Fact, Democrats, and the JFK Legend

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


legThe mythologizing of John F. Kennedy in the 50 years since his death has verified the adage in John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” The JFK legend recycled all these years is of a liberal icon, the glamorous martyr whose violent death has validated and sanctified big government, redistributive economic polices, and quasi-pacifist internationalism. The facts, however, belie this myth, which also obscures the true significance of JFK’s brief administration.

In reality, Kennedy was not a liberal in today’s sense of the word, but a conservative Democrat, a Cold-War warrior and tax-cutter, as documented by Ira Stoll in JFK, Conservative. Far from the civil rights saint portrayed in the legend, his support for civil rights legislation was lukewarm, driven by the momentum for desegregation started before him by Truman’s desegregation of the armed forces, and codified by Eisenhower in the 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights acts, the first civil rights legislation since 1875. In fact, Kennedy believed that over-hasty progress on civil rights would alienate the conservative Southern wing of the Democrats. That’s why he advised Martin Luther King against his groundbreaking March on Washington in August of 1963, and put little effort into passing additional civil rights legislation.

Nor was Kennedy a tax-and-spend liberal. The Revenue Act of 1964, one of Kennedy’s economic goals he proposed before his assassination, cut tax rates by 20% across the board, based on an argument redolent of the much-derided “supply-side” economics promoted by Ronald Reagan. As Kennedy said in a 1962 speech, “The final and best means of strengthening demand among consumers and business is to reduce the burden on private income and the deterrents to private initiative which are imposed by our present tax system . . . I am not talking about a ‘quickie’ or a temporary tax cut, which would be more appropriate if a recession were imminent. Nor am I talking about giving the economy a mere shot in the arm, to ease some temporary complaint. I am talking about the accumulated evidence of the last 5 years that our present tax system . . . exerts too heavy a drag on growth in peace time; that it siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power; that it reduces the financial incentives for personal effort, investment, and risk-taking.”

Similarly, despite attempts to claim Kennedy as a promoter of détente and coexistence with the Soviet Union, he was hawkish on confronting the Russians, vowing in his inaugural address, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” In his famous speech in Berlin on June 26, 1963, he sounded like liberal bogeyman Ronald Reagan. “There are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin,” Kennedy orated to a million Germans. He continued, “There are even a few who say that it is true that Communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress . . . Let them come to Berlin.” He taunted the Russians by saying that democratic citizens “have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us.” And he called communism “an offence not only against history but an offense against humanity.” When Ronald Reagan spoke in these terms, the liberal admirers of Kennedy called him a war-mongering simpleton.

Nor does the historical record support the view that Kennedy intended to reduce U.S. involvement in Vietnam. In his brief tenure he increased U.S. advisors from 900 to 16,000, which makes the reduction of a 1000 before his death less impressive. There is nothing in his Cold War hawkishness to think he would unilaterally surrender in a geopolitical duel with the Soviet Union and China––not when he fomented rebellion in Cuba and plotted to assassinate Fidel Castro, or when he took this country to the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile crisis over weapons that did not substantially alter the strategic nuclear balance.

Finally, Kennedy’s “big government” initiatives like the Peace Corps and the program to send a man to the moon within a decade were subordinated to his Cold War aims. Even desegregation was in part a response to the negative effect on the U.S.’s image as a bastion of freedom and equality compared to the oppressive Soviet Union. As the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland writes, “He believed the Peace Corps program would win back some of that lost public-relations ground in those parts of the globe. Kennedy didn’t care about space exploration, but instead viewed the moon program through the lens of U.S.-Soviet competition during the Cold War.” To make Kennedy a pacifist-leaning internationalist requires long residence in the Oliver Stone fever-swamps.

