Newspaper Articles


Charleston Daily Mail
September 28, 1960

Editorial

In His Cultivation Of The Grievance, Kennedy Loses Sight Of The Plain Fact

Sen. Kennedy’s list of grievances and dissatisfactions is long, genuine and undeniably appealing. No matter what the Eisenhower administration has done – or what the American people have done for themselves under the Eisenhower Administration – he is able to point to some shortcoming, some deficiency, some inadequacy and promise that he would do better.

It is an old political game entitled “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” and Sen. Kennedy is becoming increasingly apt at it. But as his skill increases, so does his vulnerability. The extension of this catalog of woes gives the Vice President an opening, and in their Monday night debate Mr. Nixon took advantage of it.

So it is true that the American dream is not yet fully realized? The question, then, is which of two opposing way – the Republican or the Democratic – is the more likely to encourage progress? Here Mr. Nixon draws and documents the sharp comparison between what the American people have achieved with and under the Eisenhower administration and what they achieved under Harry Truman.

By every standard which Sen. Kennedy insists upon – gross national product, economic expansion, public education, housing, civil rights, highways, hospitals, etc – the American people under the Eisenhower administration have exceeded their attainment under the last Democratic administration.

Sen. Kennedy does not deny any of this. Instead he retreats, rather awkwardly and elusively, to a prepared position. All this is true, he admits lamely, but it does not matter. These are the comparison of the past. His eyes are on the future where, as he sees it, the Soviets are relentlessly pushing us to the wall.

Again the Vice President has him cornered. It is true that the Soviet economy is expanding. But in 1959 the gross national product of the United States is running something over $500 billion annually. With all of its heaving and hauling the Soviet gross national product is only 44 per cent of this. This is exactly the relationship of 20 years ago. In short, while the Soviet Union has been expanding its productive capacity, so has the United States, and over the years it has maintained its absolute advantage.

Sen. Kennedy is right, of course, in insisting that this is no time to stop, a position which no one and least of all Mr. Nixon seriously disputes. But as his argument rests upon some vague and mystical assumption that in seven and a half years of a Republican administration, the American people have lost their purpose, initiative and creative energy, his case falls apart.

Unnoticed by Sen. Kennedy, apparently, they have been doing exactly what Sen. Kennedy says they should be doing, and they have been doing it better than they did under the party Sen. Kennedy has the honor to represent. This leaves for debate a simple question: Wherein lies the better hope for the future – in drawing upon the lessons of the past or in some new and radical departures into governmental action?

It is here that the difference comes clear. It is Sen. Kennedy who stands for bigger government, greater expenditures and more direction and controls. It is Vice President Nixon who makes the case for a free man’s society.


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