Originally Posted by kowboys4
Criteria for a great president.
I think a great president should ...
1. Not start a war if it can be avoided. (Peace should be the number 1 goal of any leader of peoples)
2. Lead in a time of economic prosperity or been part of the cause leading up to it.
3. Be progressive in the area of social reform (Its more impressive if it was unpopular.)
4. Be effective as a public communicator.
Seems like JFK should get pretty high marks, then, though in general I would agree that he is an overrated (but not bad) President.
1. Cuban Missile Crisis as a defining event. Not only did he have to play an elaborate game of chess with Khruschev and far more hardline Soviets, but he frequently had to navigate between hawks in his own government and the Pentagon who were pushing for war (a war that might have killed hundreds of millions). Balls of steel for sure. Vietnam is another story, but he avoided the fatal mistakes of LBJ... but who is to say what would have happened had he lived.
2. This is mostly luck, as economies in Europe and Japan were still recovering, and China and India were still in the infant stages of development relative to today, but he certainly didn't counteract the prosperity.
3. Big check here. The first President to really tackle the issue of civil rights with a profound amount of courage. Deeply unpopular in the South (which at the time was a large base of Democratic support), the civil rights issue might even have contributed to Kennedy's assassination.
4. Big old check again. In the modern era, he was as good as Clinton or Reagan, and probably better in individual interactions (Reagan's unscripted
interactions were hardly the stuff of legend).