As a result of this legend, many today believe that JFK was one of the best presidents in history, as routinely asserted in presidential popularity polls that consistently put him in the top 10, and occasionally rank him first or second. Once again, the facts don’t support this estimation. As Joseph Epstein wrote recently, “John F. Kennedy turned out to be a most mediocre president. He was at best hesitant in his support of the civil rights movement, the clearest moral event of the second half of the twentieth century. Nor did he pass any domestic legislation of major importance. In foreign policy, he made a great mess of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and with a less than ept bit of brinksmanship brought the Soviet Union and the United States as close to nuclear war as they ever got. He was the man who first put the American toe in the swamp of Vietnam, though his successor Lyndon Johnson would take the heat of liberal history for that misbegotten war.” Epstein could have mentioned as well the disastrous decision to remove South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, which damaged the counterinsurgency efforts against the Viet Cong guerrillas and cadres. We can quibble with some parts of Epstein’s evaluation, but the liberal icon of presidential excellence for the most part is made of rhetorical tinsel and greasepaint.

Equally important to dismantling that icon is recognizing the other significant developments that followed the Kennedy assassination. Kennedy was the first modern president whose image, constructed from the new media of mass communication like television and monthly magazines like Life, was more important than his thin record of accomplishment. The mythmaking began even before his death, with those glossy photographs and video footage of the glamorous young president and his stylish bride wafting through “Camelot” and supposedly elevating the intellectual and artistic tenor of the White House. This process accelerated after his assassination, when courtiers like Ted Sorenson and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote hagiographies that created the image forever frozen by Kennedy’s gruesome death, forever captured on Abraham Zapruder’s 8-millimeter footage. Movies and television shows over the last half-century have repeated and reinforced this sentimental myth, gliding over Kennedy’s political failures and sexual peccadillos. Indeed, the celebrity legend has become historical fact. But the larger legacy of this mythmaking is that now, fabricated image and slick marketing (see Scott Thomas’s Designing Obama) have replaced experience and knowledge in qualifying someone for the presidency, as the current occupant of the White House demonstrates. Moreover, the Kennedy myth has validated the imperial presidency in which manufactured charisma and glamour justify violating the Constitution’s separation of powers––once more illustrated by Barack Obama.

More important, the true record of Kennedy’s political beliefs stands as a marker for judging just how far left the contemporary Democratic Party has veered. Though Kennedy was a mediocre president, he was still a conventional centrist and anti-communist Democrat. But since 1968, the party of Kennedy has transformed itself from a classical liberal party of individual rights, citizen autonomy, and personal freedom, to a left-wing party that endorses an intrusive, patronizing Leviathan state financed by punitive tax rates on producers of growth, and sold to the people with class-warfare rhetoric evocative of Pravda and sweetened with metastasizing character-eroding entitlement transfers. Rather than a defender of the First Amendment’s rights to free speech and religion, it has institutionalized censorship in hate-speech and sexual harassment laws, and declared war on Christianity and Judaism and attempted to drive those faiths from the public square––excluding of course Islam, the faith of most of the terrorist murderers active across the globe. Instead of championing entrepreneurship and innovation, it has favored economic policies and coercive regulatory regimes that stifle both. And it has become the party of invidious racialist grievance politics that enriches hustlers like Al Sharpton while ignoring the ongoing destruction of black people in blue-state inner cities, even as it transforms a once-noble civil rights movement into a divisive grievance industry.

Worst of all, contrary to Kennedy’s robust, if sometimes inept, foreign policy that recognized the true nature of the communist enemy and actively opposed its adventurism, the Democrats are now a crypto-pacifist party of appeasement, retreat, apology, and subordination of American sovereignty to feckless and incompetent internationalist outfits like the U.N. and the European Court of Justice. Instead of seeing a strong, confident America as a power for good in the world and an enabler of freedom and justice, the Democratic Party considers America as complicit in all the crimes and oppression troubling the planet, reducing America’s global role to “a partner mindful of his own imperfections,” as Obama said, no more exceptional than any other country.

Obama, of course, embodies perfectly the degeneration of the Democratic Party, and so more than anything else marks how far it has fallen from the beliefs of JFK. For Democrats today to claim John Kennedy as one of their own is not just a violation of historical fact, but a shameful masking of their own radicalism.

