's two years and ten months as
president constitute the shortest "dynasty" in recorded history.
In reality, of course, it was not a dynasty at all and the
inclusion of the word is a total misnomer.
But there is a method to the misnoming. For Davis, it is
necessary to suggest a kind of "royal family" ambience to the
Kennedys and, with it, the accompanying aura of familial and
assumed "divine right." One of the author's aims is to establish
the clan as part of America's ruling class, with more power and
influence than any other. He is clear about this early on, when
he writes that Joe Kennedy Sr. was richer than either David or
Nelson Rockefeller (p. 133). As any student of wealth and power
in America knows, this is a rather amazing statement. In 1960,
according to John Blair's definitive study The Control of Oil,
the Rockefeller family had controlling interest in three of the
top seven oil companies in America, and four of the top eight in
the world. They were also in control of Chase Manhattan Bank, one
of the biggest in the nation then and the largest today. They
also owned the single most expensive piece of real estate in the
country, Rockefeller Center in New York City. The list of private
corporations controlled by them could go on for a page, but to
name just two, how about IBM and Eastern Airlines. I won't
enumerate the overseas holdings of the family but, suffice it to
say, the Kennedys weren't in the same league in that category.
JFK knew this. As Mort Sahl relates, before the 1960 election, he
liked to kid Kennedy about being the scion of a multimillionaire.