The Kennedy-Nixon battle for the White House is still looked upon as one of the epic political battles of the last century.
Historians still feverishly analyze and dissect everything from the makeup preparation to the suits worn in the televised debate and Joe Kennedy’s (JFK’s dad) influence behind the scenes.
Richard Nixon’s five o’clock shadow is studied and discussed with regularity in almost any college course on election politics.
Kennedy’s victory shaped many public policy decisions and ultimately changed politics and the lives of many American citizens.
JFK’s election ushered in a unique period in American history and supported impassable legislation we are not likely to see duplicated in our lifetime.
The handsome Kennedy family was the image that all Americans embraced and his untimely death brought private tears in many households including my own.
Irish Americans, Catholics, African Americans and many other ethnic groups continue to associate JFK as one of the reasons they identify themselves as Democrats for over fifty years.
Even Irish American conservatives like Paul Ryan cannot help, but to mention Kennedy when discussing politics as both he and Dan Quayle did in Vice Presidential debates.
The Obama-Romney contest is also shaping up to be a classic for future study, but there is one political battle that we could be seeing right now if fate had been different with the same stakes and a decidedly different poll result and undeniable outcome.
If John Kennedy Jr. were still alive he would be 52 years old ( one year older than Obama), and with four years of prosecutor experience, grass roots community advocacy, and business experience ( George Magazine) as well as a plausible elected official in Congess or the Senate, John Kennedy Jr. and not Barack Obama could be (if he were alive) running for reelection against Mitt Romney today.
The race between Obama and Romney has seen several things surface that do not display the best attributes of America. Those attributes would probably not show up if the race was between Romney and Kennedy.
During his four years as President, Obama’s opponents (Tea Party and other conservative factions) have openly demonstrated against his policies using banners that show him with a Hitler mustache, carrying handguns to rallies, continually requesting his birth certificate and questioning his legitimacy. Congressman Joe Wilson shouted out “You Lie” during a State of the Union address which has never happened in th history of our country.
The Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) was looked upon as a signature accomplishment for President Obama, but it is evident after utilizing much of his future opponents plan (Mitt Romney) that conservative strategy includes dismantling the program piece by piece.
Obama has often been openly referred to by his detractors as a socialist, Muslim, and food stamp President by many blue collar whites who appear to have changed from Democrat to Republican exclusively for the upcoming election.
Although bi-racial President Obama has been painted in whisper campaigns as having subversive interests associated with African Americans and has had to state numerous times that he is not the President of black America, but the United States of America.
Ironically, Obama has done little specifically for African Americans who have suffered more due to the realities of the current economic downturn.
Now in contrast, if John Kennedy Jr. were President and he helped engineer a healthcare reform plan much like President Obama’s and led the military in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and Qaddafi as well as save the American auto industry and the banking industry from ruin alnog wth the mortgage industry the race for the Presidency would not even be close.
Not close at all.
Truthfully he would not have to accomplish all of those things to receive praise.
Not close at all.
As a matter of fact the race would be just about over.
There would be talk of Camelot II and the photogenic Kennedy and his wife Carolyn -Bessette Kennedy would be the darling of the media in the United States and abroad.
There would be discussion about how the two term limit of JFK Jr. Presidency denies the country the bright leadership and youthful vigor of a man ‘born’ to be President.
Bill Clinton received some of the same commentary when he was leavig office ater the second term.
There is no doubt that Kennedy would most probably be effective with family connections, enthusiastic donors and innate knowledge of the family business.
There is also no doubt that the Affordable healthcare plan would not be called ‘Kennedy- care’ nor would he be called a socialist and certainly not a Muslim or a food stamp president.
Because of JFK’s untimely death America got a chance to make history by electing the first African American to the highest office in the land.
If JFK jr. was the candidate there would be no question that he would be due 4 more years to clean up a mess that took eight years to accumulate and some Republicans would even agree.
And he would be lauded for his efforts thus far by conservatives and progressives who would decribe how bipartisanhip helped stave o disaster.
Alas Barack Obama, the Harvard educated lawyer, constitutional law professor and former senator is no Jack Kennedy Jr.