Kaye in ‘Daily Beast': Remember JFK, but careful playing ‘what if’

Harvey J. Kaye, UW-Green Bay professor of Democracy and Justice Studies, has contributed a timely essay and book review to the online site The Daily Beast. With the 50th anniversary approaching of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Kaye observes that authors and historians have long enjoyed projecting JFK’s legacy and the course of history had he lived. A new book, JFK’s Last Hundred Days: The Transformation of a Man and the Emergence of a Great President, speculates that on everything from Vietnam to Soviet-US relations, civil rights and anti-poverty, Kennedy was on the verge of major progressive breakthroughs. Kaye praises Thurston Clarke’s book as a provocative read but doesn’t fully buy the author’s JFK “what might have been.” The book, Kaye argues, probably overestimates Kennedy and underestimates the importance of Lyndon Johnson’s unique political ability in making The Great Society a movement worthy of FDR’s New Deal. Read more.