October 31, 2010

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Ask whether the Democrats can win one for the Sorensen.

Ted Sorensen, JFK's brain, has died at age 82.
He held the title of special counsel, but Washington reporters of the era labeled him the president’s “intellectual alter ago” and “a lobe of Kennedy’s mind.” Mr. Sorensen called these exaggerations, but they were rooted in some truth.

35 comments:

mesquito said...

I understand his Profiles In Courage was a pretty good book, but hardly deserving of a Pulitzer.

David said...

Sorenson was only 82?

Godspeed, Sorenson.

ironrailsironweights said...

JFK's brain? I thought that was on Jackie's dress.

Peter

David said...

ironrails, your tasteless comment was, I suppose, inevitable, but you seriously suck.

David said...

"Ask what you can do for your country . . . . "

Michelle Rhee has an article in yesterday's WSJ making the point that DC schools were run for the adults, not the children. "Ask not" is a pretty basic rule, violated constantly in today's politics.

Trooper York said...

Crap. Now I definately have to do a new PA announcer in Hell post.

I am too busy for this crap.

rogerz said...

How about: "neither"? A nation of free individuals would be repulsed by that statist mantra. We would do for ourselves (without coercion) and, if we wish, for others.

rcocean said...

Sorry he died, but he was always struck me as a pompous windbag. The "smartest guy in the room" who somehow managed to be wrong about everything.

I remember him from the 80s, constantly sneering at how "Stoopid" Reagan was, and how if we just followed his advice...

edutcher said...

No disrespect to Sorenson, but he was JFK's William Ayers, writing the books where Kennedy's name appeared on the flyleaf.

That said, he helped elect one of the most frivolous and irresponsible Presidents in American history.

Sixty Grit said...
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rcocean said...

JFK was pretty smart though. Why write books? Just hire some nerd to do the grunt work, while you bang the good-looking chicks.

HDHouse said...

.....1,000 points of very dull light....

ricpic said...

The best of the best and the brightest absolutely positively always wrong technocrats has died.

Kirby Olson said...

Ask not what your country can do for you, but try to be reasonable about what your country shouldn't do for you, and do it for yourself, ok, and if you're in someone else's country, please get out.

rhhardin said...

The porch has been passed to a new generation.

traditionalguy said...

The thoughts of JFK were filtered through Sorensen to appear idealistic. The real,JFK was a very intelligent man turned into a total realist by having been beaten up by his father Joe's plans and by going face to face against some very murderous Japanese Navy guys. Sorensen did a great job. JFK did a good job too.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

A nation of free individuals would be repulsed by that statist mantra.

I have no problem with a president encouraging free individuals to ask what they can do for their country. The problem starts when they change the 'can' to 'must', and when the question is only rhetorical because they're eager to tell you what you must do.

ricpic said...

Eisenhower looked so old and out of it and unhep compared to the worldbeaters like Sorenson and that whole bright eyed bushy tailed aren't we great aren't we shiny aren't we the bees knees crew that came bounding in with the beautiful Jack. And of course Eisenhower was old and square and cautious. Oh the unhipness of caution. How utterly dated. And then we learned the hard way...

TosaGuy said...

The quote has meaning because JFK backed it up with his deeds during WWII. It has an entirely different meaning when delivered by one defined by the cocoon of Chicago's Hyde Park.

The former carries a sense of honor and duty, the latter implies servitude.

Big Mike said...

Teddy Sorenson, wasn't he one of the "best and the brightest"? You know, the guys who got us into Viet Nam? One of those fellows?

edutcher said...

Sixty Grit said...

edutcher - which one, Ayers or Sorensen?

Hah!! Take your pick.

HDHouse said...

.....1,000 points of very dull light....

HD should know, he supports all of them.

TosaGuy said...

The quote has meaning because JFK backed it up with his deeds during WWII.

When PT-109 came out, a lot of Navy men who were there weren't as impressed as the general public.

Old Joe Kennedy got Jack a cushy post on Embassy Row in DC until J Edgar went to FDR and told him young Kennedy was letting too much classified info slide across too many pillows and told Roosevelt if he (FDR) didn't do something about it, Hoover would.

