To the New Frontier
(TIME, July 25, 1960) -- All the while his erstwhile rivals were telling the 70,000 people in the Los Angeles Coliseum what a great guy he was, Jack Kennedy fidgeted in his chair, chatted with his neighbor, or worked at scraping a wad of gum off his right shoe. When the time came to accept the Democratic presidential nomination, he graciously saluted the vanquished one by one -- Running Mate Lyndon Johnson, Adlai Stevenson, Stuart Symington, Hubert Humphrey, also scrappy Paul Butler, retiring chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and the absent Harry Truman. Then Jack Kennedy plunged into his speech, proved with considerable eloquence that he had three things uppermost in his mind: his religion, his opponent, and a call for American greatness through sacrifice.
Pressure v. Performance. Nobody had said much about his Roman Catholicism since the West Virginia primary, but Kennedy wanted to thank the Democratic party for taking, along with him, "what many regard as a new and hazardous risk...The Democratic Party has once again placed its confidence in the American people, and in their ability to render a free and fair judgment," said he. "And you have, at the same time, placed your confidence in me, and in my ability to render a free, fair judgment, to uphold the Constitution and my oath of office, to reject any kind of religious pressure or obligation that might directly or indirectly interfere with my conduct of the presidency in the national interest."
As for how he would perform in office: "My record of 14 years in supporting public education, supporting complete separation of church and state and resisting pressure from sources of any kind should be clear by now to everyone. I hope that no American, considering the really critical issues facing this country, will waste his franchise and throw away his vote by voting either for me or against me solely on account of my religious affiliation. (Said Al Smith in Oklahoma City in 1928: "I here emphatically declare that I do not wish any member of my faith...to vote for me on any religous grounds...By the same token, I cannot refrain from saying that any person who votes against me simply because of my religion is not, to my way of thinking, a good citizen.") It is not relevant."
Sacrifice & Security. His reference to Dwight Eisenhower as a "President who began his career by going to Korea and ends it by staying away from Japan" and his labored attack on Vice President Richard Nixon seemed out of keeping with his general tone. They also muffled the message that apparently would serve as his major theme through the campaign: the U.S. must recognize and conquer the "New Frontier."
He called it "the frontier of the 1960s, the frontier of unknown opportunities and perils, the frontier of unfulfilled hopes and unfilled threats." The New Frontier "is not a set of promises; it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them. It holds out the promise of more sacrifice instead of more security."
What challenges did Kennedy offer? What sacrifices would he ask? How, if elected, would he stir the nation to explore and overcome the "uncharted areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered pockets of ignorance and prejudice?" He did not specify -- beyond saying that "my promises are in the platform that you have adopted" -- and presumably the specification would be the stuff of three months' campaigning. (At a press conference the next day, Kennedy rebuffed newsmen's attempts to have him list the "sacrifices" or to detail his farm or foreign policies, though he did say that he opposes the admission of "extremely belligerent, extremely bellicose" Red China to the United Nations, or its recognition by the U.S.) But his generalized peroration had a fine brink-of-doom ring. The choice, he said, "lies not merely between two men or two parties, but between the public interest and private comfort, between national greatness and national decline, between the fresh air of progress and the stale, dank atmosphere of `normalcy,' between dedication or mediocrity. All mankind waits upon our decision."
To the Same Old Stand
By rights, no law of politics forbade the Democratic presidential nominee from attacking the Republican nominee- presumptive in his acceptance speech. But when Jack Kennedy took time out for a personal attack on Dick Nixon, his campaign fell back notably from the new frontier to the same old stand.
"We know that our opponents will invoke the name of Abraham Lincoln on behalf of their candidate -- despite the fact that his political career has often seemed to show charity toward none and malice for all," he said to mild applause. "We know that it will not be easy to campaign against a man who has spoken and voted on every issue. Mr. Nixon may feel it is his turn now, after the New Deal and the Fair Deal -- but before he deals, someone is going to cut the cards.
"Millions of Americans who voted for President Eisenhower [may] balk at electing his successor. For, just as historians tell us that Richard I was not fit to fill the shoes of the bold Henry II, and that Richard Cromwell was not fit to wear the mantle of his uncle, they might add in future years that Richard Nixon did not measure up to the footsteps of Dwight D. Eisenhower.
