an NIH fellowship and the best thing that ever happened to me i.e. meeting my future wife at Holy Cross church in 1965.
    I did not vote for Kennedy in my first presidential election cycle, partly because his commitment to Catholicism was suspect. Indeed, his speech to the ministers in Texas set the pattern for Cuomo and today’s many “Catholic” politicians with their “I’m personally opposed but I cannot impose my religion” stance on abortion , same-sex marriage” etc.
    He was a centrist (leaning right) Democrat, a “cold warrior” and the one who got us into Vietnam. He did not champion Civil rights legislation which LBJ did after his election. There was convincing evidence that his election was the result of chicanery in Chicago but Nixon did not challenge it. It is not so clear that he would have won a second term. Indeed, that’s why the Dallas trip was so politicaly important.

  • “I am personally opposed…but I cannot impose my beliefs… is the brainchild of rogue priest Robert Drinan, elected to congress, but now deceased.
    Kennedy was president before association with God in the public square became “hate speech”, and imposing atheism upon the captive audience of minor children in public school became separation of church and state, without parental consent and without the vote, before acknowledgment of the human being, composed of body and soul, became an item of ridicule as “unscientific”, before human sacrifice through abortion, infanticide and euthanasia became the Law of the Land and the human’s will to live was rejected as the right to life, before virtue condemned a citizen to disenfranchisement and disrespect.
    A decent man is “under God.” Kennedy had it easy.

  • lol “Democrat party,” what is the appeal of this phrasing other than looking grammatically weird. Would Republicans take it as an insult if left-wing talk show hosts started referring to it as the Republic Party. they’re already capitalized & separate from small-d democracy and small-r republicanism

  • I will call the Democrat party the Democratic Party when members of the party of the jackass begin referring to themselves as Democratics instead of Democrats.

  • airtight logic you’ve got there

  • “He was a centrist (leaning right) Democrat, a “cold warrior” and the one who got us into Vietnam. He did not champion Civil rights legislation which LBJ did after his election.”

    The problem with this framing to me is that if being solidly anti-Communist makes someone a centrist/right-leaning Democrat, this describes every Democratic presidential candidate up through Humphrey, all of whom were liberal. Truman proposed a national health insurance plan for instance. LBJ was obviously liberal through and through and he never ditched Vietnam. Hesitancy on civil rights I just view as a characteristic of the time on both sides, although you could argue that if Humphrey had won the nomination in 1960 he would’ve pushed harder sooner than Kennedy did.

  • “Liberal” is a pretty ill-defined term.

    For most Europeans, it means a believer in laissez-faire capitalism, particularly an Anti-Protectionist (which is why no French politician, of Left or Right, would ever call himself a liberal).

    Historically, liberalism flourished in the brief interlude between the absolutism of the Ancien Régime and modern mass democracy, based on the willingness of the bourgeois parties that dominated parliamentary politics, to treat a large area of social, economic and cultural life as being outside politics. The state provided a legally codified order within which social customs, economic competition, religious beliefs, and so on, could be pursued without becoming “political.” The rise of mass political movements challenged this separation, beginning with the economy.

    Both Socialists and Nationalists exposed the contradiction at the heart of liberalism: its simultaneous assertion of popular sovereignty that it had inherited from Rousseau and universal human rights that it had inherited from Locke.

  • “airtight logic you’ve got there”

    Much more airtight certainly than the party of the jackass calling itself “Democratic”:

  • that’s true, cuz of a floor vote we can’t call them the capital-D Democratic Party, we must call them the Democrat party, which is different…how I’m not sure really. it still has “democrat” in the name.

    MPS: Just cuz liberalism used to mean something different doesn’t mean it’s ill-defined I think. Liberals have wanted a more active role for the state to provide opportunity/aid the economy since FDR, even Wilson.

  • “that’s true, cuz of a floor vote we can’t call them the capital-D Democratic Party, we must call them the Democrat party, which is different”

    Yes it is, which is the real basis of your lame gripe. Throughout its history the Democrat party has had a history of rigging elections and attempting to disenfranchise people who have the temerity to disagree with those controlling the party. The rigged floor vote was merely in the grand tradition of the party of Jackson.

  • “lame gripe” or no, it’s a tic among movement conservatism (Limbaugh etc.) that’s pointless. We know that China isn’t actually a people’s republic for instance but calling it the People’s Republic of China isn’t an endorsement, because everyone knows the phrase denotes Communism. Similarly the Democratic Party refers to liberalism/leftism and the Republican Party conservatism/rightism cuz, you know, they’re capitalized.

  • Actually some of us still refer to Red China as Red China. Names are important. Besides I rather enjoy having “Democratics” be upset when I refer to their party as the Democrat party. Republicans have been referring to the “Democrat” party since the 19th century.

  • NTP, you’re out of your league. Quit while you are behind.

    It is not without solid evidence that the accusation of the Democrat Party being the most corrupt, longest lasting organization in the Western Hemisphere has been made.

