And then I wrote...

by Dick Schilling, Editor Emeritus

... that I sometimes rue the fact that my interest in politics does not date back farther. Or should that be further. Farther is a measure of distance. Further a measure of time. Either seems appropriate.
Example: (He is) “charismatic, tactically adroit, and seemingly tireless. At his best on the campaign trail. But over the course of transition, his political limitations surfaced. He was an unskilled negotiator, and had remained aloof during his years as a lawmaker. He was preoccupied by short-term political goals but lacked dedication to any long-term policies or programs. Though he came with strong ideas about (foreign policy) he was virtually bereft of thinking on (domestic issues). He had been focused on the presidency, not on policy.”
An early Republican critique of President Obama?
Nope. A critique of President Kennedy in Nick Bryant’s book The Bystander, copyrighted in 2006 and published by Basic Books. The words foreign policy and domestic issues are in parens because they were opposite in his critique.
It might be worth noting that each president was the “first of his kind” elected to that highest office, Kennedy a Catholic and Obama of mixed race.
And Bryant’s book also informed me of more similarities.
Kennedy also used his “pen” to issue executive orders. On one occasion, after he had done so, citizens sent “tens of thousands of pens” to him! Hmm! There probably are not that many pens around today. It would have to be E-mails or some other type of communication these days. But I certainly don’t remember any media reports on that story.
When President Obama had a background of Corinthian columns for his inauguration, the right wing press went bananas about the “royal” implications. But Kennedy did the same thing, Bryant’s book tells me, and I again do not recall a big fuss in the media.
But maybe I should not be surprised. “Media” means something different these days than in did in the early 1960s. Television network “talking heads” were liberal then as they are today, but there was no network with opposing conservative views, and none of the most popular AM radio conservative opinion shows. Nor were blogs or other forms of computerized comments circulated. If those TV shows and the major daily newspapers, also liberal then as they are today, didn’t report something, it was as though it had not happened.
I am not through with the book yet. Year-end holidays have cut into my reading time.
But in my old age, my interest in politics is piqued by books of this sort, probably because I have more time to read for pleasure than I did while working.

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