Friday, October 30, 2009

The Making of the President 1960 (2)

Theodore H. White. New York: Pocket Books, Inc. 1961/1962.

Why read it? The strategies used by John Kennedy and his associates and by Richard Nixon and other candidates in the presidential election of 1960.

Sample ideas:

“LBJ’s record as the guileful, unflustered Mr. Fix-It of the Democratic Senate majority….” p. 53.

“In their cluster about Lyndon B. Johnson, one could first notice that separation of generations which in both parties in 1960 was to range young against old.” p. 55.

“Stevenson’s attitude to politics has always seemed that of a man who believes love is the most ennobling of human emotions while the mechanics of sex are dirty and squalid.” p. 56.

“There is an axiom in politics that a candidacy for any office is not simply the expression of individual ambitions—any great candidacy is the gathering place of many men’s ambitions.” p. 57.

Sorenson had now been with Kennedy for seven years; his introspection, his reading, his elegant writing, had stimulated many of Kennedy’s finest thoughts and expressions.” p. 61.

“Meetings are good for information, said Sorenson…for exchanging information, for clearing the air…rarely the source of major decision.” p. 64.

“Within the Republican Party are combined a stream of the loftiest American idealism and a stream of the coarsest American greed…the good and the greedy.” p. 70.

“Today they [the Republicans] are regarded as the party of the right; yet this is the party that abolished slavery, wrote the first laws of civil service, passed the first antitrust, railway control, consumer-protective and conservation legislation and then led America, with enormous diplomatic skill, out into the posture of global leadership and responsibility….” p. 71.

“The personality and background of Nelson A. Rockefeller [Nixon’s] chief rival in the Republican Party, is entirely different…one of total security, total confidence, total cheeriness.” p. 79.

“Fundamentally, it was his [Nelson Rockefeller’s] opinion that the Eisenhower administration, which he had served, was drifting from crisis to crisis, was preparing its plans and managing matters of state on a month-to-month, year-to-year basis, while America’s position in the changing world required planning that reached from today over five years, over ten years, into the farthest foreseeable future.” p. 80.

To be continued.

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