The mystique of the Kennedys, J.F.K.’s presidency cut short, along with Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy’s brilliant stroke to create the myth of Camelot after Pres. Kennedy’s assassination, is all part of why John Fitzgerald Kennedy remains our nation’s most popular president in modern times, the last 50 years. It was also the ability he had, through Ted Sorenson‘s brilliant wordsmith carvings, to make his rhetoric cut a swath through history that reminds us of his soaring vision.
It’s at moments like these I reflect that if John F. Kennedy were running for president today he could not be nominated let alone elected. His health would have come into focus, with the prescription drugs and injections he utilized to keep functioning simply something today’s American purists wouldn’t have accepted. Kennedy was targeted by the Right plenty (including Human Events and right-wing radio), but his secrets, including his serial womanizing, would never have been kept quiet today. There are also no journalistic giants that a president would dare have as an open confidante.
What Reagan got for his coming centennial is his two sons, Michael his step-son, quarreling over whether he had Alzheimer’s in his second term, which Ron Reagan has asserted is possible. He’s hardly the first, but he is the closest eye witness to history he claims proves it. However, the question that should haunt Reagan’s legacy is why wasn’t he impeached for Iran-Contra? If ever there was an impeachable offense this had the potential.
It seems the Nixon resignation and Ford’s disastrous presidential pardon led to squeamish Democrats who didn’t want to “put the country through it,” so they worked hastily to wrap it up, but inadvertently paved the way for William Jefferson Clinton’s railroading and impeachment over consensual sex, because Republicans know how to hold a grudge. If Nixon had been impeached we might have actually seen what real crimes and misdemeanors meant and the pain of proving it in the well of the Senate, instead of reducing impeachment to a sex police action by Republicans bent on revenge.
John F. Kennedy lived in a different era and his short presidency with its iconic photographs, historic changes that coincided with the tumult of the 1960s, all of it, juxtaposed against the smallness of today’s politicians and the timidity of their vision, assists J.F.K. in standing alone. He may also be the last war hero president, of a justifiable war, this country will ever see.
The screen captures below are from the Guardian.