Sunday, November 23, 2003

The Kennedy Cult. Been watching CNN all morning (God bless cable), and they’ve been all over the 40th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, which is understandable, but the liberal bias is all over this one. There’s nothing even approaching an objective analysis of Kennedy’s legacy, which I think is a mixed bag at best, and the chief witness is Robert Dallek, a thoroughly unimaginative liberal historian who has recently written a book claiming that, in his second term (which I think there is no guarantee he would have won) Kennedy woulf have made peace with Cuba, withdrawn from Vietnam, and ended the Cold War; which, of course, is quite obviously Messianic liberal balderdash. The fact that CNN seems to consider this raving partisan an objective voice on this question pretty much says it all. I think all in all, Kennedy’s record isn’t terrible. He did an excellent job on the Cuban missile crisis and took a tougher line on Russia than his predecessors (something his worshippers never bother to mention), but he punted the Bay of Pigs and basically coasted through most of the rest of his presidency. Nixon and Reagan’s records on foreign policy simply dwarf Kennedy’s, and the desperate attempts of the Kennedy worshippers to ascribe their achievements to Kennedy are just ludicrous. I think they also show a shocking inability to apportion blame for Vietnam as firmly on Kennedy as they do on Johnson, who they always despised for reasons of regional snobbery. Add to this the fact that Kennedy was a very sick man and probably physically unfit to be president, and the picture becomes decidedly less than luminous. Of course, the thing that no one wants to admit is that the main reason for Kennedy’s sustained legend and popularity is the trauma of his assassination, understandable, of course, but it shouldn’t, as it clearly has, get in the way of an objective assessment of his presidency.