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Remembering Kennedy's Famous Berlin Speech 50 Years Later

50 years ago today, president John F. Kennedy made an impassioned speech in front of Berlin's city hall, declaring famously, "Ich bin ein Berliner."


50 years ago today, American President John F. Kennedy made an impassioned speech in front of Berlin's City Hall, declaring famously, "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am a Berliner). The speech was watched by 1.1 million—more than 50 percent of Berlin’s population—and from the other side of the border, by small groups of East Berliners unable to even wave because of the presence of the East German People's Police. When Kennedy declared, "All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words, 'Ich bin ein Berliner'," he gave a morale boost to West Germans who were still coping with the fact that the Wall had recently been erected.

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Obama Might Be Doing Badly, But So Was Reagan

Comparing Obama's decline in approval ratings to other 20th century presidents results in some surprises.


The good folks at TPM have done the obvious and yet incredibly helpful and looked at the month-to-month approval ratings of all the Presidents since Eisenhower. You can see it much larger and clickable here. But here are some takeaways:

Obama is not doing very well. Only three presidents had a worse approval rating than him at this point, and one was Gerald Ford. However, two of those presidents below him went on to win second terms. The biggest point, though, is that all presidents are in basically a constant approval decline, with only small spikes (often beyond their control, see below) to break the continual downward trend. The highs of the election, and excitement about election promises, seem to only lead to disappointment and disillusionment. Maybe we would be better served by campaigns and candidates that were realistic about what they planned to do? Then again, that doesn't seem like something voters would get excited about.

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