18/CHRONICLESndictated by his father.nIn 1980, historian Herbert S. Parmet pubhshed Jack: ThenStruggles of John F. Kennedy. A sympathetic study, it wasnnevertheless the most reliable biography to date, makingnuse of recent scholarship and adding valuable informationnand analysis. The author was especially strong on Kennedy’snearly education (revealing his I.Q. to be 119), hisnreligious skepticism, his heavy reliance upon his father innall of his political campaigns, his marital difficulties (“Politicsnand promiscuity were all part of being married to JohnnKennedy”), and his studied evasion of the Joe McCarthyncensure. Parmet’s account of Theodore Sorensen’s dominantnrole in the creation of Profiles of Courage, and of hisnauthorship of many other “Kennedy” publications, raisednnew questions about JFK’s character. (Kennedy claimednsole authorship of the book even more vigorously than hendenied being a victim of Addison’s disease.) His examinationnof the Pulitzer Prize award suggested the presence ofnJoseph P. Kennedy.nThe Kennedys: Dynasty and Disaster, 1848-1983 by JohnnH. Davis, was especially important because of its piercingnand unsentimental appraisal of Jackie Kennedy, a Davisnrelative. The book caused a stir because of its revelationsnthat Judith Campbell Exner had told the President aboutnher affair with Sam Giancana and that Kennedy wasnjealous. Davis speculated that JFK Was using Exner tonmonitor the CIA’s “dirty business” against Castro, This wasn”reckless in the extreme,” Davis concluded. “But as wenknow, John Kennedy thrived on danger, risk, and intrigue.”nDavis blamed “sycophantic journalists” for the discrepancynbetween the Kennedy image and reality.nDespite the sycophants and the Kennedy family’s carefulncontrol of documents in the Kennedy Library, we know angreat deail about the man who served as the 3 5th President.nWhat we need now, in my judgment, is a skilled andnobjective examination of the Kennedy Administration to seenhow much of what JFK really was made any difference tonthe nation and the world. The effort, inspired by Barber andnbegun by Parmet, needs completion.nArthur Schlesinger Jr., who, like Theodore Sorensen,nclings stubbornly to the Kennedy portrait he helped create,nRock ‘N’ Roll Never Forgetsn(continued from page 9)ngamble made by a people who were longing for heroicnchallenges. Political idealism is often dangerous, but it isnnothing in comparison to the desire to be idealistic. Allnthrough the 50’s we had told ourselves in school, in church,nand in the newspapers, that the United States was not just ancountry: it was a commitment to the high ideals of freedom,ndemocracy, and equality. And so in our dissatisfaction withnthe way we were, we spun the wheel and put almost 200.nmillion people down on the red. Rien ne va plus.nIn 1960, the first of the baby boomers were in highnschool. When Kennedy was shot, they were already inncollege. Whether his assassination made a difference it wasnhard to say. By 1963, many Americans had had enough ofnthe phrase-maker with the boyish shock of hair. I remember,nthe day after, hearing one student tell another, “Toonnnrecentiy sneered at what he called “the National Enquirernschool of biographers” who arrive at “highly speculativencharacter analysis.” He contended that “if anything untowardnhappened at all” in the Kennedy White House “it didnnot interfere with Kennedy’s conduct of the Presidency.”nThat provocative assertion demands scrutiny, because itnopens up the,entire issue of Presidential character.nObviously, many decent men would make poor Presidents,nbut the office nevertheless requires character. Thenvisibility of the Presidency and its power for good and evilnare unequaled. If a Chief Executive has, say, an emotionalnweakness and needs to prove his masculinity, the resultsncould be catastrophic. Should a President be selfdestructive,nreckless, ruthless, corrupt, or completely cynical,nmillions—even billions—might suffer.nIt can be argued that John F. Kennedy was the mostnimmoral man ever to serve as President; he was certainly thenmost lascivious. Almost all of the triumphs recorded in hisncampaign literature have been debunked. We know about annumber of his lies and cover-ups, his largely ghost-writtenneloquence, his almost wholly hedonistic and pragmaticnapproach towards ethics and morality, his compulsivensatyriasis. George Smathers, a close friend of Kennedy, wasnrecentiy quoted as saying, “No one was off limits tonJack—not your wife, your mother, your sister. If he wantedna woman, he’d take her.”nAnd yet Kennedy continues to be ranked among our mostnpopular Presidents, even by historians. The volume quotingnSmathers is entitied A Hero for Our Time: An IntimatenStory of the Kennedy Years. Is this because of JFK’s goodnlooks, wit, and style, still seen in the media, or does itninerely reflect a longing for happier times? Does the tragedynof the assassination still work in Kennedy’s favor? Surely thenliberal bent of the intellectual world plays a role.nIt is clear that Kennedy continues to require scholarlynscrutiny. Millions of documents have yet to be released; wenneed to think through the abundance of material nownavailable. When the relationship between the President’sncharacter and Administration policy becomes clearer wenmay not only have a better view of the Thousand Days but andeeper understanding of the Presidency.nccnbad they didn’t get Johnson.” In any event, we were unablento endure very long the hollow idealism of the Peace Corps.nIf the kids really wanted to make the world a better place, asnparents and teachers had told them, repeatedly, was theirnduty, then they would have to do it without the help of annolder generation that was willing to sell out its ideals.nRecent studies indicate that the most radical students onncampus were not rebelling against conservative parents. Onnthe contrary, their parents tended to be very liberal. Thenhistory of SDS is instructive. Originally an offshoot of ancold war liberal organization presided over by eminencesngrises of the anti-Stalinist left, SDS students grew tired of allnthe Fabian shilly-shallying. If the U.S. was really as corruptnand decadent as their masters said it was, and if thendemocratic process was still only a trompe I’oeil set up byncapitalists, why not tear it down? In a revolution, whatnmakes socialists preferable to Trotskyists or Trotskyists preferablento Stalinists? Like most popular front groups, SDSn