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  • TheOrdinaryMan

    Kennedy followed the tactical dictums of Sir Winston Churchill in war. That’s where he got the idea of a naval blockade of Cuba, during said Cuban missile crisis. He made too many mistakes to be a great President, but he was a good President. He most likely would have increased U.S. presence in Vietnam; but he might also have invaded North Vietnam, using infantry and tanks.(unlike Johnson) And today, politically, he would be thought of as Republican; and like Joe Lieberman, would have been drummed out of today’s Democrat party. Ah, Johnny…we hardly knew ye.

  • TheOrdinaryMan

    Kennedy followed the tactical dictums of Sir Winston Churchill in war. That’s where he got the idea of a naval blockade of Cuba, during said Cuban missile crisis. He made too many mistakes to be a great President, but he was a good President. He most likely would have increased U.S. presence in Vietnam; but he might also have invaded North Vietnam, using infantry and tanks.(unlike Johnson) And today, politically, he would be thought of as Republican; and like Joe Lieberman, would have been drummed out of today’s Democrat party. Ah, Johnny…we hardly knew ye.

    • Texas Patriot

      There is no question that Kennedy continued and accelerated Eisenhower’s policy of sending American military advisers into Vietnam. It is well known that the Harvard brain trust of geopolitical strategists, including Robert McNamara, wanted Kennedy jump into Vietnam with both feet to avoid the so-called “domino effect” of multiple nations falling to the Communist onslaught. Apparently, Douglas MacArthur advised Kennedy that we couldn’t win in Vietnam even with a million men on the ground because of the numerous, hidden and serpentine supply routes available to the N. Vietnamese in the jungles and tunnels of the No Man’s Land of Southeast Asia.

      In fact, I have read that Kennedy secretly agreed with McArthur over the Harvard theorists and had already decided to pull our troops out of Vietnam, but wanted to wait until after his reelection to avoid any potential political backlash. Unfortunately, because of events that happened fifty years ago today, he never got that chance.

      Obviously Kennedy should have taken the necessary action and done what he knew was right, regardless of the political consequences. As Davy Crockett said, “Be sure you’re right, then go straight ahead.”

      • TheOrdinaryMan

        What’s your source for stating “Kennedy secretly agreed with McArthur…and had already decided to pull our troops out of Vietnam…?” I’ve never heard that, but I’d like to read it.

        • Texas Patriot

          Just things I’ve read over time. There’s an enormous amount of information on the subject of MacArthur’s advice to Kennedy not to get involved in Southeast Asia, and also about Kennedy’s view that we had no chance of winning anything there. But I have not been able to locate the specific piece I read regarding MacArthur’s comment that a million men would not be enough to ensure victory because of the logistical difficulty in cutting off the supply lines from N. Vietnam. Kennedy was a master politician, and he never really showed his hand unless he had to. The truth of what he actually would have done if re-elected may never be known.

          • TheOrdinaryMan

            Well, I’ll see if I can dig up MacArthur’s autobiography; its not an unbiased tome, certainly, but its all I’ve got. And I’ve read that JFK was going to expand US presence in Vietnam.

      • winstons

        Just more baloney to clean up the “legacy” of JFK, sort of like O. Stone.

  • Bryce Armstrong

    JFK, the latest fascist monster like Martin Luther Kong and Lincoln to have his legacy stolen buy scumbag conservitives.

  • Elizabeth capecod

    Whatever you may say about Kennedy, his vision did get us to the Moon, whereas obama PROMISES the moon and can’t even deliver a workable website.

    50 years of …progress?? Liberals have redefined progress:

    To elect an African American president, whether he’s qualified or not.

  • Elizabeth capecod

    Whatever you may say about Kennedy, his vision did get us to the Moon, whereas obama PROMISES the moon and can’t even deliver a workable website.

    50 years of …progress?? Liberals have redefined progress:

    To elect an African American president, whether he’s qualified or not.

    • m4253y

      “To elect an African American president, whether he’s qualified or not.”

      i believe you meant an ‘oreo cookie’ as african americans refer to his type as ‘not’ the real deal.

