Horowitz: JFK at 100

Tuesday, May 09, 2017
Rob Horowitz, GoLocalProv MINDSETTERâ„¢

Rob Horowitz
As we mark the 100th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s birth, we miss his patriotic, optimistic and public spirited vision of the big things we Americans can accomplish together.

Former President Obama in his remarks on Sunday evening upon accepting the Profile in Courage Award at the Kennedy library, captured President Kennedy’s inspirational and lasting impact on a then new generation of Americans.  “I was lucky to be born into that new frontier, a new world, and a new generation of Americans. My life in many ways would not have been possible without the vision that John F. Kennedy etched into the character and hearts of America. To those of us of a certain age, the Kennedys symbolized a set of values and attitudes about civic life that made it such an attractive calling. The idea that politics in fact could be a noble and worthwhile pursuit. The notion that our problems, while significant, are never insurmountable.”

When Kennedy said in his inaugural address: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country”, he really meant it and backed it up with concrete specifics. Kennedy founded and launched the Peace Corps sending idealistic and committed young Americans to advance Democracy and provide real on the ground assistance to people in the world’s emerging nations. He also energized our Space Program committing the nation to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960’s—a goal that was realized when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969. 

This call to action, summoning all of us to work together to solve our nation’s challenges, can sadly not be found in the Trump lexicon. ‘Making America Great Again’ in President Trump’s limited and crabbed vision seems to be mainly about the wonderful things that he can do for us with his “outsized talents and skills”—not what we can all do together. And Trump spends far more of his time appealing to our fears than our hopes, practicing the politics of division-not unity. To expand and enrich his outlook, President Trump would be well-advised to learn from President Kennedy.

President Kennedy expertly used the bully pulpit to truly be the President of all the people, repeatedly reminding the nation of what unites us. Kennedy remarked, “For I can assure you that we love our country, not for what it was, though it has always been great -- not for what it is, though of this we are deeply proud -- but for what it someday can, and, through the efforts of us all, someday will be.” He inspired many Americans to turn their idealism into action for the public good by appealing in the words of President Lincoln at Gettysburg to the ‘better angels of our nature.” That is his lasting legacy and a significant contribution to the nation he served and loved.  It is a legacy that our 45th President could greatly benefit from, if he would take some of its lessons to heart. I for one am not holding my breath.

 

 Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island .

  • Jennifer Duffy

    Cook Report

    "We don't really know what a Trump presidency means for the nation, never mind the smallest state.  One of the unintended consequences of last night's results is that Sen. Jack Reed won't be chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  Chalk that up as a loss for RI."

     
  • Pam Gencarella

    Head of Ocean State Taxpayers' Association

    "Trump’s win means that his signature issue, illegal immigration, could have a big impact on RI, hopefully reversing our course as a sanctuary state and saving the state taxpayer millions of dollars.  While we agree with his 'repeal and replace' Obamacare stance, we have no idea what that means to the RI debacle known as UHIP.  It is not a stretch to believe that federal funding for this kind of system will be off the table so, will RI be stuck with this massively expensive system that still doesn’t work and that is expected to cost another $124 million to fix?  

    Trump's belief that there is significant fraud in the Food Stamp program and the policies that may come from that belief could have a negative impact on RI's local economy since there are businesses in certain cities that rely heavily on this program, fraud and all. On the upside, we may be able to ditch the UHIP program if there is significantly less need for processing welfare program requests (ie. Medicaid and food stamps) resulting from fewer illegal immigrants and less fraud.  While we are ambivalent about his touted child care policies, if enacted, it may force our legislators to revisit the ever growing state cost of subsidies in this area and possibly reduce the fraud and abuse in this system." 

     
  • Kay Israel

    Professor at Rhode Island College

    "With a Republican President and Congress, Rhode Island will probably be excluded from the 'fruits of victory."  

    The congressional delegation will be able to vocally make their presence felt, but in the long term it's more symbolic than substantive.  

    For Rhode Island it's a matter of holding on and waiting until '18 or '20 and a surge in Democratic influence."

     
  • Jennifer Lawless

    Professor at American University

    "The RI congressional delegation just became even less powerful than it was. With unified government, Trump doesn’t need to quell Democrats’ concerns or acquiesce because he’s worried about a Democratically-controlled Senate.

    His appointments will reflect that. His executive orders will affect that. And the conservative policy agenda he puts forward will affect that."

     
  • Len Lardaro

    Professor at University of Rhode Island

    "Well there's a few things -- because there's not going to be gridlock, that's a big difference if it had been Hillary and a GOP Congress, in which nothing would got done. We'll at least get a half a billion in infrastructure that's going to pass which will have an impact.

    I think you'll see there will be reduced reliance on government nationally -- and that's where we'll stick out like sore thumb. We've relied way too much on government -- and our government is highly inefficient and ineffective.  Maybe, just maybe, in this who cycle of things we might be forced to be small and more efficient for once.

    A couple of other things -- interest rates jumped. The one to follow is the ten year government bond rate -- which is tied to mortgages. It went from 1.7% to 2.05% in one day. The point is -- if the ten year stays high, mortgage rates will start going higher -- and in the short time people will run to re-finance. 

    That's the short term impact -- but then if rates stay hight, that will make mortgages more out of reach. And we just passed a bond issue to limit open space -- housing has limited upside here.
    The next thing -- the Fed Reserve will go ahead with tightening next month. A strong dollar will hurt manufacturing. When the dollar is strong our exports become more expensive overseas. 

    Our goods production sector -- manufacturing and construction -- in the near term will do a little better, but as time goes on will be more limited. But something you won't hear, is there are lags in fiscal policy, of six months to year. So we won't really see the effects until the third our fourth quarter of 2017, going into 2018."
     

     
  • Mike Stenhouse

    RI Center for Freedon and Prosperity

    "As the unbelievable turned into reality this morning, it struck me that the presidential election was not really all about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It was about a fed-up people, revolting against a corrupt system - the "beast" - that relentlessly favors insiders. Hillary personified the beast, while Donald personified the slayer.

    Sadly, based on election results in our state, Rhode Island's version of the beast lives on. I fear our political class has not learned the lessons from the Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump movements - and will continue with their government-centric, anti-family, anti-business status quo."

     

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