"Perhaps he could carry on the party policies -- the policies of Nixon and Benson and Dirksen and Goldwater. But this nation cannot afford such a luxury. Perhaps we could afford a Coolidge following Harding. And perhaps we could afford a Pierce following Fillmore. But after Buchanan this nation needed Lincoln; after Taft we needed a Wilson; and after Hoover we needed Franklin Roosevelt."
Without saying where this put him, Kennedy riffled back again through history for Nixon's benefit. "The Republican nominee, of course, is a young man. But his approach is as old as McKinley. His party is the party of the past -- the party of memory. His speeches are generalities from Poor Richard's Almanac..."
Part of the reason that Kennedy's daisy cutter misfired was that he and Nixon are known to have a genuine, longstanding respect for each other -- both are ex-naval officers, both members of the freshman congressional class of 1947, both together on such sturdy mid-20th century issues as civil rights, labor reform, foreign aid, etc. Moreover, Kennedy's running mate, Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson, has frequently told friends of his private respect and admiration for Nixon. But principally the Nixon attack misfired because Jack Kennedy's campaign had seemed to show promise of something vastly better.
The Organization Nominee
Armed with the Kennedy smile and the Kennedy confidence, the hopeful nominee made his businesslike way to Los Angeles. Surrounded by his vast company of experts and workers, and by Brothers Bobby and Ted, Jack Kennedy was ready to pluck the fruit of seeds he had nourished so well over the months. In his pocket, secured, checked and double-checked like an audit of the U.S. Treasury, was his packet of certain votes so persistently gathered around the nation. And yet, with all the smell of victory in the air, the Kennedys were allowing for mischance, miscalculation -- the sudden outbreak of an emotional riot, perhaps, that might start delegates stampeding in the wrong direction.
Adlai Stevenson had come to town, too, and from the evident Southern California passion for Stevenson or from the scattered pockets of Northern resistance could come a derailment of Kennedy plans. More dangerous still was the image of Texas' come-lately Lyndon Baines Johnson, bolstered by his prestige as a consistent miracle worker in the Senate, confident of a solid block of Southern votes -- a block second only to Jack's. Jack's prize was not yet in the bag.
Time to Nap? Kennedy got moving like a honeybee in the spring. He patrolled the reaches of Los Angeles in a white Cadillac. Invading caucus after caucus, he made his plea for support, fitting each adlib speech to the mood of the moment or the region. Farmers need help, he told Iowans; the West's natural resources need development, he warned Coloradans. On and on he pushed, relentlessly, coolly, gathering applause, staving off trouble from the opposition. Between caususes, he held court with a parade of politicos in his Biltmore suite (Apartment Q), or checked new lists and new threats. Going into a meeting with New Yorkers, he bumped into a jovial but tense Lyndon Johnson. "Why don't you take a nap?" kidded Lyndon. "I've got that one all sewed up."
Kennedy showed impressive muscle in his first big key play with the Pennsylvania delegation (81 votes). For months Governor David Leo Lawrence, one of the nation's strongest Democratic bosses, had been a holdout against Kennedy for fear that a Roman Catholic presidential nominee might hurt the party in militantly Protestant rural regions. Lawrence and his Pennsylvanians invited Kennedy and the opposition to a breakfast at Pasadena's Huntington-Sheraton Hotel. Stu Symington, forceful and yet somehow dim as a waning flashlight, got a good hand for his promise to attack Richard Nixon on domestic policies and Eisenhower on foreign relations. Johnson promised responsible leadership and then, almost with a note of resignation, offered to back the winner whoever he might be. Jack Kennedy pounced on the U.S.'s dwindling prestige, promised to campaign in Pennsylvania if nominated and "make this election the most significant in 25 years." When they had finished, Dave Lawrence led the biggest question-mark delegation in the nation into caucus, told them that he was for Jack Kennedy. Sixty-four delegates fell into orderly ranks behind him.
Just when it apppeared that Kennedy had votes to burn, the first Stevenson fire started. The alarm came from the Minnesota delegation. Following a moving speech by Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey flipped from Kennedy to Adlai; Junior Senator Eugene McCarthy was more than ever madly for Adlai; and Governor Orville Freeman, fresh from a vice-presidential tour of Kennedy's Apartment Q, had a raging Kennedy fever.
