Then and now: JFK and BHO
Neo-neocon has commented on P-E Obama's first Press Conference gaff about Nancy Reagan, interpreting it as a symptom of his dismal non-funniness. I think he can be funny, as attested here. The momentary lapse of his customary decorum, for which he is rightly famous, could be blamed on a certain laid back mood, since he can now let go a little of the iron control over every word he had to maintain throughout the campaign.
Anyway, neo-necon posted a clip of JFK fielding questions during Press conference to press on the difference between the two men, whom some have declared to be alike.
I liked this part:
QUESTION: Mr. President, Congressman Alger of Texas today criticized Mr. Salinger as a "young and inexperience White House publicity man,"--(laughter)--and questioned the advisability of having him visit the Soviet Union. I wonder if you have any comments?
THE PRESIDENT: I know there are always some people who feel that Americans are always young and inexperienced, and foreigners are always able and tough, and great negotiators. But I don't think that the United States acquired its present position of leadership in the Free World if that view were correct.
Also, as I saw the press, it said that Mr. Salinger's main job was to increase my standing in the Gallup Polls. Having done that, he's now moving on to--(more laughter)--to improve our communications.
It seems odd that the American people has lost its nerve in the last forty years, and now has adopted the view of "some people" which the President mocks, as its more common position about America and the "foreigners". Michael Moore is a good and popular example of this mood:
"The Americans are so stupid. Completely idiotic. Ignorant. 85% of 18 to 25 year olds can't even find Iraq on the map! Wouldn't that be a good UN resolution? Before George Bush can bomb a country, his countrymen need to first take a test. And if they don't know where the country is, they have to bomb themselves. Wouldn't that be something?"
Perhaps one of Obama's greatest achievement will be in restoring that sense of pride and confidence that seems to have come so naturally to JFK, over forty years ago, even as he still had to contend with the disgrace of a segregated South, and rampant racism.
By sheer coincidence, Norm was musing along similar lines, from a different aspect:
It didn't require a revolution to elect Barack Obama, a reordering of the entire political constellation; it required only an election at its due time and a campaign to win that election.
And it didn't need a trip to some deep well of recondite wisdom to be be able to see these things before 4 November 2008. It needed only some elementary knowledge of US political history and a few basic facts from a textbook in political science. One delusion of the Bush years has been punctured. Others will be punctured in their turn. There'll be time enough to comment on those.
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Then and now: JFK and BHO