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( Download Epub ) ç The Making of the President 1964 ⚤ Theodore H White s landmark Making of the President series revolutionized American political journalism, investing his subject with both epic scope and a fresh frankness about backroom political strategy that was unlike anything that had come before In this second volume of his groundbreaking series, White offers an intimate chronicle of thecampaign for the White House, from the earthshaking tragedy of President Kennedy s assassination through the battle for power between Lyndon B Johnson and Barry Goldwater, whose candidacy paved the way for the modern conservative movement White reports from within both campaigns, bringing to life a turbulent year in America s history and a furious contest between two tough and seasoned political pros Incredibly insightful It helps explain our current political situation Well worth reading. In thinking about this book preparatory to reviewing it, I decided I should raise my rating from two stars to three Even though I disagreed profoundly with many of White s views, I still found the book vastly interesting and informative, and it was the single influence that created my lifelong interest in politics Two stars is too miserly a rating to reflect that especially considering that I went on to read the 1968 and 1972 sequels which have much in common with this one My relationship with the book is an ambivalent one, though That s one factor that makes this review challenging to write though I ve long wanted to write it Another complicating factor is that the lens I view the book through now differs from my lens as a 14 year old kid in 1966, both because of my history and the country s history in the nearly 50 years since, and of knowledge I have now that I didn t then I ll attempt the review and see how well I succeed Probably it s best to start from the angle of reader response criticism.In 1964, I was a 12 year old child To the extent that I identified myself politically back then, it was as liberal rather than conservative on the strength of a poorly understood article in Saturday Evening Post I d read a few years previously, and because of the way they framed the discussion but while I was much aware of the election that year than I d been of the one in 1960, I didn t have a real preference between the candidates and didn t see the outcome as important to me one way or the other My mother was largely apolitical and didn t vote and while the membership of our church which I didn t attend very often and my parochial school teachers were rabidly pro Goldwater, I wasn t impressed by their arguments Nor was I particularly impressed by the Democrats By the time I d grown two years older, though, I had a dawning social and political consciousness, and a growing realization that society was something significant that I was part of, and needed to understand and have serious opinions about, because it had an impact on my life and everyone else s The paperback edition of this book fell into my hands around that time I forget how and was inevitably read, like any other book I got hold of back then It fell like seed on newly plowed ground but the effect wasn t what White intended A deep dyed liberal Democrat himself, he envisioned his Making of the President series starting with the epochal 1960 account, which ironically I ve never read as triumphalist history, the account of America s quadrennial progress towards Utopia under the wise guidance of the Party, which was self evidently on the side of Progress and Enlightenment and destined for inevitable triumph by the ratchet of History, which had now forever left bad old conservativism in the dusty past This was quite a general attitude of the American Left in those days I remember reading a newspaper op ed around the same time that stated, as a fact that everybody knew, that the GOP could never again barring an unlikely depression or war caused by Democratic bungling win a presidential election The outcome of the 1968 and 1972 elections were obviously a great blow to these people, as it clearly was to White By the time I d finished the book, however, I had firmly self identified as conservative This was partly a reaction to White s smug, patronizing, condescending, self righteous tone in discussing anybody with a different vision than his, but also a visceral reaction to the way he delineated the two basic opposing camps I recognized his brand of liberalism as essentially a glorification of a Leviathan state raised to absolute power, which I frankly found as chilling and menacing as he found it lip smackingly bracing This was before the days of Star Trek The Next Generation, but his social vision would have suggested the Borg to me if I d heard of them You will be assimilated resistance is futile I didn t uniformly identify with everything Goldwater stood for, either but I was inclined to make common cause with anybody else who didn t want to be assimilated, and who was prepared to resist.As factual history, the book has strengths and weaknesses White was a journalist mainly for Time magazine during his early career, though he was an independent journalist when he wrote his books who aspired to be a historian, and was knowledgeable about history His is a journalistic history, eschewing footnotes or bibliography he personally covered much of the narrative he records, so that a lot of it could be described as a primary source It has a lot of detail, but falls short of being a complete picture, because of the limited one person perspective it also doesn t have the benefit of much reflection over time There is some deliberate whitewashing Lyndon Johnson s singularly unlovely personality, for example, is sanitized as much as possible As we now know, White, like the entire rest of the Washington press corps, was well aware of Johnson s incessant infidelities to his wife, but on Johnson s instructions swept these under the rug He missed the historical significance of some of what he was covering for instance, the involvement of the grassroots of the GOP in 1964 was a historically unprecedented development