looking back on those looking ahead

Every day I savor wave after wave of email newsletters from all points on the political spectrum. Recently, I found a fascinating collection of pieces from the National Review. The conservative magazine republished four articles that originally appeared in the Dec. 17, 1963, edition, the first since the assassination of President Kennedy on Nov. 22. Their critical tone was expected but nevertheless, as I said, fascinating.

R.I.P: “The editors of National Review judged John Fitzgerald Kennedy to be a consummate technician of mass politics. His programs and policies — often chosen, by the evidence, in opportunistic furtherance of technical manipulations — we judged to be, for the most part, dangerous to the nation’s well-being and security, and to the survival of our perilously threatened Western civilization. Neither his death nor the fearful manner of it provides any reason to change these judgments.”

Which Way with LBJ? “If he can keep business happy, and deal with Khrushchev without kowtowing to him, the theme of ‘peace and prosperity’ could provide a stronger platform for him than it would have made for a Kennedy who had had three years’ headstart on him in making enemies.”

Foreign Policy of the Kennedy Administration: “From the point of view of its American proponents, the Yalta strategy looks both realistic and attractive, since they see it as the road to agreement between the two decisive world powers. From the point of view of the Kremlin it also looks both realistic and attractive: they see it as the best method for burying us.”

And Still … Goldwater Can Win: “One would think that after the brutal assassination of President Kennedy, responsible men would have recoiled in horror from capitalizing upon it for ideological ends. Yet, hardly had John F. Kennedy been officially pronounced dead than the Liberal Establishment broke forth in a nationwide television and radio orgy of lynch incitement against the American Right.”

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