Today is Thanksgiving, but it is also November 22, 2012, which makes it the 49th anniversary of a day that will live in infamy: the assassination of the 35th President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The Kennedy Presidency lasted a mere 2 years, 10 months, and 2 days. Yet, the impact of practices and policies initiated by JFK as well as via his brothers still affects us today to a strangely disproportionate degree, for woe as well as weal.
Early presidential campaigns, modern tv based public relations, computerized polling, the primary system, appeals to women and non White racial minorities are all establsihed parts of our political landscape that were pioneered and/or polished via the JFK presidential campaign. We have JFK to thank, or perhaps denounce, for bringing these practices full bore into American Presidential politics.
JFK was also assertive in crafting the idea of the president as non-partisan. When we hear Obama aspire to bipartisanship, he may not achieve that ideal, ut the concept of the President as bipartisan was a very JFK-esque concept that ha stuck. [Political scientist James MacGregor Burns, in his book Running Alone: Presidential Leadership From JFK to Bush II, argues that the bipartisan idea does more harm than good. Nonetheless, it is the template many Presidents aspire to.]
JFK's political legacy has exercised an usuusally strong influence on the political fate of the current President, Barack Obama.
The issue of immigration reform is a hot button issue of our time but it is often forgotten that JFK was an early advocate of reforming the immigration system's discriminatory bias in favor of NW Europeans. Immigration reform, coupled with the Civil Rights revolution that JFK tacitly supported, literally changed the face of America, and made the election and re-election of Barack Hussein Obama a possibility.
While policies advoated by JFK made Obama's rise to the presidency possible, it was the emulation of his brother Ted that enabled Obama to obtain a second term. The Obama campaign's strategy for defeating Mitt Romney was literally borrowed from the Ted Kennedy playbook: the same plan used by Ted Kennedy to defeat Romney in the 1994 Senate race was used by Team Obama to defeat Romney in the 2012 presidential race.
It would not be an overstatement to assert that if there had not been a JFK Presidency, there would be no Obama Presidency.