    Wilson was almost a dictator. FDR threw Americans into concentration camps, decimated the Army before WWII, covered up the truth about Katyn and was Play Doh in the hands of Stalin.

    LBJ was as uncouth a man who ever lived in the White House. His Great society is a failure.

    Carter was a terrible President. Clinton and his wife were-are-corrupt. Obumbler is a Communist.

  • Wilson was almost a dictator.

    A dictator who could not get the Congress to approve his signature foreign policy initiatives after 1918.

    FDR covered up the truth about Katyn and was Play Doh in the hands of Stalin.

    Your tinfoil hat is a bit askew.

  • Penguins Fan I wasn’t talking about the history of the Democratic Party, just that I thought calling them the Democrat Party looks grammatically stupid and is pointless since capital/lowercase words often have different meanings anyway, but since you went on…

    Wilson is only a “dictator” if you don’t take into account actions presidents tend to take during war to prevent infiltration/treason. this is like neo-Confederate arguments that Lincoln was a dictator cuz he suspended habeas corpus.

    FDR, if you wanna argue he was too trusting of Stalin, fine, but obviously the alliance in general was necessary.

    I won’t dispute your points on LBJ although obviously a couple of his programs (Medicare, Medicaid) have been so accepted politically that the GOP campaigns on preventing cuts in one sometimes, regardless of their sincerity.

    Obama is a liberal very much in line with Democratic presidents since FDR. he’s not the first Democratic president to want universal health coverage/believe in Keynesian stimulus and to the extent he’s perceived as that much more liberal than past presidents, it’s maybe cuz of cultural issues that were not on the radar in the past.

  • “FDR covered up the truth about Katyn”

    Actually both Churchill and FDR helped cover up the truth about the Katyn Massacre as a wartime necessity. Churchill privately assumed the Soviets had committed the massacre. I would be surprised if that was not also the opinion of FDR. The Wikipedia article on the subject is quite good.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katyn_massacre

  • Obama is a liberal very much in line with Democratic presidents since FDR. he’s not the first Democratic president to want universal health coverage/believe in Keynesian stimulus and to the extent he’s perceived as that much more liberal than past presidents, it’s maybe cuz of cultural issues that were not on the radar in the past.

    No presidential candidate prior to 1972 attempted to challenge foundational aspects of American domestic life. Walter Mondale was the 1st candidate who paid any mind at all to the gay lobby and Clinton was the first who attempted to distribute bon bons to them; it is likely forgotten today that liberal pols who had to deal with the gay lobby a generation ago (e.g. Dianne Feinstein, Edward Koch, and Michael Dukakis) had a relationship with that sector which was somewhere between friction-laden and frankly antagonistic).

    Obama is not much of a social democrat. His supposed interest in health care was in the first interest just fodder for a speaking engagement and he turned over the details to another Harvard JD. The ‘stimulus’ was by all accounts just a collation of the standing wish-lists of Democratic pols.

    What Obama really stands for is the Democratic Party’s clientele.

    1. Shoveling cash (and job opportunities) into the maw of the education and social services maw. Look at some of Obama’s most inane initiatives: universal nursery school, universal college, Kevin Jennings, and you see this. (And did I mention the auto industry bailout and the hundreds of billions shoveled into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

    2. Shifting discretion from ordinary people who pay the costs and from commercial enterprises subject to ordinary people acting in markets to various professional guilds is another signature. Consider the implicit political theory which animates our appellate courts (as well as the shysters in the Department of Justice so amply supplemented by our Attorney-General. Consider the mess that is Obamacare, which might be summarized as an effort to turn the distribution of medical services into a complete artifact. Consider the foolish attempts by various units of the federal government to play venture capitalist.

    3. Making social sectors with their own function and intramural ethic into instruments of the social nexus of which the Democratic Party is the electoral vehicle. You might call this Obama’s Chavez-Erdogan impulse. Ergo, you have the military used as a playground for social experimentation (and harrassment of military professionals loath to play along), the Justice Department as a locus of disregard for law (and the expulsion of legal professionals who objected – e.g. Christian Adams), the contrived negligence of the immigration control apparat (about which the union representing ICE officers has complained), the use of the Internal Revenue Service to harass political opponents, the abuse and emasculation of departmental inspectors-general, the use of the National Park Service for pr theatrics, &c.

  • sorry but this is just ridiculously cynical/overanalyzed. It’s entirely possible for, you know, politicians to sincerely believe in something, even if it says nothing about the truth of their convictions.

  • I think Obama has more in common with Lee Harvey Oswald than with JFK.

    He’s a communist who hates America and adores Castro and red terrorists like his BFF Bill Ayres, same as did Oswald.

    The one thing JFK and BHO have in common is the 24/7 tongue bath they get from the morons inhabiting the so-called “press.”

  • Kennedy was called a commie who betrayed America and was selling us out to the UN too.

    Not that it makes em the same. Just that if you’re still talking about Obama’s “b f f” Ayers,
    maybe get some new talking points

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