CLICK Image to Buy "WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys"

CLICK Image to Buy "WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys"
WHEN LIONS ROAR is 'Brilliant' says Washington Post, Buy Now on Amazon

Chris Matthews Likes WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys"

Chris Matthews Likes WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys"
"What I like most in Maier's giant work is the spine of this saga, the all-important record of influence the great soldier-statesman-historian's life exerted on the future American president." -- Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball, review in Chartwell Bulletin, The Churchill Centre

Friday, June 13, 2008

Russert's Last Show: Kennedy's Prophecy: 40 Years Ago, Robert Kennedy predicted U.S. would be ready to elect an African-American as President



This is from a post earlier this week:
On today's "Meet the Press," host Tim Russert recalled the seemingly uncanny prediction by Robert Kennedy in the early 1960s that America would be ready to elect an African-American as president by 2008. "There is no question about it," said Kennedy to the Washington Post. "In the next 40 years a Negro can achieve the same position that my brother has." Kennedy said race relations were progressing at such a rate that "we are not going to accept the status quo."
In underlying this quote, Russert seemed amazed by Kennedy's almost prophetic comment. "Extraordinarily prescient," said Russert.
As my book explains in detail, the Kennedys likened the plight of blacks in America to their own understanding of bigotry faced by Irish Catholics in Boston. In his bid for president in 1960, John F. Kennedy struggled to overcome the fears and bias against the notion of having a Catholic in the White House. (Interestingly, even Martin Luther King's father, a well-known Baptist minister, opposed Kennedy initially because of his religion.)
Russert probably remembers his own reaction to JFK's election, as my book recounts on page 598-99: "Sophisticates such as television commentator Tim Russert still remember how the Irish Catholics in his old Buffalo neighborhood, the morning after the 1960 election, bounded out of their houses and yelled, We won! We won! 'He was Irish Catholic and one of us,' Russert recalled. 'For me it was so important because I now realized we could do anything. There were no more obstacles, no more limits."

Tim Russert Remembered



NBC newsman Tim Russert had a wonderful appreciation of American history, borne of his own humble beginnings as the son a sanitation worker in Buffalo. During last week's "Meet the Press," which would be his last, Russert recalled the seemingly uncanny prediction by Robert Kennedy in the early 1960s that America would be ready to elect an African-American as president by 2008. "There is no question about it," said Kennedy to the Washington Post. "In the next 40 years a Negro can achieve the same position that my brother has." Kennedy said race relations were progressing at such a rate that "we are not going to accept the status quo."
In underlying this quote, Russert seemed amazed by Kennedy's almost prophetic comment. "Extraordinarily prescient," said Russert.
As an Irish Catholic, Russert probably remembers his own reaction to JFK's election, breaking a barrier by becoming the first Catholic elected to the White House. As my book recounts on page 598-99: "Sophisticates such as television commentator Tim Russert still remember how the Irish Catholics in his old Buffalo neighborhood, the morning after the 1960 election, bounded out of their houses and yelled, We won! We won! 'He was Irish Catholic and one of us,' Russert recalled. 'For me it was so important because I now realized we could do anything. There were no more obstacles, no more limits."
Here's Russert talking about his father during a 2004 interview with Charlie Rose.

Sexism, Clinton and the Kennedy Comparison




When you go back and look at the coverage of the 1960 election -- as I did for my book "The Kennedys; America's Emerald Kings" -- it's surprising how much in-your-face bigotry that John F. Kennedy endured because of his Catholic religion, particularly by today's standards. In many ways, he was the Jackie Robinson of presidential politics, a model example for others in how to overcome historic barriers. In 2008, the Democrats offered several candidates who would be a similar "first" if elected to the presidency -- Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, and Hillary Clinton. With Clinton's departure from the race, there's now a lot of reflection about the sexism that she faced. Here's a comment from CBS news anchor Katie Couric.

Obama as the JFK Heir? Idealist, Winner or Both?




This exchange on Keith Obermann's Countdown program raised the question of whether Barack Obama was the political heir to the legacy of the Kennedys. It aired shortly after Ted Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy prominently endorsed Obama. Note that commentator Craig Crawford isn't sure how much effect it might have to help Obama's fortune. In retrospect, though, the Kennedy imprimatur seemed to carry weight, particularly as a repudiation of the Clintons. As this program asks, Was JFK an idealist or a winner? And will Obama be the true heir to JFK's legacy as the only U.S. president to come from a minority background? In the new introduction to the newly re-issued, "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings", I compare Obama's experience thus far to JFK's 1960 campaign.