Thus, he ended up in the Solomons. His service was no more distinguished than anyone else's, although he did a good job pulling the Para-Marines off Choiseul. Blackett Strait was a different story; he lost his boat and several men because he was in a place he had no business being.

Technically, what he did was worthy of a Navy Cross, had it not been for his screw-up. His father's connections forestalled a court-martial, but the only decoration he got was a Navy-Marine Corps Commendation.

TosaGuy said...

Edutch.

As is usually the case, the real story doesn't quite live up the hyped story. My bottom line point is that he served in WWII and did his duty and could have very well died doing it. The details don't diminish that.

16 million other Americans could identify with his service and countless more hold those 16 million in the highest regard.

The inhabitants of Hyde Park who deign to rule us carry no such cache' and their intentions deserve no benefit of the doubt.

Sixty Grit said...
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Greg Hlatky said...

First Schlesinger now Sorensen, the Kennedy courtiers pass from the scene. Now who's going to write those here's-what-Kennedy-would-have-done op-eds for the New York Times?

rcocean said...

Ed,

JFK wasn't much of PT Boat commander. Heck, anyone else would've been court-Martialed. How the hell does a PT Boat - with radar -get run down by a Destroyer with NO Radar - at night!

But I give JFK a lot of respect for his WW II Service. This guy was 4-F. He had a bad back AND Addison's disease. He's probably the only Millionaire in 1941 to bribe his doctor to get him INTO combat.

And he tried his best - he just wasn't very good as a PT boat commander. Which kinda describes his Presidency:

He tried Hard - but wasn't very good.

Mississippi Truck Driving Man said...
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Mississippi Truck Driving Man said...

It is good to see all of the Baby Boomer generation's heroes quickly dying off. What a useless generation. They brought this country nothing but grief. I am sure professor Althouse is embarrassed to be one of them.

Roadkill said...

Miss Truck Driver,

Ted Sorenson was no Baby Boomer hero -- he was just the brains behind one. All the brains.

The hero himself had better things to do with his time than think.

kcom said...

"Ask whether the Democrats can win one for the Sorensen."

They couldn't win one for the Kennedy (Teddy, that is) so I don't expect they're going to win one for the Sorensen. He's ancient history, whereas Teddy was still warm. (But not warm enough, I guess.)

traditionalguy said...

JFK was limited as a President must be by events and powers that Congress agrees to his exercise them. But it looks like cheap shots ( bad phrase) to discount JFK's leadership ability gained the hard way including years with a TV and speech consultant. It was the new medium and he mastered it. I for one want competence and real grasp of issues of the day from my President over Harvard eggheads preening around as if they know everything,

kcom said...

Oh, and here's my Boy Scout deed of the day:

cache: pronounced "cash" in both cases below -
1. a (sometimes secret) storage place where you might put valuables or other items for future access
2. a storage area on a computer that holds temporary or transient data

cachet: pronounced "cashay" -
a special characteristic or quality

victoria said...

What an awesome writer. A truly great man and a great patriot.

R.I.P. Ted.



Vicki

David said...

Why court martial Kennedy because his boat was sunk? There were thousands of American boats sunk 1941-45. It was, to say the least, a hazard of war.

About 50 PT boats were sent out to attack the Japanese as a group the night PT 109 sank. The mission was a failure, and no Jap shipping was sunk.

Some of the PT boats had radar, but not PT 109. Nor was PT 109 told that other boats had earlier been engaged by the Japanese.

JFK was not eligible for the Navy Cross because his cited actions, the rescue of crew members, did not take place during combat. His medal was a significant one, and appropriate to his conduct.

rcocean said...
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rcocean said...

David,

PT-109 was the only PT boat ever run down and cut in two by a Destroyer. Its as if you went out in a Mazda Miata two-seat sports car to ambush an 18 wheel Bekins moving Van - in the middle of the night in the Mojave desert - and instead the Moving Van ran YOU down.

Someone was asleep. Hence, the court martial.