Friday, November 22, 2013

Can We Have An Honest Discussion About President John F. Kennedy?

Oh I know that a lot of people are going to hate what I am going to write. They will say how dare I write something like this on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. That I write ill of the dead.
So I will start from that.
I was not born until July 29, 1964. Thus I have no personal knowledge of the day whatsoever.
This day is as good as any other day since we have been subjected to glowing assessments of the Kennedy presidency. So why not?
And most important is that the truth waits for no one. And that is what this post is about. The truth of the 35th president of the United States.
Let's start with the fact that Mr. Kennedy came from one of the most corrupt families in American history, the Kennedys.
From the old man himself, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., who somehow became a business success using insider trading tactics and probably (although never proven but suspected) a bootlegger during the prohibition period. Oh, and he was the first chairman of the securities and exchange commission under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. And suddenly, he found Jesus and started to enact regulations that he used earlier to get rich. In other words, as FDR said, it takes a crook to catch a crook. No truer words were spoken. And is it not interesting how he got into the liquor business literally after the repeal of the Prohibition amendment to the United States constitution? Makes me wonder if he was not indeed a bootlegger during prohibition. And Daddy Kennedy was a huge anti-Semite. He all but opposed the United States entering World War II. And constantly had choice things to say about Jews. But hey, that was the old man, right?
Oh yeah, in polite company we can't bring up these terrible things about old man Kennedy.
But I will.
And now for the real John F. Kennedy. Not the one that you are reading and hearing and watching incessantly this week.
In the election of 1960, then Sen. Kennedy, the Democrat party nominee, defeated then Republican Vice-President Richard M. Nixon by a total of about 130,000 popular votes or 49.7% to 49.5%  and with 303 electoral votes. There has long been suspicsion that a large part of that total were due to the corrupt Democrat machine of then Chicago Mayor Richard Dailey and an equally corrupt Democrat machine in rural Texas thanks to the Vice-Presidential nominee, Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson. Many Republicans wanted Vice-President Nixon to contest the election due to at least perceived voting irregularities. But Vice-President Nixon did not do that because he did not want to put the nation through such an event. Mr. Nixon waited 12 years to inflict pain on the nation with the Watergate scandal. But that is for another day and time.
On domestic policy, one area in which President Kennedy deserves rightful credit is realizing that taxes were too high and revenues to the federal government too low. He was what amounted to the first supply-sider and he was correct. However, his was the first budget to top $100,000,000,000 and the first non-war, non-recession deficit. But because of the tax cuts, the economy did soar during much of his 1,000 days in office.
On civil rights, the record is kind of murky. When he had a chance to vote on the Civil Rights Act of 1957, he did some roundabout ways to avoid tricky votes that did not offend the segregationist Southern Democrats that he would need to carry that region. As president he pursued stronger policies that led to the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. But alas, he did not live to see that to fruition.
Which leads to the one thing that if it was what President Kennedy wanted, the Great Society, then he would have presided over the destruction of the American nuclear family, among many things.
The Great Society was a series of programs that centralized a slew of things under federal government control and funding. One aspect were programs that were supposed to end poverty in the United States and that added to the alphabet agencies that began under President Franklin Roosevelt. And there was the beginning of the increasing role of the federal government in higher education. Of course then the federal government began the road to socialized medicine with the beginning of Medicare and Medicaid.
Is this what President Kennedy really wanted? We will never know. We have to judge that on the results of programs passed by President Johnson.
On foreign policy, there President Kennedy was much better. But not perfect.
When he went along with President Eisenhower's plan to overthrow the Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, that was a good sign. But the infamous Bay of Pigs ended up being a fiasco and not only did Castro survive but thrived on a heaping slop of American hatred to the still impoverished people of Cuba. It can not all be blamed on President Kennedy. But he did nothing to improve the plan that might have rid the Cuban people of the dictator, Castro.
But speaking of Castro and Red Cuba, the Cuban Missile Crisis was the biggest test of the Kennedy administration. And in reality it turned out to be a wash. The missiles were removed from Red Cuba. But also the United States removed missiles from Italy and Turkey. The strong response of President Kennedy in a naval blockade of Red Cuba can not and should not be diminished because no doubt it eventually averted nuclear war and led to the then Soviet Union to remove the missiles from Red Cuba.
And it was President Kennedy that set the stage for the proxy showdown with the Soviet Union and to a lesser extent Red China in Southeast Asia. No, despite what many of today's liberals want to believe that President Kennedy did not want to get in too deep in Vietnam but the reality is that he wanted to make a stand against the forces of communism right there. And in that regard President Johnson was carrying out President Kennedy's anti-communist policies.
The reality about President Kennedy is that his term was short and really hard to judge with truthfulness. And he was not and is not any kind of secular saint. He was a man that had flaws. Flaws that I chose not to address in this post because that is not relevant to the story of the 35th president.
We have to look honestly at the Kennedy administration and that is what I tried to do here.
And one more thing that is very, very important.
President Kennedy was assassinated by one man. A communist named Lee Harvey Oswald. There is no and was no conspiracy. That again has been perpetrated by the left because they can not come to grips that a communist killed their heir to FDR. But that is what happened.
Again, this is a post about truth and some of it is uncomfortable. But that is not the point. I want this to be a post of honesty, not to demean. I hope that is what I did.

No comments: