With the 2012 presidential cycle heating up, I took a break over the holiday weekend to watch "The Making of the President: The 1960s," a set of three documentaries based on the classic Theodore H. White books that are being re-released today by Acorn Media Group. These contemporaneous films cover the 1960, '64 and '68 races at a depth and level of detail that surprised me and will no doubt excite political junkies. Among the films' many cool features: the informal access to the candidates, which puts the viewer in JFK's hotel suite on election night; on the stage before the first Kennedy-Nixon debate as the candidates make awkward small talk with the men in the press (they're all men); and in Barry Goldwater's hotel suite as he "relaxes with his hobby" of chatting up random ham radio operators across the country--sort of pre-Twitter social networking with one's constituents, I suppose, though minus the naughty pictures. All of it is described in the booming stentorian '60s voiceovers that were standard back then and imbue White's purple prose with maximum drama (e.g. Lyndon Johnson gazing poignantly across the South Lawn after Kennedy's assasination: "The crushing power of the presidency is his alone to guide.")
The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?