      • Elizabeth Cape Cod

        [i believe you meant an 'oreo cookie' as african americans refer to his type as 'not' the real deal.]

        I think they do if they’re conservatives..

  • solidspine

    Oswald,Sirhan Sirhan, – Muslims

  • solidspine

    Oswald,Sirhan Sirhan, – Muslims

    • Tanks-a-lot

      Sirhan was not a muslim but an Arab ‘Christian’. Not really Christian considering the adulterated nature of Dhimmi life among muslims in the Levant, and his murderous act.
      Also crazy.

      just the facts.

  • tatave

    When it comes to scumbaggery the Dems and libs are the champion.The Dems were the ones that invented the KKk,the Dems had in their ranks a Prominent leader of the KKK,the late and greatly missed Senator Byrd.LB told the entire world about the racist Dems.

  • Lanna

    Kennedy was against Communism, lower taxes, and equality for all, he never would have signed on to this government controlled healthcare system which is the destruction of good healthcare and doctors. He was cleaning up crime too with his brother the attorney general, a real threat to crime and communism.

  • Lanna

    Kennedy was against Communism, lower taxes, and equality for all, he never would have signed on to this government controlled healthcare system which is the destruction of good healthcare and doctors. He was cleaning up crime too with his brother the attorney general, a real threat to crime and communism.

  • Lanna

    Yes, The Dems were the organizers of the KKK, they champion the violence, chaos, and destruction we are seeing in America today, pitting race against race and demonizing people with principles, they love chaos and destruction, THERE IS NOTHING POSITIVE THEY DO (FOR THEIR COUNTRY!) JFK WOULD BE ASHAMED OF HIS PARTY.

  • DaCoachK

    Kennedy gets an “Atta-boy” for nailing Marilyn Monroe, but a “D” for his presidency. He is, however, infinitely better than ANY Democrat alive now.

  • DaCoachK

    Kennedy gets an “Atta-boy” for nailing Marilyn Monroe, but a “D” for his presidency. He is, however, infinitely better than ANY Democrat alive now.

  • m4253y

    “To elect an African American president, whether he’s qualified or not.”

    i believe you meant an ‘oreo cookie’ as african americans refer to his type as ‘not’ the real deal.

  • Texas Patriot

    BT: “In reality, Kennedy was not a liberal in today’s sense of the word, but a conservative Democrat, a Cold-War warrior and tax-cutter, as documented by Ira Stoll in JFK, Conservative.”

    IMO, John Kennedy was a great president, and his ideas for America as a New Frontier of education, health and physical fitness, science, innovation, and economic productivity are exactly what we need today.

  • Texas Patriot

    BT: “In reality, Kennedy was not a liberal in today’s sense of the word, but a conservative Democrat, a Cold-War warrior and tax-cutter, as documented by Ira Stoll in JFK, Conservative.”

    IMO, John Kennedy was a great president, and his ideas for America as a New Frontier of education, health and physical fitness, science, innovation, and economic productivity are exactly what we need today.

  • Gee

    Reality check – Kennedy could not pass a single bill without Johnson. His record was almost non-existent when he introduced any idea.

    Over 90% of the what was credited to Kennedy was actually accomplished by LBJ

  • Gee

    Reality check – Kennedy could not pass a single bill without Johnson. His record was almost non-existent when he introduced any idea.

    Over 90% of the what was credited to Kennedy was actually accomplished by LBJ

    • tagalog

      Including the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And yet LBJ is thought of as some sort of Neanderthal racist hill-country Texan redneck.

      • Gee

        Absolutely. LBJ could sell snow to an Eskimo and have them proclaim it the best they ever saw.

        Jack Kennedy could not sell ice water to an Arab in the Sahara

  • Gee

    Don’t forget slavery and segregation were also a Democrat ideals. And that Lincoln was a REPUBLICAN.

    The entire Civil Rights was championed by Republicans and the Democrats for the most part opposed it

  • Wolfthatknowsall

    You’re right, Gee. Most Klansmen were DEMs, also.

