The Great Debate, 1960
An historic changing of the guard. It would be another generation before the first actual baby boomer (Clinton) became President. But boomers staged a spiritual coup d’eat in 1960. Let’s look at the contenders.
Laaadies and Gentlemen! Welcome to the Heavyweight Presidential Title! In this corner, accompanied by his loyal but nondescript wife, the scrappy, pulled-himself-up-from-the-bootstraps Vice-President, fighting out of Washington D.C. where he served two terms with the great old war hero, Dwight Eisenhower, let’s give it up for Richaaard Nixon!!
In the challenger’s corner, richer than God, athletic and ruggedly handsome, the youngest contender in history, a touch football star from Harvard and Cape Cod, graced by his gorgeous, sophisticated, 30-something wife Jacqueline, just Voted Debutante of the Year at Vassar—John Kennnnnedy!!
At the Inaugural Ball
The world witnessed a slug fest that came down to the final seconds of the final round. The lad from Cap Cod was able to pull off a close decision.
An army of energetic baby-faced Ivy Leaguers descended on Washington. There was talk of “passing the torch,” a “Camelot” in America. JFK stirred visions of youthful grandeur, pledging to go toe-to-toe with Communism.
Camelot ended not with a whimper but a tragic bang. Kennedy may have been more form than substance, but we never really got to know because of a pitiful lone cockroach radical named Lee Harvey Oswald.
A more aggressive social agenda flourished after his death, led by a craggy-faced, overweight, good ole boy from Texas who lacked the eloquence but walked the walk and twisted the arms as well any New Frontiersman.
The New Frontier never faced the escalation of the Vietnam War, urban riots, and the baby boomer-gone-wild political explosions of the late 1960s. It’s at least a question if the charismatic young leader would have performed as well as his followers imagine. Camelot remains shrouded in convenient, tragic romance.
King Arthur’s Camelot does bare a resemblance to the White House
Baby Boomer Trivia Questions
►What actor played young Lieutenant John Kennedy as the heroic commander of a World War II torpedo boat in PT 109?
►Boomers in Common: What do all these politicians share?
Answers at end of post
By The Numbers
% of eligible voters casting ballots for President
·1960 (no boomers): 63.1
·1964 (those born in 1943 could vote): 61.9
• The percentage of those voting actually went down during the baby boomer years.
• The 1960 election, whose voter participation hasn’t been surpassed since, had the highest turnout since 1908.
Answers to Baby Boomer Trivia Questions
Handsome Cliff Robertson as Handsome John Kennedy
►Boomers in Common: All were losing Vice-Presidential candidates.