Shaky Knees. Next day, the Kennedys' one big miscalculation handed Johnson the big chance. As a routine matter, the Kennedy company had sent off a batch of wires to delegations, requesting an audience for Jack. Johnson replied with a telegram suggesting a joint caucus of the Texas and Massachusetts delegations and a debate on major issues. Kennedy declined to mix the two and assumed that the debate was off, but Lyndon and his boys, as well as a regiment of newsmen and TV contingents, crowded into the Biltmore's ballroom for what was now billed as something like the Lincoln-Douglas debates. While the crowd waited and Lyndon orated, Jack sat tight in his room. At last South Carolina's Governor Fritz Hollings phoned. "You're going down to that debate aren't you?" he asked. No, said Jack. "You'd better do it," drawled Hollings. "I'm watching that man on TV and he'll ruin you if you don't." Jack went.
As he rose to address the Texans, Kennedy's trembling legs made his trousers flutter, and sweat beaded his upper lip. "I shall continue to vote for Senator Johnson as President, if he's nominated, or as majority leader," he said. Against Kennedy's conciliatory remarks, Lyndon launched into a barrage of sarcasm, and without mentioning Jack's name, bitterly attacked Kennedy's voting record and his Senate absenteeism. Then: "I think, Jack, we Protestants proved in West Virginia that we'll vote for a Catholic. What we want is some of the Catholic states to prove that they'll vote for a Protestant."
The Johnson-loaded room hooted and cheered with each sharp shaft, while Kennedy sat expressionless on the dais. When Johnson concluded, Jack popped up with a light back-pat from Brother Bobby. He somewhat neutralized the attack with a few sophisticated snap sentences. "We survived," he said, laughing apprehensively. Johnson had scored some points, but Kennedy had the votes.
Confidence & Souffles. Survival still required action, and day by day Jack Kennedy kept moving in on sector after sector, taking hill after hill. Wherever he went, he shook every outstretched hand, autographed every paper in sight, all the while pursued by a straggle of perspiring, panting reporters and photographers who, on one occasion, even swarmed behind him into the men'sroom. In the evenings, while the convention droned on at the Sports Arena, Jack dodged his chaperons of the press and drove secretly to the Beverly Hills home of former Film Queen Marion Davies to dine and confer with his father, Joe Kennedy, an unseen but eagerly interested witness at the convention. To avoid the mobs, Jack shifted from the Biltmore to a not-so-secret hideaway in the penthouse of a rose-colored apartment building (which is shaped like a ship and named "The Mauritania"). To make his secret nightly journeys to see his father, Jack had to scramble down a fire escape, leap over a wall behind the building. "I'm so tired," he said to his brother-in-law Steve Smith. "I wonder if I'm exuding the basic confidence."
He was. As Wednesday rolled around and the delegates poured into the arena for the nominations and the balloting, the Kennedy steamroller had flattened the last visible rise of significant opposition; Johnson's drive was stalled. Stevenson's exquisite moment in Minnesota expired like a souffle. Even Adlai's surprise appearance in the hall on the night before, exploiting the passions of the loving crowds in the galleries, had excited no rush to the Adlaian altar.
"We're In." Yet the Stevenson challenge was not altogether dead. To the rostrum came Minnesota's Gene McCarthy to make the most impassioned speech of the whole convention -- in Stevenson's behalf. "Do not turn away from this man," he pleaded. "He spoke to the people. He moved their minds and stirred their hearts...Do not leave this prophet without honor in his own party. Do not reject this man." With that, the hall exploded into the fiercest demonstration of the week. From his command post, Bobby Kennedy set out to snuff out Stevenson flickers in wavering delegations. But it did not take long to discover that the delegates themselves were largely unmoved, and the Stevenson revival was largely a mirage. Bobby phoned Jack. "It's O.K.," he said. "We're in."
The roll call told the story. As each delegation registered its declaration, Bobby Kennedy examined his lists. When Vermont was casting its vote, Bobby had already concluded that Wyoming's vote could put Jack over the top on the first ballot -- without switches. Ted Kennedy edged down the crowded aisles and joined the Wyoming delegation. There, Delegate Dale Richardson penciled the tally, looked up and grinned. Rising, he shuffled excitedly down the rows of his group, shouting "Let's go! Let's go!" Though the delegation had decided to split their vote among Kennedy, Johnson and Symington, one after another yelled, "O.K.!" and waved their arms in assent. Moments later the clerk called "WYOMING!" and Delegation Chairman Tracy McCracken, his white hair glistening in the spotlight, cried: "Wyoming's vote will make a majority for Senator Kennedy!" And through the thunderous tumult came Missouri's move to declare the nomination by acclamation (final roll-call tally: Kennedy, 806; Johnson, 409; Symington, 86; Stevenson, 79 1/2).
