"If today’s extremist rhetoric sounds familiar, that’s because it is eerily, poignantly similar to the vitriol aimed squarely at John F. Kennedy during his presidency. And just like today, Texans were leading what some of them saw as a moral crusade. To find the very roots of the paranoid right of 2013, just go back to downtown Dallas in 1963, back to the months before the Kennedy assassination. It was where and when a deeply angry . . .” (Bill Minutaglio, Washington Post, November 21).
As Americans pause to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, they should not overlook the other fateful assassination that took place that same month. On November 2, 1963, South Vietnam’s President Ngo Dinh Diem was murdered in Saigon in a coup carried out by a group of generals operating with the tacit approval of the U.S. government.
The Sunday after Kennedy was shot my dad and I drove downtown to Dealey Plaza. It was an apology of sorts since my parents had refused to let me skip school to see the presidential motorcade on November 22. We were standing on the grassy knoll between the Old Red Courthouse and the Triple Underpass when our neighbors from across the street—a man and his teenage son my age—walked up with a noose and began exhorting bystanders to go lynch Lee Harvey Oswald.
John Forbes Kerry is one of those upper-middle-class East Coast types of estimable lineage and impeccable credentials (St. Paul’s, Yale, U.S. Navy) whose tribal habits were the subject of the late sociologist E. Digby Baltzell (The Protestant -Establishment, Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia, etc.). Baltzell popularized the term WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant)—-although Kerry is Roman Catholic, not Protestant—and explored the historic WASP ascendancy in American business, education, cultural institutions, and government.
The 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy is nearly upon us, and it feels as if Camelot has returned like Brigadoon. Many a navel is currently being gazed upon in the media in an attempt to wring some contemporary meaning out of JFK’s tragic end. Some of this was inevitable—the shelves of The Weekly Standard’s book section are straining under the weight of the latest conspiracy tomes—but an unsettling amount of the commentary has amounted to taking an American tragedy and using it as an excuse for partisan jeremiads.
For a brief moment last week, The Scrapbook felt a twinge of compassion for President Obama. The setting was Berlin. Readers will remember the extraordinary (and extraordinarily peculiar) sight in 2008 of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama speaking to a throng of 200,000 worshipful Berliners in the Tiergarten. No American candidate had ever before campaigned in a foreign country—especially one where spectacles of mass enthusiasm revive instructive memories.
President Obama, speaking earlier today at conference on mental health at the White House:
"There are other people who are leading by example. My great friend, Patrick Kennedy, when he was running for reelection back in 2006, he could have avoided talking about his struggles with bipolar disorder and addiction. Let’s face it, he’s a Kennedy," said Obama.
It has become increasingly clear that the Obama-era Democrats view every major societal event as a new invitation to spend money, centralize power, or both. The horrendous shootings in Connecticut have the Democrats lobbying not only for new legislation, but new federal legislation — and hence more federal power — rather than entrusting the passage of any such legislation to the states. Meanwhile, the damage from Hurricane Sandy has the Democrats looking to do the only thing that they might enjoy even more than enacting cumbersome legislation — spending borrowed money.<
Did John F. Kennedy really write Profiles in Courage? It’s a question that has been on the table ever since Kennedy won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1957, and with the death of Theodore Sorensen—Kennedy’s able speechwriter—the issue of authorship has again surfaced. It’s an appropriate time to add new elements to an old story.
Might voters replace another New England Kennedy with a Republican? A new poll, commissioned by the National Republican Congressional Committee and conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, shows that Rhode Island’s First Congressional District is in play, with Republican state representative John Loughlin tied with Providence’s Democratic mayor David Cicilline at 41 percent.
You might have thought that Kennedy kitsch was not likely to proceed much further beyond The Best LovedPoems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, edited by Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg (2005), or that the gold standard had long ago been established with Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye:Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, edited by Kenneth O’Donnell (1972). But you would be wrong.
There’s a phrase that never crosses President Obama’s lips, even as he prepares to propose new tax cuts for small business. The phrase: permanent, across-the-board cuts in marginal tax rates for the wealthy.