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Old 10-23-2013, 01:47 AM  
Taco John Taco John is offline
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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, 12:43 PM   #31
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Seems like the Kennedy family has not been conservative Democrats. They pretty much have been liberals and have not squabbled between themselves. Seems kind of stupid to think that JFK would not have agreed with liberal domestic policies.

I love how this article calls him a tax-cutter with no discussion about how high taxes were to support World War II, and how those tax rates were only incrementally reduced.

JFK was a practical thinker. He would very likely be in favor of seeking the best tax rates to help the government complete its functions and to grow the economy. he could just as likely be in favor of some tax increases as he would be in favor of cuts. It would depend on what the tax rates were, what the laws required the government to do, and what advice he got from economists that he considered expert on the issue.
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:45 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loneiguana View Post
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.
I asked the question. I don't have to answer it.

Any loopholes I brought up earlier were from the 1950's ---not the 60's. Yes, they did mean something then because few actually paid the higher rates you Progs love to quote as not harmful to the economy. Use the search to see the details. It's all there. Because I am NOT wasting time with a Prog who's sense of property is communistic repeating the same post over and over. It's obvious you can't learn.
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:57 PM   #33
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Hmmm...interesting, that this Forbes article says the same thing that Tom Woods said about higher marginal tax rates not really being paid by the wealthy due to available loopholes. Ya' know the guy that Loneiguana called a hack.<--some pot calling kettle right there.

But it was equally true, as well, for the 1960s per this:

http://www.forbes.com/2010/05/27/fin...-bartlett.html

Quote:
The problem of tax expenditures was first identified in the 1960s by Harvard law professor Stanley Surrey, who went to work for John F. Kennedy in 1961 as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for tax policy. At that time the top marginal income tax rate was 91%, meaning that reducing one’s taxable income by $1 saved 91 cents in taxes for those in the top bracket, while earning $1 of additional income netted them only 9 cents. For some people it was worth spending 90 cents to reduce their taxable income by $1, which gave rise to many wasteful tax shelters designed to produce nothing except tax deductions.

Quote:
Obviously, this not only encouraged rich people to mine the Tax Code aggressively for tax loopholes but also to pressure Congress to enact new ones. As a consequence, effective tax rates–those people actually paid in terms of taxes as a share of income–diverged sharply from statutory rates. In effect, the high statutory rates implied that the rich were being soaked, while the reality was that the actual tax rates that they paid were much lower.

There was a widespread perception that many rich people were paying little if any federal income taxes. A popular book during this era was The Great Treasury Raid by Philip M. Stern, who reported the following cases as well as many others: In 1959 five Americans were known to have incomes above $5 million (more than $37 million in today’s dollars) yet paid no income taxes. In 1961, 17 Americans were known to have had an income of $1 million or more ($7.5 million today) without paying any federal incomes taxes. And Mrs. Horace Dodge had her entire $56 million fortune invested in tax-exempt municipal bonds, which paid her an annual income of $1.5 million (more than $11 million today) that she wasn’t even required to report on her tax return.
LOL! at Loneiguana on loopholes not meaning anything but only the statutory rates.
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Old 10-23-2013, 01:01 PM   #34
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There's alot wrong with the OP, but it is sort of interesting. Certainly Nixon wasn't as conservative as many think, and JFK wasn't as liberal as many thing.

One thing I will say -- there doesn't seem to be room anywhere in either party for fiscal conservative / social liberal types. Paul Tsongas was definitely one of those, from Massachusetts, but there's a dying/dead breed.
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Old 10-23-2013, 01:04 PM   #35
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Tsongas was a corporatist.
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Old 10-23-2013, 01:13 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Chiefspants View Post
Could tax and spend liberal Ronald Reagan be elected as a Republican today?
Ronald Reagan presided over increased tax revenues and increased spending, but you've got an unorthodox way of using the term "tax and spend liberal".

1. He had to work with a democrat-controlled House of Representatives and he was willing to compromise in some areas in order to achieve his top priorities. Compromising with democrats generally means letting them spend money.

2. Reagan brought the top income tax rate down from 70% to 28%. He cut income tax rates.

The answer to your question is that yes, he could still be elected as a Republican because while he governed as a pragmatic conservative, he was able to communicate in a way that moved conservatives while still appealing to swing voters.
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Old 10-23-2013, 01:13 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
Was there a Republican ever in history more liberal than Massachusetts Mitt?
Yes, lots of them, including his father, George.
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Old 10-23-2013, 02:04 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Chiefspants View Post
Could tax and spend liberal Ronald Reagan be elected as a Republican today?
Not a chance. He'd be a moderate Democrat.
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Old 10-23-2013, 02:06 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiefspants View Post
Could tax and spend liberal Ronald Reagan be elected as a Republican today?
Today's Rs seem to favor a "spend but don't tax" approach. See: George W Bush
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Old 10-23-2013, 02:08 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
Ronald Reagan presided over increased tax revenues and increased spending, but you've got an unorthodox way of using the term "tax and spend liberal".

1. He had to work with a democrat-controlled House of Representatives and he was willing to compromise in some areas in order to achieve his top priorities. Compromising with democrats generally means letting them spend money.

2. Reagan brought the top income tax rate down from 70% to 28%. He cut income tax rates.

The answer to your question is that yes, he could still be elected as a Republican because while he governed as a pragmatic conservative, he was able to communicate in a way that moved conservatives while still appealing to swing voters.

Cut them, then RAISED them. A LOT.
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Old 10-23-2013, 02:36 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
Cut them, then RAISED them. A LOT.
No. Cut them and left office with them at the lowest point they've been during either of our lifetimes. I see that the liberal propaganda bubble has had some success.
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