Saturday, November 23, 2013

Keynoter: Retire Kennedy in '64 Taken Seriously by Grassroots

John Vargo had an excellent article in the Fall 2013 issue of the APIC Keynoter about the startings of the various movements of the 1964 election prior to the death of JFK. There are several really nice paper items put out by the RNC and pro-Goldwater forces advocating to retire 'The Kennedys'. The thinking was that if the GOP did a good job in the 1964 elections, JFK and RFK would be out of the White House and 'Teddy' Kennedy would be defeated in the Massachusetts Senate race. Two bumper stickers featuring the famous rocking chair and a RWB item from the Midwestern Regional Leadership Conference that was taking place in St. Louis, Missouri. The conference was taking place November 22-23, 1963. At similar conferences a set of three rocking chairs would be set up near the lobby of the conference for display.

Vargo's article mentions a mailer the RNC started sending out to raise funds for JFK's retirement fund. Upon some further research, it was discovered that some Republicans in the early fall of 1963 took this solicitation request seriously and were not very happy about it. The Toledo Blade covered one such Utah Republicans response to the fundraising request. The RNC wanted individuals to donate $10 dollars to help fund efforts for the party at defeating JFK in the upcoming election. A man in Utah sent back his mailer to the RNC with this response, "I think this is silly. Why can't the Kennedys live on the liberal provisions provided for upon retirement the same as Hoover, Truman and Eisenhower are managing to do? I'm not interested in contributing to any additional retirement fund for them."Sometimes things just go over our heads.

 John Chamberlain of the Ocala Star-Banner never recalled getting political mailers asking for funds in a such a humorous manner prior to 1963. He believed that if GOP forces and Goldwater were going to develop a sense of humor, that the 1964 campaign might get interesting having two candidates at the top of the ticket with that can make'em laugh. He wondered how you can attack Barry Goldwater if he takes every attack at him and turns them into compliments.

As Vargo, and many others have pointed out this past week in various publications and mediums, we never did the chance to experience the Goldwater vs. Kennedy campaign of 1964. Makes you wonder how it would have played out. It is a shame we never got the chance to find out.

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