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How JFK Gave Us Donald J. Trump (Videos)

When image trumps ideology: How JFK created the template for the modern presidency

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President John F. Kennedy watches as planes conduct anti-sub operations during maneuvers off the North Carolina coast in April 1962. Associated Press

Steven Watts, University of Missouri-Columbia
Even at John F. Kennedy’s centennial on May 29, 2017, the 35th president remains an enigma. We still struggle to come to a clear consensus about a leader frozen in time – a man who, in our mind’s eye, is forever young and vigorous, cool and witty. The Conversation

While historians have portrayed him as everything from a nascent social justice warrior to a proto-Reaganite, his political record actually offers little insight into his legacy. A standard “Cold War liberal,” he endorsed the basic tenets of the New Deal at home and projected a stern, anti-Communist foreign policy. In fact, from an ideological standpoint, he differed little from countless other elected officials in the moderate wing of the Democratic Party or the liberal wing of the Republican Party.

Much greater understanding comes from adopting an altogether different strategy: approaching Kennedy as a cultural figure. From the beginning of his career, JFK’s appeal was always more about image than ideology, the emotions he channeled than the policies he advanced.


Generating an enthusiasm more akin to that of a popular entertainer than a candidate for national office, he was arguably America’s first “modern” president. Many subsequent presidents would follow the template he created, from Republicans Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump to Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.


A cultural icon

JFK pioneered the modern notion of the president as celebrity. The scion of a wealthy family, he became a national figure as a young congressman for his good looks, high-society diversions and status as an “eligible bachelor.”

He hobnobbed with Hollywood actors such as Frank Sinatra and Tony Curtis, hung out with models and befriended singers. He became a fixture in the big national magazines – Life, Look, Time, The Saturday Evening Post – which were more interested in his personal life than his political positions.


Later, Ronald Reagan, the movie actor turned politician, and Donald Trump, the tabloid fixture and star of “The Apprentice,” would translate their celebrity impulses into electoral success. Meanwhile, the saxophone-playing Bill Clinton and the smooth, “no drama” Obama – ever at ease on the talk show circuit – teased out variations of the celebrity role on the Democratic stage.


President Bill Clinton plays ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ on his saxophone during an episode of ‘The Arsenio Hall Show’ in 1992.AP Photo/Reed Saxon


After Kennedy, it was the candidate with the most celebrity appeal who often triumphed in the presidential sweepstakes.

A master of the media

Kennedy also forged a new path with his skillful utilization of media technology. With his movie-star good looks, understated wit and graceful demeanor, he was a perfect fit for the new medium of television.

He was applauded for his televised speeches at the 1956 Democratic convention, and he later prevailed in the famous television debates of the 1960 presidential election. His televised presidential press conferences became media works of art as he deftly answered complex questions, handled reporters with aplomb and laced his responses with wit, quoting literary figures like the Frenchwoman Madame de Staël.


John F. Kennedy gave the first live televised presidential press conference in history on Jan. 25, 1961. AP


Two decades later, Reagan proved equally adept with television, using his acting skills to convey an earnest patriotism, while the lip-biting Clinton projected the natural empathy and communication skills of a born politician. Obama’s eloquence before the cameras became legendary, while he also became an early adopter of social media to reach and organize his followers.

Trump, of course, emerged from a background in reality television and adroitly employed Twitter to circumvent a hostile media establishment, generate attention and reach his followers.


The vigorous male

Finally, JFK reshaped public leadership by exuding a powerful, masculine ideal. As I explore in my book, “JFK and the Masculine Mystique: Sex and Power on the New Frontier,” he emerged in a postwar era colored by mounting concern over the degeneration of the American male. Some blamed the shifting labor market for turning men from independent, manual laborers into corpulent, desk-bound drones within sprawling bureaucracies. Others pointed to suburban abundance for transforming men into diaper-changing denizens of the easy chair and backyard barbecue. And many thought that the advancement of women in the workplace would emasculate their male coworkers.

John F. Kennedy smokes a cigar and reads The New York Times on his boat off the coast of Hyannisport. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Enter Jack Kennedy, who promised a bracing revival of American manhood as youthful and vigorous, cool and sophisticated.

In his famous “New Frontier” speech, he announced that “young men are coming to power – men who are not bound by the traditions of the past – young men who can cast off the old slogans and delusions and suspicions.”


In a Sports Illustrated article titled “The Soft American,” he advocated a national physical fitness crusade. He endorsed a tough-minded realism to shape the counterinsurgency strategies that were deployed to combat Communism, and he embraced the buccaneering style of the CIA and the Green Berets. He championed the Mercury Seven astronauts as sturdy, courageous males who ventured out to conquer the new frontier of space.


JFK’s successors adopted many of these same masculine themes. Reagan positioned himself as a manly, tough-minded alternative to a weak, vacillating Jimmy Carter. Clinton presented himself as a pragmatic, assertive, virile young man whose hardscrabble road to success contrasted with the privileged, preppy George H.W. Bush. Obama impressed voters as a vigorous, athletic young man who scrimmaged with college basketball teams – a contrast to the cranky, geriatric John McCain and a stiff, pampered Mitt Romney.


More recently, of course, Trump’s outlandish masculinity appealed to many traditionalists unsettled by a wave of gender confusion, women in combat, weeping millennial “snowflakes” and declining numbers of physically challenging manufacturing jobs in the country’s post-industrial economy. No matter how crudely, the theatrically male businessman promised a remedy.


So as we look back at John F. Kennedy a century after his birth, it seems ever clearer that he ascended the national stage as our first modern president. Removed from an American political tradition of grassroots electioneering, sober-minded experience and bourgeois morality, this youthful, charismatic leader reflected a new political atmosphere that favored celebrity appeal, media savvy and masculine vigor. He was the first American president whose place in the cultural imagination dwarfed his political positions and policies.

Just as style made the man with Kennedy, it also remade the American presidency. It continues to do so today.

Steven Watts, Professor of History, University of Missouri-Columbia
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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The Hypocrisy of Trump’s Attack On Syria (Videos)

The Hypocrisy of Trump’s Attack on Syria

Let’s start with the incessant look the other way when the US government, its pharmaceuticals, its AMA, its FDA and many other so called health organizations that allow experiments to go on unabated, many times with poor and unsuspecting candidates for the testing.
Some few years ago, I read a book called “The Outsiders”, I believe, it was about deviant behavior in American society. One of the experiments was to build projects. They first experimented with rats. Then they took it to the poor, piling them up in buildings living on top of one another to see what would happen. They also use colors and landscaping to create a prison like environment to see how folks would react. 
Of course the crime rate escalated along with various other animalies. Great way to depopulate, imprison, sicken, and retard a group of people.
Ironically, the mass of people in one area became a voting block. So they had to tear the buildings down so they could redistrict the masses. 
One of the things that amazes me about these “so called” experiments is how they really don’t see futuristically nor do they understand human nature.
A large group of people in one area can bolster the economy of that area as well. Imagine the economists, the social engineers and the politicians fighting around the table about what plan to implement next according to who will benefit. So we see the plan being put in place, dismantled and then re-implemented at various points in the cycle. However the goal is always the same. Remove the undesirables, benefit from their destruction and do it all in secret or under the onus of some kind of illusive humanitarian goal.

What gets me about these folks who think the US and its allies are their friends when they constantly turn against them when they don’t play ball. Syria is not part of the World Bank Organization.
Ironically, Syria was a great friend to the US during the first stages of the Iraq war when it was using its prisons for so called suspected terrorists. Extraordinary rendition, remember that? Assad was not president at the time. But their prisons were used to house these suspects without trial.
And do you remember when they gave Sadaam Hussein gas to poison the Kurds and to help in his war against Iran? And do you remember that they were already bombing Iraq and had severe sanctions on it, even before the so called fear mongering around WMD. Of course they had them, because the US gave them to them, but they got rid of them too. But that was old news.
So yeah, folks do have short memories and that is why folks are so easily lead down the crocked path to trouble.
If you know anything about war strategy and if we know anything about 911 and bombing Iraq under a false pretense, then you know it takes weeks and weeks of planning sometimes months and maybe even years to actually rain down the bombs.
This stuff was put into motion and at the ready long before Trump got in there, he is just another fall guy, another puppet for the globalist agenda. If his supporters don’t see this , we’ll they are a party to the same mania the Obamabots had/have. Statism is a disease that eats away at personal sovereignty.
Did Syria Receive Its Chemical Weapons from Saddam?
LEFTIST MYTH BUSTED: Saddam moved WMDs to Syria
Syria Crisis Changes Trump’s Worldview
Are Syria’s Chemical Weapons Iraq’s Missing WMD? Obama’s Director of Intelligence Thought So.
GOP Congressman Endorses Bogus Theory That Syria Got Its Chemical Weapons From Saddam
BREAKING: Order Out of Chaos – WH Press Secretary Has Freudian Slip on Real Reason US Is In Syria
Evidence Calls Western Narrative About Syrian Chemical Attack Into Question
Intelligence and Military Sources Who Warned About WMD Lies Before Iraq War Now Say that Assad Did NOT Use Chemical Weapons
For everyone that keeps arguing that the Government wouldn’t secretly poison Black people… First of all, you must not have heard of the Tuskegee experiment. And second, have you ever heard of Slavery? That was done by THIS Government you are defending as well. So was Jim Crow and a thousand other things. But this next story should make you understand how low they can, will, and DO go. Keep your guard down if you want to.

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