Hospitality & Restraint. By the time it was all over, Lyndon Johnson, who had been watching his TV set with glum resignation, was dressed in gaudy Paisley pajamas and ready for bed. Jack Kennedy was calmly accepting congratulations in his hideout and putting through a phone call to his wife on Cape Cod. At first, he planned to stay away from the wild mobs at the arena, but Bobby advised him to make the trip, and Jack sped off at 60 m.p.h.
In the Kennedy "hospitality house," outside the arena, the brothers met with restrained congratulations. The only sign of emotion came from Bobby, who pounded his right first triumphantly into the palm of his left hand. A few minutes later the weary candidate walked into the roaring arena, flanked by his beaming mother and sister Pat Lawford. And back at Marion Davies' Beverly Hills home, old Joe Kennedy picked up the phone. It was Bobby. Cried the head of the Kennedy clan to his second son: "It's the best organization job I've ever seen in politics."
My Fair Lyndon
Jack Kennedy's choice of Lyndon Johnson as his vice- presidential candidate showed with brilliant clarity his ability to manipulate men and his commander's talent in using one kind of strategy and set of arguments to win the nomination -- and another to win the election.
To win the nomination, he had courted Midwestern and Western Governors and Senators, dangling the vice-presidency, Cabinet jobs and key convention posts before favorite sons' eyes. But the November election called for a firm alliance with the Solid South to balance Kennedy strength in Roman Catholic industrial centers -- and to save Kennedy from Al Smith's loss of seven Southern states in 1928. So with adding-machine abruptness, the Midwestern and Western romances were broken off.
Go, Go, Go! At one point while going for the nomination, the Kennedys badly wanted the votes of Washington, whose Governor, Albert Rosellini, a Roman Catholic, was cool. So they pitched vice-presidential woo to Washington's Senator Henry M. ("Scoop") Jackson, a Presbyterian. "Scoop is my personal choice, and Jack likes Scoop," said Bobby to a Jackson aide. "You've got to give us some pegs to hang our hats on. Go, go, go!" Scoop and his team went, went, went, talking up his vice-presidential prospects until to be anti-Kennedy in the Washington delegation was akin to being treasonably anti-Scoop.
Iowa's Governor Herschel Loveless and Kansas' Governor George Docking trod the garden path to Jack's suite at the Biltmore, ready to ditch their own favorite-son commitments in time to throw their delegates onto the Kennedy train. But Loveless had heard rumors that Minnesota's Orville Freeman might be the chosen one, and suggested that the whole vice-presidential business be dropped so he could concentrate on running for the U.S. Senate. Jack Kennedy advised Loveless, who is 49, to keep himself in readiness. "It has to be a Midwesterner, Herschel," sid Jack. "Just remember, Orv is younger (42) than you." Loveless left the room feeling ten feet tall.
Orv Freeman himself practically tore the Minnesota delegation apart to go for Kennedy -- and seriously endangered his own prospects for re-election this fall. After their meeting, Kennedy told the press with a smile: "Governor Freeman will be in the front line of those considered. Too young? I don't think youth is a calamity. We're all going to get over it."
All the while, the forces of Missouri's Stu Symington were being tempted to abandon the presidential race by well-floated rumors of Stu's potential vice-presidential strength. Though Symington himself held fast, Missouri's Governor Jim Blair set the stage for Stu by grabbing the microphone after the presidential balloting and moving for a Kennedy nomination by acclamation. Ohio's Governor Mike Di Salle, a Kennedy-before- Wisconsin man, urged Symington. So did Chicago's Mayor Dick Daley, Illinois Democratic boss, who had delivered most of Illinois' 69 votes for Kennedy. So did Michigan's "Soapy" Williams.
The Pitch. But Jack Kennedy had other ideas. Early in convention week, and again later on, Washington Post Publisher Phil Graham -- a close friend of Lyndon Johnson's and one of the capital's most influential men -- told Jack that Lyndon might accept the vice-presidential post despite general impressions to the contrary. On the morning after his nomination. Jack made his tentative decision. "I'm going to see Lyndon," he told Brother Bobby. "I think we ought to offer it to him, but I don't think he'll accept."
