Friday, November 6, 2009

The Making of the President 1960 (7).

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:

“What the TV debates did best was to give the voters of a great democracy a living portrait of two men under stress and let the voters decide…which style and pattern of behavior under stress they preferred in their leader.” p. 351.

“Kennedy won by only 112,000 votes….” p. 353.

“He [Nixon] had a penchant for the [expression] ‘incidentally’; when he began a passage with ‘incidentally,’ it usually foretold a needle or a dig into the Kennedy record.” p. 360.

“There was never any absence of great political ability—at any level—in the men who made up the Republican command staff during the campaign; and what infuriated these men of ability, said one of them, was that ‘he [Nixon] reduced us all to clerks.’ ” p. 376.

“One could perceive neither in this…proposal nor in his prepared speeches nor in his [Nixon’s] personal discourse any shape of history, any sense of the stream of time or flow of forces by which America had come to this point in history and might move on.” p. 376.

Of Nixon: “…it was this lack of an over-all structure of thought, of a personal vision of the world….” p. 377.

“Certainly he [Nixon] was one of the most solitary and lonesome men in politics.” p. 378.

“Ideas, which are very important to John f. Kennedy….” p. 388.

Of Kennedy: “…combining, as one Southern Senator said, the best qualities of Elvis Presley and Franklin D. Roosevelt.” p. 396.

“Consciously or unconsciously, therefore, in all his elegant quotations from Franklin and Jefferson, from Lincoln and Roosevelt, from Thoreau and Emerson, Kennedy sought to identify himself with this past…and out of this past he attempted to urge all Americans to move forward with him to a common future.” p. 429.

To be continued.

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