Has the Journal Abandoned Its Low Standards for No Standards?
With the 50th anniversary of the death of President Kennedy there has been renewed interest in the man and his Presidency. Kennedy was the finest, most idealistic political leader of the post war era, even if his personal attributes were not all that admirable. He stood for an active government, a government involved in making people’s lives better not in making wealthy people wealthier.
But this cannot be allowed to stand for conservatives, and so the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal are featuring a short essay claiming, and yes we are not making this up, that JFK was a raging conservative and that it was only after his death that the liberal media machine recast him as a crusading progressive.
Fifty years after John F. Kennedy's assassination, a surprising fact has been rediscovered: In his time, he was not considered a liberal.
"Understanding Kennedy as a political conservative may make liberals uncomfortable, by crowning conservatism with the halo of Camelot," Ira Stoll writes in his new book, " JFK, Conservative." Yet "it could make conservatives uncomfortable, too—many of them have long viscerally despised the entire Kennedy family, especially John F. Kennedy's younger brother Ted."
Mr. Stoll makes a strong case that in 1960 "the anti-Communist, anti-big government candidate was John F. Kennedy. The one touting government programs and higher salaries for public employees was Richard Nixon, " he writes.
And what is the basis of this clearly bogus, phony and utterly ridiculous claim. Well there is this. See Kennedy’s top legislative agenda in 1962 was cutting tariffs, and then cutting taxes.
After making tariff reduction his top legislative goal for 1962, Kennedy announced that "the most urgent task confronting the Congress in 1963" was cutting marginal income-tax rates—not an antipoverty program or a civil rights law. "The soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now," he said. Liberal adviser John Kenneth Galbraith reported that Kennedy told him to "shut up about my opposition to tax cuts."
Now that may sound like a conservative agenda, but free trade (which was not his top legislative goal in 1962, this is simply made up history), with adequate protection for those members of the labor force who are, through no fault of their own displaced has always been a part of the liberal agenda. And no, the Kennedy tax cuts were not conservative supply side economics, they were designed to provide fiscal stimulus, they were the epitome of Keynesian economics, they were an attempt to deliberately create a budget deficit to spur the economy.
And Kennedy, like almost all progressives at the time was seriously anti-communist and pro-freedom. Conservatives of course took that philosophy and translated it into McCarthyism, a witch hunt against anyone who disagreed with them or who cited freedom of speech to justify their disagreements. Kennedy was pro-civil rights, while conservatives conveniently want to forget that the major obstacle to legislation protecting the rights of minorities to do basic things like vote, have equal and integrated education and to enter public facilities without the fear of racist rejection wall pure conservatism.
Kennedy took on big business when it tried to use its quasi monopoly power to push through its agenda. He championed a strong defense, but not a wasteful one. He started things like the Peace Corp and anti-poverty programs and was viciously attacked by conservatives.
In short, the Kennedy Presidency was nothing like modern conservatism, and it was the embodiment of progressive liberal policy, policy that has since proven to be 100% correct. Conservatives cannot stand that, and so rags like the WSJ must apparently try to remake history to support their own failed policies and positions. How dumb do they think we are? Well they probably think the public is as dumb as they are, an utter impossibility.