President John F. Kennedy: Cons of His Presidency
About the cons or negatives aspects and failures of John F. Kennedy's presidency.
His 2 Years, 306 Days as President
In foreign policy, Kennedy lurched unsteadily from one crisis to another-it was his apparent ineptitude in the handling of the Bay of Pigs invasion that encouraged the Soviets to test his resolution by moving missiles to Cuba. In calling out American reserves to reenforce Berlin, Kennedy grossly overreacted to a Soviet threat, and his inflated, warlike rhetoric consistently aggravated cold war tensions. The big increases in military spending under Kennedy offer another example of dangerous saber-rattling, and provoked similar increases by the U.S.S.R. In committing the U.S. to the much publicized "space race" with the Russians, Kennedy began a pointless competition which cost the American people some $50 billion.
Kennedy's handling of Congress was dismal and inept, and none of the major domestic proposals of his much-heralded "New Frontier" were enacted into law. As Senate minority leader Everett Dirksen aptly commented, a Kennedy legislative recommendation had "about as much impact as a snowflake on the bosom of the Potomac." In the 1st 2 years of his Administration, Kennedy was often tardy and reluctant in his commitment to equal rights for black Americans. As a candidate, he announced that a President could end discrimination in Federal housing "with the stroke of a pen"; as President, it took him 22 months to pick up that pen.
Kennedy's "Camelot" was all glitter and no substance. It is true that JFK inspired a generation of Americans and raised them to a pitch of high excitement, but his promises were never followed by performance. The tense, crisis atmosphere of the Kennedy years produced no significant progress for the American people. It was this gap between rhetoric and reality that caused much of the frustration and bitterness that came back to plague the nation in the late '60s.
Kennedy's fascination with "counter insurgency" broadened U.S. commitments in Southeast Asia. Kennedy would have probably made the same mistakes that Johnson did. There is no reason to believe that his death had any major effect on the overall sweep of American history.
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