Richard Reeves: Obama Too Thoughtful for Presidency

Friday, 22 Nov 2013 05:14 PM

By Marti Lotman

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Though President John F. Kennedy and President Barack Obama share a few marked similarities, there is one significant distinction: Obama is too thoughtful to be president, Richard Reeves says.

Reeves, author of "The Kennedy Years: From the Pages of The New York Times," tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview that Kennedy and Obama, despite a significant generational distance, share the fact that they both started in a bad political position and went on to win the office in new ways.

"Kennedy used the primaries, and press, and travels for two years to win the Democratic nomination in 1960, and Obama used the new technologies of the Internet and social networks to raise enough money and create a profile to win the office, so in that way they're similar."

But for Reeves, the parallels end there.

"Kennedy, more than Obama so far, had more of a gut instinct for decision making . . . I somewhat think Obama is too thoughtful to be president . . . he's nice and he tries to think things out logically . . . presidents have to respond to events that no one predicts or foresees in any way . . . so it's really their judgment, not their IQ, that marks how they handle unknown situations, and so far that equation has not been good in office for Barack Obama. Kennedy was better at being a politician."

Part of the equation that doesn't add up, Reeves says, is a lack of ruthlessness on the part of Obama.

"You don’t see much ruthlessness in Barack Obama. I don't want ruthlessness in my own family, but when people are in that type of position they have to be very tough and hard, and often hard on the people who help them to get there," a skill, Reeves says, that Kennedy was deft at.

"John Kennedy was not a nice man. He was a charming man, he was a delightful man, he was a pleasant man, and people loved him, but he was ruthless and he stripped people away through his life as they could no longer help him."

As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, he will be remembered as a young prince cut down, Reeves says.

"He will be forever young in our minds and apparently even in the minds of people who didn't even know him, because there's so much television that they have a picture of him. I think he should be remembered as the most important person in the world at a time when the world almost didn't get it together."

Richard Reeves will be speaking at the 30th annual Miami Book Fair International. To get tickets to the event click here now.





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