Speaking of Nixon, yesterday was

Speaking of Nixon, yesterday was the 39th anniversary of John Kennedy’s assassination. It coincides wtih additional revelations about the extent of Kennedy’s medical problems and his reliance on medication. Here is Peggy Noonan’s Wall Street Journal piece, “Camelot on Painkillers.” Noonan thinks that Robert Dallek, the historian responsible for the latest revelations, is too quick to conclude that the drugs Kennedy took did not impair his leadership. I’m not sure. Kennedy certainly made some significant missteps as president. On the other hand, these were probably commensurate with what one would expect from a drug free president of the same age placed under the same extraordinary pressure by an aggressive and powerful adversary. Moreover, Kennedy’s presidency was, in my view, clearly more successful than at least three of the four that followed. Nonetheless, it is still possible that the medication did impair Kennedy’s performance in important respects, and this leads to the objection that he improperly concealed it from the public. Noonan is correct that his condition should have been fully divulged before the 1960 election and that it should not have been covered up after his death.


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