Larger than life…
The comparisons are too easy to pick out. But when it comes to lessons, the lessons for Obama from John F. Kennedy are a mixture of both good and bad.
1. The Bad
- You can make every possible mistake your first year and still salvage a legacy
- Bay of Pigs – When generals get into politics, it is not a good thing. Curtis LeMay tried to bully Kennedy and he did into this disaster.
- Soviets in Space – Cut them off at the pass.
- Vietnam – Keep your opinions to yourself about governments we are propping up.
- Now despite these failures, Kennedy was able to learn from them and forge ahead his own policy, his own agenda, and his own legacy
2. The Good
- Cuban Missile Crisis – Make the other guy blink
- Peace Corps – Leave a legacy behind that is distinctly you
- West Berlin/Ireland – What most people underestimate is the ability to make a great speech. Hillary discounted Obama’s ability to make a speech, and actually made fun of his ability. But when we look at JFK, his humor and his vision both rise in his speeches in foreign countries. Aside from his inauguration to his man to the moon speech, some of his best speeches were abroad.
- Challenge America – what has America been asked to do since 1961?
- Space – Maybe the economy right now is the best thing for the resurgence of the space program, but where are we going in space? Set some long range and short range goals in space.
- Civil Rights – unfortunately, your election will not heal the wounds of 235 years of slavery, but “it ain’t gonna hurt”.
But the biggest lesson…
It is all about “the vision” thing. Jefferson had it. JFK had it. What is your vision for America at home and abroad.
Other Presidential Lessons for Obama Series
John F. Kennedy
George H.W. Bush