Jul 20 2008

What Do Apollo, the Panama Canal, and John McCain Have in Common?

As a Senator from Massachusetts campaigning for the U.S. Presidency in 1960, John F. Kennedy visited this stunning 1950s Macro-Engineering Project (MEP): the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan.

To see JFK and Michigan Governor Williams on the Mackinac Bridge in 1960, Click jfkmac.pdf
(See Mackinac Bridge by Mike Fornes)

JFK himself was just warming up.

Indeed, he was less than a year from setting in motion some of the most powerful exploration and technology symbols of all time: namely the Apollo Moon program.

Because he initiated the Apollo program — both the greatest Great Exploration and the greatest MEP in history — President Kennedy can rightfully be considered the Thomas Jefferson of his time (for Lewis and Clark, a Great Exploration) as well as the Theodore Roosevelt of his time (for the Panama Canal, an MEP). Revealingly, all three were president during the same portions of their respective economic booms (i.e., the Maslow Windows) during the 56 year energy/economic wave.

Last Monday the Chicago Tribune (Jill Zuckerman, 7/14/08) suggested there are parallels between John McCain and President Theodore Roosevelt that might explain why McCain sees Roosevelt as a “soulmate.” Aside from the obvious military connection, McCain admires Roosevelt’s vision for America in the 20th Century. Shockingly, the Tribune article fails to even mention the Panama Canal — the greatest pre-Apollo MEP of the last 200 years — nor Roosevelt’s quintessential role in it.

This weblog continues to test the hypothesis that the key reason Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Kennedy had many similar opportunities, accomplishments, and interests was because they all governed at similar times during the major, rhythmic, twice-per-century economic booms that produce affluence and ebullience (i.e., Maslow Windows), and invariably result in Great Explorations, MEPs. and sadly, major wars.

This similar timing, relative to their economic waves, of the 3 presidents means their electorates — although widely separated in time (about 160 years) — would have been subject to a similar economic and social framework. For example, Theodore Roosevelt took office in 1901, twelve years before his energy cycle peak in 1913. But McCain, if elected, will take office in 2009, a full 16 years prior to the next energy peak in 2025. This economically significant 4 year difference means that McCain will not experience the relative economic boom that greeted Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Kennedy when they took office; McCain’s ebullient Exploration/MEP agenda — if he has one — would have to wait 4 more years. Indeed, in 4 or 8 years is when long-term trends suggest the next JFK-like president will be elected.

This also suggests that parallels between McCain and Roosevelt may be overestimated. Instead, we continue to see impressive economic, political, and military parallels between McCain and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Because Eisenhower was elected one full 56 year cycle ago, and assuming that long-term economic and social trends are relevant to the electorate today, John McCain — the most Eisenhower-like candidate — should be favored this November.

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