The Hard Years: A Look at Contemporary America and American Institutions

By Eugene J. McCarthy | Go to book overview

37
John Kennedy

John F. Kennedy ( 1917-1963) served in the House of Representatives and in the Senate before his election as President of the United States in 1960. He also had experience in journalism, and he received a Pulitzer Prize for his book Profiles in Courage.

In Look magazine in July 1963, Sidney Hyman wrote of trouble on the New Frontier:

A baffling dark breeze is now blowing through Washington's political community. No one knows for sure what whipped it up, what it portends or when it will pass away. The effects take many forms. There are murmurs of things that are vaguely wrong, of plans to set something vaguely right. But there are no prophets shouting. If any one speaker dominates the Washington scene, it is the professor who shows with charts why it is manly to seek only the possible and not the good -- to let the part pass for the whole . . . to make workability the proof of truth and usefulness the test of value.

There were, to be sure, areas of failure in the Kennedy administration by late 1963 -- and much unfinished business. The overemphasis upon armaments and on the "missile gap" in the campaign of 1960 had set the country on a course of larger and larger military budgets, and perhaps had led to the invasion of Cuba, the subsequent missile confrontation, and the humiliation of Khrushchev, a humiliation which contributed significantly to his fall from power and to the suspension, if not the reversal, of the move to ease East-West tensions.

With the advice and counsel of Dean Rusk, the Secretary of State, and of Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense, the President, in committing approximately sixteen thousand troops to Vietnam, had changed our involvement there in a quantitative way.

-190-

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The Hard Years: A Look at Contemporary America and American Institutions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction by Tom Wicker vii
  • Preface xix
  • Part I - Institutions 1
  • 1 - Toward a More Responsible Presidency 3
  • 2 - The Vice President as Crown Prince 15
  • 3 - Changes in the Congress 19
  • 4 - The Courts, the Last Appeal 28
  • 5 - Court of Ideas 32
  • 6 - A Kind Word for the Bureaucrats 35
  • 7 - A Kind Word for the Military 45
  • 8 - A Warning About the Military Establishment 49
  • 9 - The Cia and the Inner Ring 58
  • 10 - The Corporations 61
  • 11 - The Universities 68
  • 12 - The Democratic and Republican Parties 75
  • 13 - Alternatives to the Major Parties 80
  • Part II - Operations 87
  • 14 - A Hard Look at the Primaries 89
  • 15 - Personality Cults 96
  • 16 - The Cult of the Expert 97
  • 17 - A Good and Becoming Exit 100
  • 18 - Listen to Mr. Parkinson 104
  • 19 - The Sst: Object Lesson in Dynamics of Opposition 106
  • 20 - The Lobbyists 109
  • 21 - Grant Park, Chicago 116
  • 22 - Marching on Washington 118
  • 23 - Changing America 122
  • Part III - Principles 125
  • 24 - Innocence in Politics 127
  • 25 - Language and Politics 130
  • 26 - Poetry and War 135
  • 27 - Ares 144
  • 28 - Intellectuals and Politics 148
  • 29 - Out of Phase 155
  • 30 - Trouble in the Economics Community 158
  • 31 - Constitutional Amendments 165
  • 32 - Five Systems of Justice 170
  • 33 - The Enemies List 173
  • 34 - Censorship 182
  • Part IV - A Good Person is Not So Hard to Find 185
  • 35 - John Bennett 187
  • 36 - Emerson Hynes 189
  • 37 - John Kennedy 190
  • 38 - Dan and Doris Kimball 193
  • 39 - Robert Lowell 196
  • 40 - Wayne Morse 197
  • 41 - Lewis Mumford 203
  • 42 - Eleanor Roosevelt 205
  • 43 - Frank Rosenblatt 207
  • 44 - Adlai Stevenson 208
  • Notes 215
  • Index 223
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