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Old 10-23-2013, 01:47 AM  
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Could JFK get elected as a Democrat today?

Would Democrats Embrace a JFK Today?
Jeff Jacoby | Oct 20, 2013

As Democrats begin maneuvering for the 2016 presidential race, there isn't one who would think of disparaging John F. Kennedy's stature as a Democratic Party hero. Yet it's a pretty safe bet that none would dream of running on Kennedy's approach to government or embrace his political beliefs.

Today's Democratic Party — the home of Barack Obama, John Kerry, and Al Gore — wouldn't give the time of day to a candidate like JFK.

The 35th president was an ardent tax-cutter who championed across-the-board, top-to-bottom reductions in personal and corporate tax rates, slashed tariffs to promote free trade, and even spoke out against the "confiscatory" property taxes being levied in too many cities.

He was anything but a big-spending, welfare-state liberal. "I do not believe that Washington should do for the people what they can do for themselves through local and private effort," Kennedy bluntly asserted during the 1960 campaign. It was a message he memorably restated in his inaugural address: "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country." One of his first acts as president was to institute a pay cut for top White House staffers, and that was only the start of his budgetary austerity. "To the surprise of many of his appointees," longtime aide Ted Sorensen would later write, he "personally scrutinized every agency request with a cold eye and encouraged his budget director to say 'no.'"

On the other hand, he was a Cold War anticommunist who aggressively increased military spending. He faulted his Republican predecessor for tailoring the nation's military strategy to fit the budget, rather than the other way around. "We must refuse to accept a cheap, second-best defense," JFK said during his run for the White House. He made good on that pledge, pushing defense spending to 50 percent of federal expenditures and 9 percent of GDP, both far higher than today's levels. Speaking in Texas just hours before his death, he proudly took credit for building the US military into "a defense system second to none."

Since that terrible day in Dallas 50 years ago, popular mythology has turned Kennedy into a liberal hero. Some of that mythmaking, as journalist and historian Ira Stoll argues in a new book, JFK, Conservative, was driven by Kennedy aides, such as Sorensen and Arthur Schlesinger Jr., who had always wanted their boss to be more left-leaning than he was. Some of it was fueled by the Democratic Party's emotional connection to the memory of a martyred president, and its understandable desire to link their priorities to his legacy.

But Kennedy was no liberal. By any reasonable definition, he was a conservative — and not just by the standards of our era, but by those of his era as well.

Stoll draws on an embarrassment of riches to make his case.

When the young JFK launched his first political campaign for the US House in 1946, a profile in Look magazine homed in on his conservatism:

"When young, wealthy, and conservative John Fitzgerald Kennedy announced for Congress, many people wondered why," it began. "Hardly a liberal even by his own standards, Kennedy is mainly concerned by what appears to him as the coming struggle between collectivism and capitalism. In speech after speech he charges his audience 'to battle for the old ideas with the same enthusiasm that people have for new ideas.'"

He hadn't changed his political stripes by the time he ran for the Senate in 1952, challenging incumbent Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. Stoll notes that Massachusetts newspapers wanting to back a liberal in that race came out for the Republican — the Berkshire Eagle, for example, endorsed Lodge as "an invaluable voice for liberalism." When his re-election in 1958 made it clear that Kennedy would be running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Eleanor Roosevelt was asked in a TV interview whom she would support if forced to choose "between a conservative Democrat like Kennedy and a liberal Republican [like] Rockefeller." FDR's widow, then as now a progressive icon, answered that she would all she could to make sure Kennedy wouldn't be the party's nominee.

Many on the left felt that way about JFK. When he decided to resume nuclear testing in 1962, Bertrand Russell attacked him as "much more wicked than Hitler," and Linus Pauling, who would receive that year's Nobel Peace Prize, predicted that he would "go down in history as … one of the greatest enemies of the human race." Left-wing intellectuals raged against Kennedy's failed attempt to topple Fidel Castro (the renowned sociologist C. Wright Mills said the administration had "returned us to barbarism"). Liberals within the administration expressed dismay for Kennedy's unwavering support for cutting taxes. A dismayed Schlesinger called one of Kennedy's tax-cut exhortations "the worst speech the president had ever given."