From his ninth-floor suite at the Biltmore, Kennedy phoned two floors below to the Johnson suite. Lyndon was asleep, but Lady Bird Johnson woke him. They agreed to meet in Lyndon's room, where Kennedy made his offer. Then Kennedy returned to the ninth floor and huddled with party big shots -- Dick Daley, Soapy Williams, New York's Mayor Bob Wagner, Tammany's Carmine De Sapio, Pennsylvania's Dave Lawrence and Bill Green, Connecticut's Governor (and Kennedy strategist) Abe Ribicoff, A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s Walter Reuther. Liberals such as Reuther and Williams were dead set against Johnson, argued hard for Symington. But most of the others, notably Dave Lawrence, were willing to go along with Kennedy.
Jack at length called Lyndon and told him: "I'd like to have you." Johnson accepted, but he said frankly that he did not want the job, did not like the idea of "trading a vote for a gavel." He warned that the ticket could hurt Kennedy with Northern liberals, but he assured Kennedy that he was a team player. "I know there is only one boss. That's you. I'll take orders and do exactly what you want." During the next four hours, the Northern liberals indeed began raging with indignation, and Bobby Kennedy had to flip up and down between the ninth and seventh floors like a Yo-Yo, clearing points with Jack and Lyndon, advising Lyndon of still newer opposition and of the possibility of a floor fight. Said Johnson: "If I'm your choice, I'll make a fight for it."
At one point, Kennedy himself went to talk to Sam Rayburn. "We're not a candidate for anything," said Rayburn. "But if you want Johnson and Johnson wants it, I'll go out and provide it. You go and say that you need him and want him." Said Rayburn to Lyndon: "If he wants you and you want it, it'll be all right."
"Please!" When the news got out, the Symington people were thunderstruck. "Partner," said Missouri's Jim Blair to a friend, "we've just been run over by a steamroller." A twister of fury spun through the delegations of the Northern and Midwestern states. Snapped an Iowa woman bitterly: "Out where we come from, you take a man at his word. We'll lose Iowa for sure without a Midwesterner on the ticket." A Californian buttonholed Massachusetts Congressman John McCormack. "Please," she argued plaintively, "you're ruining the party. This is too cynical. The people will revolt and elect Nixon." Soapy Williams' wife Nancy showed her contempt by turning in her Kennedy buttons.
To give the nomination the full professional touch, the Kennedy people arranged to have Pennsylvania Boss Lawrence make the nominating speech and backed it up with seconding speeches by six men representing diverse regions (among them: Chicago's Negro Congressman William Dawson). Still, the electric charges in the arena shot about like hot neutrons in search of a nucleus. On the call for a voice vote, Michigan's 152-member delegation -- as well as other vociferous liberals -- broke into a tumultuous "NO!" Florida's Governor Collins ruled Lyndon Johnson in by acclamation.
Univac & Unity. By convention's end, many a delegate had the feeling that he had been whipsawed by a Univac in a button-down collar. But the Kennedy organization, now renowned for its attention to detail, instantly set about patching up the bruises, Johnson pep-talked a bunch of Negro leaders; Kennedy mollified the liberals by appointing Adlai Stevenson and Chester Bowles to he his agents at Whie House briefings on foreign affairs (but Ike himself said he would give classified information to nobody but Kennedy or Johnson). Other folks were reminded that, come to think of it, F.D.R., the Northern liberal, had once chosen Texas Conservative John Nance Garner as his running mate ("Garner regretted it the rest of his life," said a Texan ruefully. "I hope Johnson doesn't.") and recalled how Adlai Stevenson's No. 2 man in 1952 was Alabama's Senator John Sparkman.
In the light of those precedents, the Kennedy-Johnson marriage did not seem so astonishing after all. Thus, as in most instances of sock-and-swat Democratic brawls, the bright sun of unity shone down on the happy pair as they hopped onto their steamroller and gaily left town for their honeymoon.
THE PLATFORM Rights of Man -- 1960 Style
"My promises are in the platform." -- John F. Kennedy
"I accept...the happy privilege of campaigning on your platform." -- Lyndon B. Johnson
Party platforms have traditionally been ramshackle structures -- ill-assorted odds and ends of lumber loosely nailed together by cautious, compromise-minded committees. By comparison, the 1960 Democratic platform, grandly entitled "The Rights of Man," is a well-made document: straightforward, clear, brief and -- as platforms go -- probably the most coherent blueprint for Utopia ever to come out of a convention. As such, it reflected not only the promises of the candidate but the leanings of its principal architect: Platform Committee Chairman Chester Bowles, 59, Congressman from Connecticut, prosperous ex-adman (Benton & Bowles), Harry Truman's best-known Ambassador to India, Kennedy's chief foreign policy adviser, and an anchor man of Democratic liberals.
