Dec 14 2008

The Next 'Space President'…Will it be Caroline? exists to test the idea that long waves in the economy have enabled Great Explorations (GEs) and Macro-Engineering Projects (MEPs) over the last 200 years, and that this model provides a powerful portal into the future; see The Forecasts. Historically, GEs and MEPs come in brief, ebullient pulses — called Maslow Windows — separated by 55 to 60 years during huge economic booms.

Thomas Jefferson’s vision opened up the West in 1804. Click jefferson.jpg.

Interestingly, there is usually an important leader like Theodore Roosevelt (for the Panama Canal) or Thomas Jefferson (for Lewis & Clark) around who plays a key role. During the last Maslow Window — in the 1960s — it was President John F. Kennedy who provided Camelot-style symbolic leadership for the Apollo Moon program. This weblog suggested previously that President Kennedy should be considered both the Thomas Jefferson and the Theodore Roosevelt of his time because of his seminal association with not only the greatest GE of all time, but also the greatest MEP — both in Apollo.

Theodore Roosevelt’s vision opened the Panama Canal in 1914. Click troosevelt.jpg.

Prior to the onset of the financial Panic of 2008 in September, this blog suggested that Barack Obama seemed to possess both the flexibility to be able to recognize the approach of the 2015 Maslow Window, and the charisma to lead the U.S. and the world into it. However, given the depth of the current recession, it appears unlikely that the recovery will occur before his potential second term. Because a major economic boom always powers the affluence and ebullience of a Maslow Window — and the recession may last 4 – 6 years — the next Maslow Window may not open much before 2015 (i.e., the expected date based on the last 200 years).

President Kennedy’s vision opened up the Moon for all humankind in 1969. Click jfk.jpg.

So who else might be the next “Space President”…the next JFK? It will be someone who’s mindful of JFK’s space legacy and who could advocate a large, visionary, international project. And most importantly, this individual would need JFK-like charisma to provide symbolic leadership for the next race to space. Although highly speculative now, we suggest that it might be Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, President Kennedy’s 51-year-old daughter.

Our speculation is motivated by the December 5th Associated Press report indicating the Governor of New York discussed the possibility with Ms. Kennedy of filling Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat when she becomes Secretary of State. Reaction has been very enthusiastic in Democratic quarters suggesting they perceive Caroline as the charismatic embodiment of JFK’s legacy. If she were to be appointed, and demonstrated political success, it would give her a high probability of being able to be elected on her own in 2012. This would give Caroline a total of 8 years in the Senate before she could choose to run for President in 2016 — exactly one 56-year energy cycle after her father was elected; this blog has predicted that the next Space President will be elected in 2016 (or possibly as early as 2012) based long wave timing.

Caroline is a graduate of Harvard and received her law degree from Columbia. She worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and has run the Office of Strategic Partnerships in NYC’s Dept of Education. She and her family live in Manhattan; her son John is named after President Kennedy. She has devoted most of her efforts toward the arts and humanities, and education. So the question becomes, what would it take for her to recognize that the many benefits from the space program could be a bridge between her past issues and interests and moving to a national platform, supporting the country in a broader context? Indeed, the contribution of the space program to today’s issues of education, energy, medicine and the environment is considerable. In particular, the space program has been a catalyst attracting students to science and math and engineering. These professionals contribute not only to our national space ventures, but provide a skill base for solutions to the energy crisis, as well as applying their skills to biomedicine or understanding climate change and global warming – leaving the world a better place for future generations.

Partly due to her highly publicized White House childhood, Caroline is closely associated with President Kennedy. As the sole survivor of her immediate family, she has been willing to participate in activities that recognize the contributions of her dad. For example, in 1967 she christened the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy. In 1990, she was co-founder of the Profiles in Courage Award (named after her father’s book); it was given in 2002 to representatives of many key groups who saved lives during the 9/11 attacks. On January 27, 2008, Caroline’s Sunday New York Times op-ed piece endorsing Obama appeared; it was entitled, “A President Like My Father.” So stepping up to her father’s leadership and legacy in space – seen by many as one of the most significant accomplishments of the United States in the 20th century and one that clearly elevated the stature of the US in the world — could easily be a concept she might embrace.

In 2016, Will Caroline Kennedy expand on her father’s spectacular legacy in space? Click caroline.jpg.

We also note that Caroline would be 59 if elected President in 2016, compared to her father’s 43; both would have spent 8 years in the Senate. It is not obvious to us that her age relative to JFK’s at inauguration would negatively affect public perceptions of her charisma. In fact, we suspect her more mature style of charisma and close association with her father’s legacy would be sufficient to make her the next JFK-like Space President; The One who will lead the U.S. and the world into the globally transformative space initiatives expected during the next Maslow Window.

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