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05 November 2017 @ 05:55 am
Fake news in the old days.  
JFK & the press. I remember at the time we used to hear terrible things about Kennedy:

* He had zipper issues that sometimes became national security issues.

* He didn’t write the book he got the Pulitzer Prize for.

* The missile gap that got him so many votes was a deliberate lie.

* His father, who had been an appeaser if not an actual Nazi sympathizer, bought him enough votes to beat Humphrey in the primaries.

* He was so sick that he wouldn’t have made it through two terms even if he hadn’t visited Dallas.

They were all true.

Thanx to [personal profile] conuly
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Kalimac: puzzlekalimac on November 5th, 2017 05:59 pm (UTC)
But mostly exaggerated.

Re the book, he should have given Sorensen co-author credit. That would have been accurate.

The bought votes were not sufficient to win the race.

Also, it was no secret that his dad had been an appeaser.

He was seriously ill, but I've never read that it was anything like imminently fatal. There's a theory that Lincoln would have died of illness within a year after his assassination; I'm not impressed by the evidence for that either.

Could probably say the same about the others, but I'd have to look things up.
El Coyote Gordo: coy3supergee on November 5th, 2017 09:24 pm (UTC)
Robert Caro says LBJ accepted the VP nom,ination because he didn't expect Kennedy to survive two terms.
Kalimackalimac on November 5th, 2017 09:32 pm (UTC)
I'll have to look at the book again, but I don't recall that. What I recall is that LBJ decided to gamble on the possibility that he might succeed, based on the number of past VPs who had, but that he had no specific reason to suspect JFK. Did he even know of JFK's illness? It was kept a close secret.
El Coyote Gordo: actualsupergee on November 5th, 2017 11:59 pm (UTC)
He definitely knew.
Kalimackalimac on November 7th, 2017 12:26 am (UTC)
I got the book.

The discussion of why LBJ accepted the job as VP occupies the first half of chapter 4. (The other half is about why the offer was made.) He had several reasons, and one was the "heartbeat away" argument, that the President could die, but while mention is made of Eisenhower's health as an example, but there is nothing in this section that I could find considering JFK's health in particular.

In chapter 3 I found that LBJ found about about JFK's Addison's disease by having someone do opposition research during the primaries. LBJ had an agent reveal this and say that "Doctors have told me he would not be alive if not for cortisone." (p. 97) Go back to chapter 2 which is the background chapter on JFK, and it confirms that this is true - that is, that doctors did believe this - though Caro offers no definitive statement on whether this medical opinion was accurate. However, he also states that, with the cortisone, the disease was well under control. (p. 43-4) I could find nothing regarding a long-term prognosis. Back in chapter 3, on p. 106, we find RFK angrily stating that John Connally (who was at the p. 97 press conference but is not the person credited with the statement) "lied in saying my brother is dying," but that's not what Caro quotes the press conference as saying. It said he would have been dying without the cortisone.

So, based on this book, I see virtually nothing to suggest that LBJ believed that JFK could not live out two terms, and absolutely nothing even addressing the question of whether this has since been established to be true, merely stating that his disease was under control as of 1960. (The index doesn't indicate this ever comes up again later in the book.)

Edited at 2017-11-07 12:30 am (UTC)