    Lincoln was a Republican … except in modern-day Illinois, in its capital of Springfield. There, a plaque memorializing him states, “Abraham Lincoln … Democrat.”

    Had Lincoln actually been a DEM, the Civil War would not have taken place, and slavery would have died of simple economics … who needs 100 slaves to work a field when two horses and a machine can do the same job?

  • Wolfthatknowsall

    I would certainly take Kennedy over the current occupant, and Mr. Thornton expresses the reality of “Camelot” far better than I could.

    However, most people overlook a far more tragic event that also took place on Nov. 22, 1963 … the death of C.S. Lewis. His death will be memorialized in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey, today.

  • Wolfthatknowsall

    I would certainly take Kennedy over the current occupant, and Mr. Thornton expresses the reality of “Camelot” far better than I could.

    However, most people overlook a far more tragic event that also took place on Nov. 22, 1963 … the death of C.S. Lewis. His death will be memorialized in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey, today.

    • Texas Patriot

      Aldous Huxley died the same day. Three great men. All very different, but all giants in their own way, and they all died on the same day, fifty years ago today. Strange.

      • Wolfthatknowsall

        That’s right. I completely forgot him.

  • Mo86

    What was said in this article that was factually incorrect? I wasn’t even born when Kennedy was killed, so enlighten me.

  • Texas Patriot

    Aldous Huxley died the same day. Three great men. All very different, but all giants in their own way, and they all died on the same day, fifty years ago today. Strange.

  • Wolfthatknowsall

    That’s right. I completely forgot him.

  • Tanks-a-lot

    Sirhan was not a muslim but an Arab ‘Christian’. Not really Christian considering the adulterated nature of Dhimmi life among muslims in the Levant, and his murderous act.
    Also crazy.

    just the facts.

  • Tanks-a-lot

    Don’t forget Hugo KKK Black

  • zoomie

    i read an interesting observation awhile back.
    when JFK was shot by a communist, liberals lost their hearts. when RFK was shot by an palistinian, liberals they lost their minds.

  • zoomie

    i read an interesting observation awhile back.
    when JFK was shot by a communist, liberals lost their hearts. when RFK was shot by an palistinian, liberals lost their minds.

  • DogmaelJones1

    JFK was a fascist. Any president or president-elect who asks Americans what “they can do for their country” is simply emulating what Hitler asked of Germans and Mussolini asked of Italians. “I’ll cut taxes and shake my fist at the Commies, but you have to follow me and live for the country, not for yourself.” Compared to current Democrats and Progressives, JFK looks squeaky clean, almost nostalgic. But he was still bad news. If he’d said in public that the government should get out of the economy and out of education, I’d cut him some slack. But, like his fellow Democrats, he just assumed that the government had a mission to run the economy and educate Americans.He was a statist, and a fascist to boot.

  • DogmaelJones1

    JFK was a fascist. Any president or president-elect who asks Americans what “they can do for their country” is simply emulating what Hitler asked of Germans and Mussolini asked of Italians. “I’ll cut taxes and shake my fist at the Commies, but you have to follow me and live for the country, not for yourself.” Compared to current Democrats and Progressives, JFK looks squeaky clean, almost nostalgic. But he was still bad news. If he’d said in public that the government should get out of the economy and out of education, I’d cut him some slack. But, like his fellow Democrats, he just assumed that the government had a mission to run the economy and educate Americans.He was a statist, and a fascist to boot.

    • zoomie

      nooo, but he fought against them. although, it took me awhile to think through, how does a PT Boat get cut in half by a cruiser ? after that it was pretty quick to realize the remarkable PR machine … his incompetetence was turned into making him some kind of hero because he, thankfully for the guys that he didn’t get killed, was a good swimmer. 15 years after WWII with a bear on the prowl, asking what you could do for your country wasn’t a really bad idea. We’ve seen lots worse since then. keep in mind, fwiw, the guy he ran against later instituted a wage price / freeze ( didn’t work too well ), affirmative action ( where’d the current resident at 1600 Pennsylvania come from ? ) and got the EPA going ( they’re really revving up these days. )

      If Men Were Angels, No Government Would Be Necessary. James Madison ( but you knew that already ) the rest of the paragraph is even better.