that would change the face of subsequent U.S presidential elections it even spread to the Democratic Party in 1972 , reducing the hitherto virtually absolute control of the process by traditional power brokers but White simply saw this as an illegitimate fluke by the Great Unwashed who were improperly invading the preserves of their betters Eek, these people are paying attention to the delegate selection procedures, and choosing to take a purposive part in that process Horrors Although he was fundamentally right on the civil rights and desegregation issues of that day, his view of the black community tends to come across at times as paternalistic Where he makes policy pronouncements, they re very often off beam and even when they re not, they re sometimes poorly argued.On the positive side, though, he does clearly try here to be fair in his coverage of persons and events the book isn t a deliberate attempt at partisan distortion and disinformation which a lot of contemporary journalism is He refused to demonize Goldwater, and he does attempt to seriously grapple with some of what he saw as the deeper underlying issues facing the country, in a way that transcends strictly partisan line drawing and sound bites particularly at the end of the book, in his essentially where do we go from here reflections Of course, all of this is filtered through the lens of his own presuppositions, and isn t usually especially prescient except for his recognition of technological unemployment as a coming problem but even when you disagree with him, he can be intellectually stimulating for your own thoughts His assessment of the political strategic and tactical factors behind Johnson s victory and Goldwater s defeat are also, IMO, pretty sound for the most part Politics clearly fascinated him, and he covers it with an enthusiasm that communicates that fascination to the reader And his prose is always lively and interesting sometimes it may be pompous, but it s never dull.More than any other book I ve read, I have to credit this one with giving me the consciousness that the central question of political life is the basic one what kind of human society do you want to create or preserve To be sure, I initially saw politics as the primary engine of cultural and social change and that made me very politically active in my late teens, and at times after that Now, I d see the relationship as flowing the other way changing culture and society from the bottom up changes the face of politics But the two are still intimately related, and the political sphere matters intensely in terms of what kind of life we and others are able to lead That s an insight that was ultimately well worth acquiring BARRY GOLDWATER S CONVENTION COUP AT THE COW PALACESAN FRANCISCO is a magic city Whereas the new cities of the West face out on a cubist future from a rootless past, San Francisco magically marries both new and old as only Washington and Boston do elsewhere in the country New bridges and newer freeways plow the approaches of the city the sterile curtain walls of the new architecture rise on the slopes of the hills but the city remains the same The cable cars still clank up the old hills in Chinatown there are Chinese who still speak Chinese the restaurants still serve food cooked by people who care about cooking and through the Golden Gate steam the deep prowed vessels, trailing the scent of the Orient, to tie up at the Embarcadero.There are some examples of exceptional writing found in the book The pacing was also excellent Even so, the read feels dated It is the first book I ve read that has in depth coverage of Barry Goldwater who was the Republican nominee running against LBJ.Similar in approach to White s coverage of the 1960 campaign that garnered him awards but the 1964 story is not quite as fascinating JFK s ascendancy and his brother s feud with LBJ sideshows were interesting than Barry Goldwater Of course I would probably feel different if Goldwater has won the race.4 stars. Fascinating Why did Goldwater lose but Trump win Sad Bits Kennedy made elegance a quality Americans expected of the President.Problem for the press How could one be fair to Goldwater by quoting what he said or by explaining what he thought To quote him directly was manifestly unfair, but if he insisted on speaking thus in public, how could one resist quoting him Eisenhower was such a faffer in retirement Nelson Rockefeller, battling as valiantly for the Pennsylvania Governor as he had for himself, telephoned the former President to plead for support The former President said he could not come out publicly, he had to preserve his influence Acidly, Rockefeller inquired For what Scarnton painted Goldwater as a warmonger Please, I implore you send to the White House a man who thinks deeply, who is not impulsive Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall catch hell from both sides What we were looking for was something that would put the nation and the rank and file of the Party on the alert to the fact that our leading candidate was impetuous, irresponsible and slightly stupid Goldwater banners Better brinksmanship than chickenship and AU H2O 1964 The best quick reaction I remember is that of another reporter who, halfway through Goldwater s acceptance speech, slowly became aware of the politics of no compromise, then turned and remarked, My God, he s going to run as Barry Goldwater By mid October the Goldwater headquarters had, in spirit, collapsed A final effort had been made to strain some optimism out of the polling results with a question worded, roughly, Did the respondent himself know anyone else who might vote for Goldwater but was concealing the fact Respondents replied , to the degree of 45%, that there might be secret Goldwater sympathizers in their neighborhood LBJ obeyed Napoleon s maxim Never interfere with the enemy when he is in the process of destroying himself It was as if a heavy mattress had been thrown over Goldwater at the beginning of the summer and he lay buried under it, trying to wriggle his way out All the Democrats needed to do was torest heavy on the mattress, sprawl wide, bear down and he was smothered.