Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Obama Should be in Gettysburg; Could Have Saved JFK

Obama Should be in Gettysburg; Could Have Saved JFK
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
November 19, 2013

Barack Obama should be ashamed of himself for not taking a few hours out of a lackluster schedule and go to Gettysburg, on this, the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's famous Address.

I don't want to hear from people about how President John F. Kennedy wasn't in attendance for the 100th anniversary and that other presidents from both sides of the aisle have not attended either. Not since William Howard Taft has a sitting president appeared at a Gettysburg ceremony, and that is a shame. It is not political – at least on every tenth anniversary the president should have visited Gettysburg. Distance is not an issue either.

Obama has referenced Lincoln, attempted to emulate Lincoln (to a colossal failure), kicked off his presidential campaign in Springfield, IL, and took the oath of office on the Lincoln Bible.
Obama should be in Gettysburg today.
Now for an interesting what if of history. What if President Kennedy attended the ceremony on November 19, 1963? Perhaps he may not have been in Dallas, TX three days later. That is not to say Kennedy would not have ever been assassinated, no one knows that, obviously, but a trip to Gettysburg may have saved his life.

Such a trip may not have secured Kennedy’s reelection the following year, however. Could Arizona Senator Barry M. Goldwater have defeated JFK in 1964? That too remains to be seen, but he would have fared better than he did against President Lyndon Johnson.

The nation was not prepared to have three presidents with a 14 month span. A grieving nation, so enamored by the young Kennedy and the mystique of his family and White House, elected Johnson as a continuation of the Kennedy administration a year after the assassination.

Interestingly enough, the wide swath of Civil Rights legislation passed easily under Johnson’s watch in memory of Kennedy, as so many believed, may not have passed so easily had Kennedy been president. Kennedy was no liberal on civil rights (or the economy, for that matter) and passage would have been a harder path to endure.

Had Goldwater been elected, the conservative revolution may have started nearly two decades prior to its actuality upon the election of President Ronald Reagan. Goldwater would no doubt have seen Vietnam end sooner and with a more positive conclusion.

A Goldwater presidency might have precluded one of Richard M. Nixon, and thus avoided the scandal of Watergate. Without a Watergate scandal there would not have been a President Gerald Ford, or Jimmy Carter. Carter, and quite frankly, any Democrat would have enjoyed electoral success in 1976 following the Nixon fall from grace.

On the other hand, without Carter and his miserable failure of an administration, Reagan might not emerged as the leader he became that the United States needed following the Iranian hostage crisis, out of control inflation, and unemployment.

Just a supposition on history.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

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