But if the campaign of 1960 were inserted into 2013, it would have been disaster from the start. In the race to find sensational, attention-grabbing headlines, Kennedy’s personal life–not his stances on fiscal matters or foreign policy–would be been put under a microscope first. Various women in Kennedy’s life—tempted by checkbook journalism or the need to join the reality show ranks—would come forward. The Monroe-Kennedy affair—when revealed—would be the lead story on cable news and across magazines nationwide for weeks. Seriously…it would be tantamount to Beyoncé singing Happy Birthday, Mr. President and being caught sneaking out of the White House while First Lady Michelle was away with the kids.
Twitter would break. The campaign…over before it began.
And that’s not even considering the chronic back problems (Addison’s disease) that forced Kennedy to use crutches to get around (in private, of course). Amazingly–by today’s standards–the press was told not to take any photos that included the President’s crutches in the shot, and they mostly obliged out of respect (or fear) of the office. The 35th President was also dependent on pain killers. He suffered from debilitating ulcers and colitis. Back surgery nearly killed him in 1954. A priest actually administered last rights before Kennedy defied the odds.