I keep forgetting just how much our mainstream media has changed over the years. Take for example this program; Our Nation's Future - a weekly program from NBC hosted by Edwin Newman, featuring a format that was half debate and half townhall meeting. This episode aired on October 15, 1961 and the subject was how the JFK Administration was doing, coming up on the mid-term elections of 1962.
The Administration's Domestic Record: Success Or Failure? was the title and debating were Republican Senator Everett Dirksen and Abraham Ribicoff, Secretary of Health, Eduction and Welfare. The positions weren't exactly revelatory, and they don't appear that wildly different than they are now (well . . .save for the unhinged, the rants and outright smears).
Sen. Everett Dirksen: “For fourteen years I have served with Mr. Kennedy in the House of Representatives and the Senate. And I only, as a friend . . .but if the President gets his chance, and I would say now that, not only is the honeymoon over, but the moneymoon is also over.”
Abraham Ribicoff: “ May I say that the President of the United States, in the absence of some military crisis, will present a balanced budget for the people of this country next year. Secondly, the President and the administration will again go to the people the next few months to try and to their program across to the people of this country. And if the people, like Senator Dirksen and that combination of Republicans and some of the Democrats oppose, goodbye Republican Party in the 1962 election.”
Well, there was the military crisis in 1962 (Cuban Missile) and the Republican Party did take a sharp turn to the right under the Goldwater influence during the '62 mid-terms. And no, the Republican Party didn't go anywhere after 1962.
But at least they were talking and pretending rather well.