Kennedy Non Grata

“Today’s GOP wouldn’t endorse Reagan!”

It’s an ofay little meme that’s been trotted out for the last couple of years by a bunch of liberals who might, on a good day, stick to trying to whiz on Reagan’s grave, with the aim of trying to undercut the “independent” vote going to conservatives as they did for Reagan. 

 

They note that Reagan passed legislation controlling guns, legalizing abortion and raising taxes.  The first was an error of judgment while governor of California for which he more than atoned later in his career; the latter two, errors involving trusting Democrats to hold up their ends of deals; in the case of the taxes, the “increases” were both results of Tip O’Neil’s perfidy and a small fraction of the cuts he’d implemented earlier in his administration; they happened at a time when the economy was humming along, rather than on life support; dumb, but not dumber. 

But the meme almost rises to the level of a Berg’s Seventh Law violation – because while Reagan would likely do just fine in today’s GOP (his strength was in building coalitions of diverse people toward common ends, something the GOP needs today even more than it did in 1980), the great Democrat hero, John F. Kennedy, would get run out of most Democrat meetings on a rail:

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 avowed during the 1960 campaign. 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.”

Read the whole thing.  And send it to your Democrat friends.

JFK, whatever his foibles and peccadilloes, would puke his guts out at the legacy of John Kerry, much less Barack Obama.

Comments welcome at Shot In The Dark.