Posted by ESC on July 29, 2005

In Reply to: JFK - "A rising tide raises all the boats" posted by Brian from Shawnee on July 29, 2005

: : : "A rising tide raises all boats" - or sometimes "rasises all ships" - Does anyone know if someone is credited with coming up with this phrase? DId it come from a book or speech? The best I can find on Google is many references that say "as many people say..." or words to that effect.

: : RISING TIDE LIFTS ALL THE BOATS - "The idea that general prosperity is best for individual welfare. John F. Kennedy repeatedly sounded the optimistic note that good times would be beneficial to all. In his June 1963 address in Frankfort, Kennedy said, 'As they say on my own Cape Cod, a rising tide lifts all the boats..'" This reference cites an earlier use of the phrase by President Kennedy in 1960. "In 1993, Theodore C. Sorensen informed the author: 'As Legislative Assistant to Senator John F. Kennedy 1953-1961, I often received material from a regional chamber of commerce-type organization called 'The New England Council.' I was favorably struck by the motto set forth on its letterhead: 'The rising tide lifts all the boats,' and not surprisingly it found its way into J.F.K.'s speeches.'." From Safire's New Political Dictionary by William Safire (Random House, New York, 1993).

: The Reverend Jesse Jackson scoffed at this idea of general economic prosperity, as his speech to the Democratic National Convention on July 18, 1984 shows:

: "Rising tides don't lift all boats, particularly those stuck at the bottom. For the boats stuck at the bottom there's a misery index."

: I remember a flurry of admiration among the network talking heads over the imagery of the "boats stuck at the bottom".

Mr. Safire includes a couple of quotes along those lines. "The falling tide in the Defense Department puts ships in the sand selectively." (National Review article, 1987) And nine years before Vernon Jordan said that "black people are in the drydock of this economy." Safire said that Democrats use this phrase in a positive vein but deride the Republicans' "trickle-down" theory.