The Magazine

The Substance of Style

Sally Bedell Smith on the Kennedy White House.

Aug 30, 2004, Vol. 9, No. 47 • By PAUL R. MCHUGH
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Kennedy and most of his circle (with the prominent exceptions of Robert Kennedy and Sargent Shriver) selfishly exploited the glamour and prerogatives of office and so, being preoccupied privately, dealt with history one crisis at a time. Kennedy will be remembered as mostly overmastered by the global situation he faced and lucky not to have done worse. Thatcher brought a confidence built on personal trust to her work and forged an administration that, reflecting her style and character, addressed with foresight and vigor a multitude of domestic and international problems. She will find her place amongst the greatest leaders of Britain--for the policies she articulated, the changes in government she induced, and the victories she won.

Our manners and our modes have consequences, our fashions and our behaviors sway decisions, and our style influences our substance--because we are, finally, what we do.

Paul R. McHugh is a University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and former psychiatrist in chief of the Johns Hopkins Hospital.