Defense & Foreign Policy. Like Caesar's Gaul, the platform is divided into three principal parts:
The essential goal of foreign policy, is "an enduring peace in which the universal values of human dignity, truth and justice under law are finally secured for all men everywhere on earth" -- a more elaborate statement of President Eisenhower's "peace with justice." As aids to the cause of peace, the platform proposes more foreign economic aid, expanded world trade (with a cryptic promise of "international agreements to assure...fair labor standards to protect our own workers"), liberalized immigration policies, "more sensitive" overseas information programs, and a "national peace agency for disarmament planning and research." Until peace is secured, the Democratic Party promises "forces and weapons of a diversity, balance and mobility sufficient in quantity and quality to deter both limited and general aggressions," plus a "strong and effective" civil defense. To the "rulers of the Communist world," the platform addresses a bracing declaration:
"We confidently accept your challenge to competition in every field of human effort...
"We believe your Communist ideology to be sterile, unsound and doomed to failure. We believe that your children will reject the intellectual prison in which you seek to confine them, and that ultimately they will choose the eternal principles of freedom.
"In the meantime, we are prepared to negotiate with you whenever and wherever there is a realistic possibility of progress without sacrifice of principle...
"But we will use all the will, power, resources and energy at our command to resist the further encroachment of Communism on freedom -- whether at Berlin, Formosa, or new points of pressure."
Civil Rights. In its sweeping promises of Government-enforced equality for Negroes, the civil rights plank reaches far beyond any previous party platform, Democratic or Republican. "The time has come," it says, "to assure equal access for all Americans to all areas of community life, including voting booths, schoolrooms, jobs, housing and public facilities." If the platform is translated into action, every school district in the country will undertake "at least first-step compliance" with the Supreme Court's school desegregation decision by 1963, the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. The Attorney General should be "empowered and directed to file civil injunction suits in federal courts to prevent the denial of any civil rights on grounds of race, creed or color." The plank's most controversial proposal: a federal Fair Employment Practices Commission "to secure for everyone the right to equal opportunity for employment" -- a proposal (already law in 16 states) that Florida's Senator Spessard Holland warned would "make it frightfully impossible to carry ten states of the Southland."
The Welfare State. In its economics, the platform offers a kind of Populism that has gone to Harvard (home of Kennedy's professorial advisers John Kenneth Galbraith and Archibald Cox). Instead of lacing the "wolves of Wall Street" and the bankers for such high crimes as tight money and high interest rates, it blames Republican Washington -- and offers a glittering prospect if the Democrats are returned to office. The platform makes bows to the free-enterprise system ("the most creative and productive form of economic order that the world has seen") and to fiscal sobriety ("needs can be met with a balanced budget, with no increase in present tax rates"), but then it goes on to call for a broad and costly expansion of federal services. And how are they to be paid for? In the real world, the answer would have to be either inflationary deficit spending or increased taxes, but in the platform's Utopia the Democrats propose to pay the added welfare costs by rubbing liberalism's newest Aladdin's lamp -- the force- fed 5% economic growth rate (growth rate of the U.S. economy over the past half-century: 3%). Platform Committee Chairman Bowles admitted a fortnight ago in Los Angeles that he did not know how a 5% growth rate could be achieved without inflation, but no such candor intrudes into the platform.
Along with more veterans' benefits (already costing some $5 billion a year), greatly expanded "programs to aid urban communities," aid for depressed areas, federal help for schools, a youth conservation corps for the underprivileged, and even federal "incentives" for artists, the platform proposes to implement, on a grand scale, the "Economic Bill of Rights" that Franklin Roosevelt put forward during his 1944 campaign. Among them:
The platform invokes Thomas Jefferson as the sponsor of its "Rights of Man." But the "rights" envisaged by Bowles & Co. in 1960 are radically different from the "rights" that Jefferson advocated. In the Democratic platform, rights emerge as goods or services -- a "decent" home, "adequate" medical care, etc. -- that everybody is entitled to, and that ever-expanding government is obliged to provide. Tom Jefferson and the framers of the Bill of Rights ("Congress shall make no law...") saw rights as essential restraints on government in the name of individual liberties.
AllPolitics home page|
Copyright © 1996 AllPolitics