Nearly 30 years ago, an essay in Mother Jones magazine asked: "Would JFK Be a Hero Now?" If the answer wasn't obvious then, it certainly is now. In today's political environment, a candidate like JFK — a conservative champion of economic growth, tax cuts, limited government, peace through strength — plainly would be a hero. Whether he would be a Democrat is a different matter altogether.

http://townhall.com/columnists/jeffj...today-n1728402
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:32 AM   #16
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:35 AM   #17
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It's a false dichotomy because of context. Times changed and Democrats today are of course nuttier than 1960 because society itself is nuttier.


So it's clear the JFK of today would be every bit the gay loving, pot approving, minority baiting, gun grabbing, tax raising, Army hating, healthcare messing, Green caring, abortion pushing turd Obama is.
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:36 AM   #18
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Anyone want to compare and contrast tax rates in 1960 vs today?

Context, pfffft.
Aw, come on man. Why do you have to rain on TJ's awesome political takes? He thought he actually made a point by posting this article.
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:36 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
Would Democrats Embrace a JFK Today?
Jeff Jacoby | Oct 20, 2013

http://townhall.com/columnists/jeffj...today-n1728402
I only skimmed this, but the tax issue isn't a real fair comparison. Today, the tax rates are as low as they have been in many, many decades.

But look at the tax rates then--especially the highest rates. There was a lot of room to cut. And cutting the top rates of 80% or whatever they were wasn't that big of a deal since no one really paid them due to deductions and whatnot.
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:46 AM   #20
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Anyone want to compare and contrast tax rates in 1960 vs today?

Context, pfffft.
Do we get to mention how many loopholes there were too?
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:54 AM   #21
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JFC! The man banged Norma Jean in the ass. Of course he could be elected today
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:48 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Prison Bitch View Post
It's a false dichotomy because of context. Times changed and Democrats today are of course nuttier than 1960 because society itself is nuttier.


So it's clear the JFK of today would be every bit the gay loving, pot approving, minority baiting, gun grabbing, tax raising, Army hating, healthcare messing, Green caring, abortion pushing turd Obama is.
Eh, not bad Bitch. Except the Army hating part...JFK's Cold War credentials and strong on defense posture are unquestioned.

It's like Cave Johnson said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cave Johnson View Post
Anyone want to compare and contrast tax rates in 1960 vs today?

Context, pfffft.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Aw, come on man. Why do you have to rain on TJ's awesome political takes? He thought he actually made a point by posting this article.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:51 AM   #23
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Do we get to mention how many loopholes there were too?
You always say this like it means anything, or like there were more loopholes back then, than now.

Please do tell, what loopholes have been closed that were taken advantage off back then that aren't taken advantage of now.

Also, please explain how there were more loopholes then than now.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:03 AM   #24
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Interesting question. But I don't think the democratic party is ready right now to elect someone that puts leading by doing the right thing ahead of doing what's best for their self interests.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:05 AM   #25
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Not against Hillary Clinton.
this should tell you all you need to know about the Dems

What difference does it make > Ask what you can do for your country
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:19 AM   #26
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Definitely not something a democrat would campaign on.
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:00 AM   #27
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Eh, not bad Bitch. Except the Army hating part...JFK's Cold War credentials and strong on defense posture are unquestioned.

You're right but that's what I am referring to: he'd be an army hater if he was around today. That's how batshit today's Democratic Party has become.
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:02 AM   #28
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:04 AM   #29
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You're right but that's what I am referring to: he'd be an army hater if he was around today. That's how batshit today's Democratic Party has become.
You're really off in your own little bubble world. Dems are army-haters? Where do you get this stuff?
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:14 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Prison Bitch View Post
It's a false dichotomy because of context. Times changed and Democrats today are of course nuttier than 1960 because society itself is nuttier.


So it's clear the JFK of today would be every bit the gay loving, pot approving, minority baiting, gun grabbing, tax raising, Army hating, healthcare messing, Green caring, abortion pushing turd Obama is.
I have to disagree. The guy stood firm in beliefs. So much so he got whacked.

He would be a Republican today.
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