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Baby Boomers Saw The First Televised Political Debate With Nixon And Kennedy.

The first televised political debate pitted seasoned pro Vice President Nixon against the young newcomer Senator John Kennedy. The young charger was four years younger than Nixon.

They squared up for the biggest political prize in the land, leader of the free world.

As leaders, or potential leaders of the free world, both men put their best foot and face into the camera lens.

Who won their debate is still debatable.

Nixon showed up with a five o’clock shadow, sweaty brow, and a shifty uncertainty. In other words he showed up like most of us would in a new medium. Nervous.

Some say Nixon’s appearance was due to his behind the scenes work. He was the Ollie North of the Eisenhower Administration working the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Instead of basement room like Lt. Col. North had in the Reagan White House, Nixon held the Vice President’s chair from in 1952-1960. The top job was his for the taking, like VP Bush after Reagan. Except Bush didn’t run against JFK on the other side and Reagan was no Ike.

So what happened?

People listening to Nixon v Kennedy on the radio said Nixon won. Those watching on TV saw the difference between the razor sharp Nixon and a cool, collected, JFK.

After the first debates, America was hooked. It was the first reality show and it hasn’t stopped since.

The recent political debate shows how we’ve come from 1960, and how much is the same.

People with endless policy experience, the mayors, governors, representatives, and senators all stand in the shade thrown by Donald Trump. What’s wrong with that picture? What’s right with that picture?

Mr. Trump even got an old Hollywood joke into his debate with no one commenting. His review of Carly Fiorina’s face echoed the old saying, “Politics is show business for ugly people.”

Nice work, The Donald. That’s leadership from the top down. Go comb your hair, big daddy.

During both the R and D debates I waited for candidates to focus on America’s real opponents instead of each other. It’s still early but not too early to call out China’s ocean work and Russian jets flying over Syria.

Keep Russia and China in mind during the next debates and ask which Republican you’d like to see face to face with Putin and Xi Jinping? Which Democrat would do the job on them right?

A last look back to the original televised debates.

Here’s Nixon and Krushchev looking good in 1959.

After Kennedy’s victory he had his turn with Krushchev in 1961 It’s a BBC doc.

Nixon met Mao in 1972.

How will the new crop of Presidential candidates stand up to Russia and China when elected? More important, how will a new President address news of U.S. Special Forces deployment around the world?

Campaigning and debating for the Presidency is one thing; being the President is the other side of the coin for the winner. It’s never been an easy job from the looks of it, and it’s getting tougher.

Choose wisely. It’s no time for a nut job.

From Simon and Garfunkel:

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon.
Going to the candidates’ debate.
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you’ve got to choose
Every way you look at this you lose.

obama and me debate

Not ready to debate, but it’s still a go.





About David Gillaspie
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