He rose quickly from the Senate to the Presidency, using his speaking ability, energy and youthful image to overcome his sparse record. His young family helped to make him relatable, and overcome prejudice against his minority status. He came into office with an ambitious agenda, only to see it bottled up by an obstructionist Republican Congress. Late into his first term, he had little to show for all of his talk.
It’s a cliche to compare Obama and Kennedy, but reading Robert Caro’s fourth tome on the life of Lyndon Johnson, the similarities sometimes jump off the page. There were obvious differences as well. Kennedy had much more money to aid his rise, and he also had far more physical ailments hindering him. Obama came into office with a range of problems (two wars, a financial meltdown) that Kennedy didn’t.
But, assuming a tragedy doesn’t occur, we have an interesting glimpse into how history might have gone if Dealey Plaza never occurred.