Thursday, November 21, 2013

The New Republic: Michael Kazin: 'JFK's Assassination Made Governing Harder'

Source:The New Republic- John F. Kennedy (Democrat, Massachusetts) President of the United States (1961-63) 

Source:The New Democrat

"There are many reasons to wish John Kennedy had dodged those rifle shots in Dallas 50 years ago this week. One that’s rarely mentioned is how his martyrdom raised expectations for future presidents that are nearly impossible to meet. Liberals, who put so much faith in federal power, have been particularly reluctant to free themselves of that burden. 

Historians and journalists will probably argue forever about what JFK achieved and what he would have accomplished in the remainder of his first term and a probable second one. But most Americans seem to have no doubts. In a new Gallup poll of presidential approval rates, Kennedy scores higher, by far, than do any of his successors. Three-quarters of the public rank his time in the White House as “outstanding” or “above average.” Reagan places second in this retrospective competition, with a paltry 61 percent. JFK’s enduring appeal just confirms liberals’ admiration for what David Greenberg has called “his commitment to exercising his power to address social needs, his belief that government could harness expert knowledge to solve problems.”

I guess my main response to Michael Kazin would be: "It depends on what you mean by liberal and liberalism." His idea of what it means to be a Liberal and what liberalism is, is very different from John F. Kennedy's. He talks a lot about the federal state and federal power, as if that's what liberal ism is and what liberalism is based on: "What can the national government do for the people, if we just gave them the power and money .to do those things for us. 

In other publications like Dissent and TruthOut, Mr. Kazin seems to have no issues being associated with terms like leftist or social democrat, democratic socialist, or even socialist. But since he wrote this article for The New Republic, which thanks to Chris Hughes and company, they're now more of a social democratic publication (even if they are closeted Socialists) and they've given up their liberal tradition of arguing in favor of the individual and individual rights, I guess you are not allowed to use words like socialist over there, for fears of seeming like a radical, Even if you share the same values and beliefs of the Socialists. 

As far as John F. Kennedy, he was obviously not a leftist. It's hard to imagine a stronger, more effective, cold warrior and anti-Communist, than John F. Kennedy, especially as President. Perhaps Ronald Reagan, but certainly no one else from the Democratic Party.  

It's true like any true Progressive (not Socialist) that Jack Kennedy believed that government, including the Federal Government, could be a force for good in helping people in need get the tools that they need to live a better life and live in freedom like anyone else. But we're not talking about Eugene Debs, or Henry Wallace, Norman Thomas, David McReynolds, George McGovern, or any of the other great Democratic Socialists from the past, or Bernie Sanders or Liz Warren today. 

President Kennedy puts limits on what he believed government should try to do for people, as well as what he believed Americans would want government to do for them and be willing to pay for. Because as all American taxpayers know, there's nothing free about government. Which is something that every leftist, or center-left politician has to weight when talking about new government reforms and programs. How are these policies going to be paid for and what are taxpayers willing to pay to receive those services. These are things that Jack Kennedy understood very well.  

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