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Tag: John F. Kennedy


I humbly accept . . .

Planning to watch President Obama’s acceptance speech tonight? According to The Associated Press, which got an advance look, he’ll say that “the choice voters face won’t be just between two candidates but between two different paths for the nation. He says he wouldn’t pretend the path he is offering is quick or easy. Obama will also spell out clear goals, including 1 million new manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016 and reducing the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next decade.”

Will it be a speech to be remembered? Houston Chronicle writer Richard S. Dunham offers his top 10 acceptance speeches by Democratic presidential nominees. That list includes Obama’s 2008 speech.

1. William Jennings Bryan, 1896.

The Boy Orator of the Platte became a populist hero by delivering the famous “Cross of Gold” speech, widely considered the greatest political speech of the 19th century. It cemented the 36-year-old Nebraska lawyer – who had failed to win a Senate seat two years earlier and was compared by critics to the French revolutionary Robespierre – as the dominant Democratic politician for a generation. “In this land of the free,” he told the Chicago convention, “you need fear no tyrant who will spring up from among the people. What we need is an Andrew Jackson to stand as Jackson stood, against the encroachments of aggregated wealth.” Great speech, great speaker, poor presidential candidate. Three losses in three tries.

Highlight: “We will answer their demand for a gold standard by saying to them: You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.” Read more »


Green culottes and the pink suit

Remember where you were when President Kennedy was shot? Remember what you were wearing?

The morning of November 22, 1963, I wore a pair of lime-green culottes fresh from the grips of my mother’s Singer.  Miniskirts hadn’t arrived yet, but culottes had.

That morning, because of a cool weather forecast, the first lady wore a pink, wool Chanel suit and her signature pill box hat. But Dallas was hot that afternoon as the motorcade traveled down Elm Street.

This day was the last page of an era. Emily Post’s laws of etiquette may have delivered well-needed structure to a world torn apart by war, but seemed too confining for the new casual “family rooms” popping up in houses across the country.

McCarthyism had died a rightful death, and a commission to the president on equal rights for women unearthed widespread discrimination of women, a major step toward workplace equality. Read more »