Kennedy and Reagan

Why Their Legacies Endure


Book Description

It's been fifty years since JFK’s assassination and nearly twenty since Ronald Reagan disappeared from public life. While they never ran head-to-head, they developed their legacies in competing ways and those legacies battle each other even today. The story of one illuminates the other, and explains our expectations for the presidency and whom we elect. Even though one is the model Democrat and the other the model Republican, their appeal is now bipartisan. Republicans quote Kennedy to justify tax cuts or aggressive national defense; Democrats use Reagan’s pragmatism to shame Republicans into supporting tax increases and compromise.

     Partly a "comparative biography" that explores John F. Kennedy’s and Ronald Reagan’s contemporaneous lives from birth until 1960, Scott Farris's follow-up to his widely praised Almost President shows how the experiences, attitudes, and skills developed by each man later impacted his presidency. Farris also tackles the key issues--civil rights, foreign affairs, etc.--that impacted each man’s time in office. How did previous life experiences form their views on these issues, and how do their dealings around each issue compare and contrast? Bookended by an examination of their standing in public opinion and how that has influenced subsequent politicians, plus an exploration of how the assassination of Kennedy and attempted assassination of Reagan colored our memories, this book also shows how aides, friends and families of each man have burnished their reputations long after their presidencies ended.

About Farris, Scott

Scott Farris is an experienced political journalist, speechwriter, adviser, and political candidate. A former bureau chief for United Press International and a political columnist, Farris has interviewed most of the men and women who have sought the presidency over the past thirty years. He managed several political campaigns, and was the Democratic Party's 1998 congressional nominee for Wyoming's at-large district, the seat once held by former Vice President Dick Cheney. Farris worked as a senior policy and communications adviser to a U.S. senator, the governors of Wyoming and California, the mayor of Portland, Oregon, two university presidents, and the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne. He worked closely with three presidential administrations and as a volunteer on multiple presidential campaigns. The first American journalist selected to participate in the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service's prestigious International Leadership Seminar, Farris has a master's degree in history from the University of Wyoming, where his thesis focused on President Kennedy's battle with the radical right. He is the author of Almost President: The Men Who Lost the Race but Changed the Nation, and is currently the Director of Government Relations in the western United States for TransCanada, a Canadian-based energy infrastructure company. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and two children.