    • tagalog

      Don’t forget the Komsomol Peace Corps, touted as a great achievement by those who favor a Young Pioneer corps of the central government.

    • winstons

      Very well said…thanks.

  • Texas Patriot

    There is no question that Kennedy continued and accelerated Eisenhower’s policy of sending American military advisers into Vietnam. It is well known that the Harvard brain trust of geopolitical strategists, including Robert McNamara, wanted Kennedy jump into Vietnam with both feet to avoid the so-called “domino effect” of multiple nations falling to the Communist onslaught. Apparently, Douglas MacArthur advised Kennedy that we couldn’t win in Vietnam even with a million men on the ground because of the numerous and serpentine supply routes available to the N. Vietnamese.

    I have read that Kennedy secretly agreed with McArthur and had already decided to pull our troops out of Vietnam, but wanted to wait until after his reelection to avoid any political backlash. Unfortunately, because of events that happened fifty years ago today, he never got that chance.

    Obviously Kennedy should have taken the necessary action as soon as he knew what it was. As Davy Crockett said, “Be sure you’re right, and then go straight ahead.”

  • zoomie

    nooo, but he fought against them. although, it took me awhile to think through, how does a PT Boat get cut in half by a cruiser ? after that it was pretty quick to realize the remarkable PR machine … his incompetetence was turned into making him some kind of hero because he, thankfully for the guys that he didn’t get killed, was a good swimmer. 15 years after WWII with a bear on the prowl, asking what you could do for your country wasn’t a really bad idea. We’ve seen lots worse since then. keep in mind, fwiw, the guy he ran against later instituted a wage price / freeze ( didn’t work too well ), affirmative action ( where’d the current resident at 1600 Pennsylvania come from ? ) and got the EPA going ( they’re really revving up these days. )

    If Men Were Angels, No Government Would Be Necessary. James Madison ( but you knew that already ) the rest of the paragraph is even better.

  • CrossWinds

    To God, it did not matter a whit, whether Kennedy was Republican, or Democrat. Life’s greatest question for all of us. Is our name, in the Lambs Book of Life…….

    or the books of our dead works…….

    …….Revelation 20:12……..

    And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYRtmMxB5yw CrossWinds

    To God, it did not matter a whit, whether Kennedy was Republican, or Democrat. Life’s greatest question for all of us. Is our name, in the Lambs Book of Life…….

    or the books of our dead works…….

    …….Revelation 20:12……..

    And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

  • TheOrdinaryMan

    What’s your source for stating “Kennedy secretly agreed with McArthur…and had already decided to pull our troops out of Vietnam…?” I’ve never heard that, but I’d like to read it.

  • tagalog

    Thank you for pointing out the facts that JFK avoided the Civil Rights Movement as much as he could, both him and Bobby, and that JFK started the process that first got our boots sucked into the quagmire of Vietnam.

  • tagalog

    Thank you for pointing out the facts that JFK avoided the Civil Rights Movement as much as he could, both him and Bobby, and that JFK started the process that first got our boots sucked into the quagmire of Vietnam.

  • tagalog

    Don’t forget the Komsomol Peace Corps, touted as a great achievement by those who favor a Young Pioneer corps of the central government.

  • tagalog

    Including the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And yet LBJ is thought of as some sort of Neanderthal racist hill-country Texan redneck.

  • Texas Patriot

    Just things I’ve read over time. There’s an enormous amount of information on the subject of MacArthur’s advice to Kennedy not to get involved in Southeast Asia, and also about Kennedy’s view that we had no chance of winning anything there. But I have not been able to locate the specific piece I read regarding MacArthur’s comment that a million men would not be enough to ensure victory because of the logistical difficulty in cutting off the supply lines from N. Vietnam. Kennedy was a master politician, and he never really showed his hand unless he had to. The truth of what he actually would have done if re-elected may never be known.

