The Corner

Talk About False Choices

Via Will Wilkinson, Barack Obama this morning in response to the charge he might be doing too much at once:

President Roosevelt didn’t have the luxury of choosing between ending a depression and fighting a war. President Kennedy didn’t have the luxury of choosing between civil rights and sending us to the moon.

Uh, what’s that now? Without revisiting the whole question of whether the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression, FDR in fact did enjoy the “luxury” of choice. “Dr New Deal has been replaced by Dr Win the War” quoth FDR. I don’t hear a lot of multi-tasking there. Meanwhile, as Will notes, JFK hardly did much on civil rights, he could have chosen to do a lot more, and whatever he did do, the moon launch had nothing to do with it. And as for sending us to the moon, I disagree with Will about it being a waste. But it certainly was a luxurious choice on Kennedy’s part. In no way did we “have” to go to the moon. Indeed, every other time I’ve heard Obama talk about going to the moon, I thought he was saying Kennedy was great for making that choice. If JFK merely made his to-the-moon pledge out of some kind of necessity, what’s the big deal?

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