The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960

By Shaun A. Casey | Go to book overview

4
PREPARING FOR
BATTLE

Nixon’s religion problem in the 1960 election was the converse of Kennedy’s. That is, how could he stave off a massive movement of Catholic Republicans to his opponent while simultaneously appealing to Protestants, all without appearing to be a religious bigot? Nixon came to the campaign with significant preparation in discussions of religion.

Nixon offered his own account in a 1962 book entitled Six Crises. Nixon began writing the book almost immediately upon leaving office in 1961. In retrospect, it reads like the opening salvo of Nixon’s (hypothetical) 1964 campaign for the presidency. According to Nixon, in April 1961 a representative of Doubleday and Company came to see him in California and asked him to consider writing a book. Nixon proposed that he write a book analyzing six crises that he had faced in order to distill a few lessons for handling them.1 For Nixon, these lessons were personal. He believed that it is in moments of crisis that one sees the true character of a leader, his morals, faith, strengths, and weaknesses. The greatest of these strengths is selflessness. Confidence is necessary and comes from preparation. Serenity comes from religious heritage. Courage is the product of discipline. And experience is vitally important because it empowers a leader not to be distracted by tension.2 These traits are usually acquired and not inherited. All of these statements were extensions of arguments he had lodged against Kennedy during the campaign—and would presumably have used again in 1964 if he had the opportunity. The book also allowed him to retell

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The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • 1- The Ghost of Al Smith 3
  • 2- The Lay of the Land 30
  • 3- First Skirmishes 52
  • 4- Preparing for Battle 81
  • 5- Mobilizing the Troops 101
  • 6- Guerrilla Warfare 123
  • 7- A Lion in a Den of Daniels 151
  • 8- The Endgame 177
  • Epilogue 200
  • Notes 207
  • Index 235
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