This year, we have several big anniversaries for three of the most important Presidents in recent history:
This November, it will have been 50 years since John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
This January 22nd marked 40 years since the death of his Vice President (1961-1963) and successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th President of the United States, died of a massive heart attack in Texas.
Lastly, January 9th of this year marked the 100th year of the birth of President Richard M. Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, and Vice President from 1953-1961
JFK played a pivotal role in the Cold War, with the events of the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis and embarked on the first peaceful measures with the Soviet Union, including the first Test Ban treaty in October 1963, and he began (unofficially) the policy of what would later be called Detente with the Soviet Union, hoping to coexist so that the threat of a new, nuclear World War would be lessened. Lyndon Johnson shaped and transformed America's domestic policy permanently with the Great Society, and controversially enlarged our existing commitment to aiding Vietnam. Richard Nixon ended the Vietnam War, instituted Detente as formal policy with the Soviet, went to China, and ended the Draft.
Like them or hate them, both LBJ and Nixon were also among the most qualified men who were ever President, in that they both had over 20 years of experience in both the legislative and executive branches before becoming President. Both men served in the House, the Senate, the Vice Presidency, and later the Presidency.
Of these three transformative Presidents, how do you evaluate them now, with the benefit of hindsight? How did you evaluate them then?
Just a question for CU users. I'd be especially interested to hear the views on Nixon given his status as one of the most successful, yet disgraced, Presidents in our history. Only Nixon and Reagan managed to secure all but one state in their massive landslides in '72 and '84. Both were massively popular in their time (Nixon was actually incredibly popular before Watergate)