  • physicsnut

    I just found this trash in the Washington Post today
    “Essay: Tea Party has roots in the Dallas of 1963″ by Bill Minutaglio

    QUOTE
    To find the very roots of the tea party of 2013, just go back to downtown Dallas in 1963, back to the months and weeks leading to the Kennedy assassination. It was where and when a deeply angry political polarization, driven by a band of zealots, burst wide open in America.

    It was fueled then, as now, by billionaires opposed to federal oversight, rabid media, Bible-thumping preachers and extremist lawmakers who had moved far from their political peers. In 1963, that strident minority hijacked the civic dialogue and brewed the boiling, toxic environment waiting for Kennedy the day he died.
    END QUOTE

    totally over the top.
    somebody ought to sue this creep back to the stone age.

  • physicsnut

    I just found this trash in the Washington Post today
    “Essay: Tea Party has roots in the Dallas of 1963″ by Bill Minutaglio

    QUOTE
    To find the very roots of the tea party of 2013, just go back to downtown Dallas in 1963, back to the months and weeks leading to the Kennedy assassination. It was where and when a deeply angry political polarization, driven by a band of zealots, burst wide open in America.

    It was fueled then, as now, by billionaires opposed to federal oversight, rabid media, Bible-thumping preachers and extremist lawmakers who had moved far from their political peers. In 1963, that strident minority hijacked the civic dialogue and brewed the boiling, toxic environment waiting for Kennedy the day he died.
    END QUOTE

    totally over the top.
    somebody ought to sue this creep back to the stone age.

  • TheOrdinaryMan

    Well, I’ll see if I can dig up MacArthur’s autobiography; its not an unbiased tome, certainly, but its all I’ve got. And I’ve read that JFK was going to expand US presence in Vietnam.

  • Elizabeth Cape Cod

    [i believe you meant an 'oreo cookie' as african americans refer to his type as 'not' the real deal.]

    I think they do if they’re liberals.

  • Gene

    “He was hawkish on confronting the Russians”, but
    not so hawkish that he did anything to stop the Berlin wall from going up (the
    Russians had issued orders to let the American tear it down if they came, but
    JFK did nothing). “He fomented rebellion in Cuba”, but chickened out
    when it came time to provide the support needed for it to be successful. If JFK
    had shown a little backbone with these two disasters in 1961, the Cuban Missile
    crisis of 1962 might never have happened. East Germany (and possibly Eastern
    Europe) and Cuba might not have had to suffer for decades under Communist
    oppression. But he gave great speeches.

  • Gene

    “He was hawkish on confronting the Russians”, but
    not so hawkish that he did anything to stop the Berlin wall from going up (the
    Russians had issued orders to let the American tear it down if they came, but
    JFK did nothing). “He fomented rebellion in Cuba”, but chickened out
    when it came time to provide the support needed for it to be successful. If JFK
    had shown a little backbone with these two disasters in 1961, the Cuban Missile
    crisis of 1962 might never have happened. East Germany (and possibly Eastern
    Europe) and Cuba might not have had to suffer for decades under Communist
    oppression. But he gave great speeches.

  • muchiboy

    “In reality, Kennedy was not a liberal in today’s sense of the word, but a conservative Democrat, a Cold-War warrior and tax-cutter, as documented by Ira Stoll in JFK, Conservative.”

    By any other name,Kennedy was a liberal.Now,say L.I.B.E.R.A.L. Good.See,you can say it without gagging. Now,say O.B.A.M.A…………

  • muchiboy

    “In reality, Kennedy was not a liberal in today’s sense of the word, but a conservative Democrat, a Cold-War warrior and tax-cutter, as documented by Ira Stoll in JFK, Conservative.”

    By any other name,Kennedy was a liberal.Now,say L.I.B.E.R.A.L. Good.See,you can say it without gagging. Now,say O.B.A.M.A…………

  • Gee

    Absolutely. LBJ could sell snow to an Eskimo and have them proclaim it the best they ever saw.

    Jack Kennedy could sell ice water to an Arab in the Sahara