Monday, April 5, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (18).

Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

“He was wise enough to know that in a nation of consent, not command, Presidential words alone cannot always produce results.” p. 439. ……….”But as President he more than compensated for his limited background in economics by his superb ability to absorb information and to ask the right questions.” p. 443. ………. JFK: “The 94% employed…couldn’t care less about the 6 % unemployed.” p. 454. ……….”…that the budget represented not a bureaucratic grab but loans to farmers and small businessmen, aid to education and conservation, urban renewal and area redevelopment.” p. 472. ………. “…encouraged his economic advisers, Treasury Secretary and Budget Director to talk plainly.” p. 472.

“We tried every possible way to make a dull economics speech interesting…used charts beside his desk…cited real-life human interest examples of individuals helped by his programs.” p. 479. ………. “The challenge was clear; the answer was not.” p. 489. ………. “Magnanimous in victory, as always, the President turned his attention to the problem of reconciliation.” p. 516. ………. “He permitted no gloating by any administration spokesman and no talk of retribution.” p. 516. ………. JFK: “The Negro baby born in America today, regardless of the section of the nation in which he is born, has about one-half as  much chance of completing high school as a white baby born in the same place on the same day, one-third as much chance of completing college, one-third as much chance of becoming a professional…twice as much chance of becoming unemployed…a life expectancy which is seven years shorter, and the prospects of earning only half as much.” June 1963. p. 530.

To be continued.

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