Volokh Conspirator Jim Lindgren thinks that someone who agrees to serve as the uncredited ghostwriter for a politician’s book has a moral obligation to break that agreement by claiming credit, and that failure to do so constitutes a lack of “integrity.”
I would have thought just the opposite: that keeping one’s word was praiseworthy, especially when the beneficiary of the promise is long dead and the book in question an unquestioned classic.
Footnote Nor do think the incident raises doubts about Kennedy’s integrity. He understood that politics, like most of life, is a team sport, and that “John F. Kennedy” was the name of his team. (As President, he liked to say to someone proposing some plan, “I like it. I’ll have to find out what the President thinks.”) On the other hand, the omission from the the “Young Reader’s Edition” of Profiles in Courage of the chapter in praise of Robert Taft’s courage in opposing the Nuremberg Trials was a profile in something less than courage.
Update In comments below I made a sweeping assertion about Presidential speechwriting without adequate forethought or factual basis. Volokh Conspirator Jim Lindgren doubts it, and is blegging for information. It seems that Coolidge was the first President to have an acknowledged speechwriter on his staff, and that TR claimed to write all of his own material.