JFK/50e: Le jour où le libéralisme est mort (How Obama drove the final nail into liberalism’s coffin)

obama_anthem1I shouted out, Who killed the kennedys?  When after all  It was you and me. The Rolling Stones (1968)
Il n’aura même pas eu la satisfaction d’être tué pour les droits civiques. Il a fallu que ce soit un imbécile de petit communiste. Cela prive même sa mort de toute signification. Jackie Kennedy
Le grand ennemi de la vérité n’est très souvent pas le mensonge – délibéré, artificiel et malhonnête – mais le mythe – persistant, persuasif et irréaliste. JFK
Mes concitoyens du monde: ne demandez pas ce que l’Amérique peut faire pour vous, mais ce qu’ensemble nous pouvons faire pour la liberté de l’homme. JFK
Qu’il soit dit, à nos amis comme à nos ennemis, que le flambeau est passé entre les mains d’une nouvelle génération d’Américains, nés dans le siècle présent, aguerris par les combats, disciplinés par une paix difficile et amère, fiers de leur héritage, qui refusent d’assister à la décomposition des droits de l’homme pour lesquels notre nation s’est toujours engagée, pour lesquels elle est engagée aujourd’hui encore chez nous et à l’étranger. Que chaque nation qui nous veut du bien ou qui nous veut du mal sache bien que nous paierons n’importe quel prix, que nous supporterons n’importe quel fardeau, que nous affronterons n’importe quelle épreuve, que nous soutiendrons n’importe quel ami et combattrons n’importe quel ennemi pour assurer la survie et le succès de la liberté. Nous nous y engageons. (…) Si une société libre ne peut pas aider tous ceux, et ils sont nombreux, qui vivent dans la pauvreté, elle ne pourra pas sauver la minorité des riches. (…) Ne négocions pas sous l’empire de la peur. Mais n’ayons jamais peur de négocier. (…) Tout ceci ne sera pas fini en 100 premiers jours. Ni dans les 1 000 premiers jours, ni dans la vie de cette administration, ni même peut-être dans notre vie sur cette planète. Mais nous laisser commencent. Dans des vos mains, mes concitoyens, plus que dans le mien, reposeront le succès ou l’échec final de notre cours. Depuis que ce pays a été fondé, chaque génération des Américains a été appelée pour donner le témoignage à sa fidélité nationale. Les tombes des jeunes Américains qui ont répondu à l’appel à la bordure de service le globe. Maintenant la trompette nous appelle again-not comme appel aux bras d’ours, bien que des bras que nous avons besoin ; pas comme appel à la bataille, bien que rompu aux conflits à nous être-mais à un appel pour soutenir le fardeau d’une longues lutte, année dedans et année crépusculaires dehors, « se réjouissant dans l’espoir, patient dans la tribulation » – une lutte contre les ennemis communs de l’homme : tyrannie, pauvreté, maladie, et guerre elle-même. Pouvons-nous forger contre ces ennemis une alliance grande et globale, du nord et les sud, l’est et l’ouest, qui peuvent assurer une vie plus fructueuse pour toute l’humanité ? Vous associerez-vous à cet effort historique ? Dans la longue histoire du monde, seulement on a accordé quelques générations le rôle de la liberté de défense en son heure du danger maximum. Je ne la rétrécis pas de cette bienvenue de responsabilité-Je. Je ne crois pas que l’un d’entre nous échangerait des endroits avec n’importe quelles autres personnes ou n’importe quelle autre génération. L’énergie, la foi, la dévotion que nous apportons à cet effort allumera notre pays et tous ce qui servent -et la lueur de ce feu peut vraiment allumer le monde. Et ainsi, mes chers concitoyens : ne demandez pas ce que votre pays peut faire vous, demandez ce que vous pouvez faire pour votre pays. Mes concitoyens du monde : demander pas ce que l’Amérique fera pour vous, mais ce qu’ensemble nous pouvons faire pour la liberté de l’homme. (…) Avec une bonne conscience pour seule récompense sûre, avec l’histoire juge final de nos actes, allons de l’avant à la tête de cette terre que nous aimons, demandant Sa bénédiction et Son aide, mais sachant qu’ici sur terrre, l’oeuvre de Dieu  doit vraiment être la nôtre. J.F. Kennedy (discours d’investiture, 20 janvier 1961)
Vérités paradoxales : les taux d’imposition sont trop élevés, et les revenus fiscaux sont trop bas, de sorte que le moyen le plus sûr d’accroître ceux-ci est d’abaisser ceux-là. Baisser les impôts maintenant ce n’est pas risquer un déficit du budget, c’est bâtir une économie la plus prospère et la plus dynamique, de nature à nous valoir un budget en excédent. John F. Kennedy, 20 novembre 1962, conférence de presse du Président
Des taux d’imposition abaissés stimuleront l’activité économique, et relèveront ainsi les niveaux de revenus des particuliers et des entreprises, de sorte que dans les prochaines années ils créeront un flux de recettes pour le gouvernement fédéral non pas diminué, mais augmenté. John F. Kennedy, 17 Janvier 1963, Message annuel au Congrès à l’occasion du vote du budget 1964.
Dans l’économie d’aujourd’hui, la prudence et la responsabilité en matière d’impôts commandent une réduction de la fiscalité, même si elle accroît le déficit budgétaire – parce qu’une moindre pression fiscale est le meilleur moyen qui nous soit offert pour accroître les revenus. John F. Kennedy (21 janvier 1963, message annuel au Congrès, rapport économique du président)
Chaque dollar soustrait à l’impôt, qui est dépensé ou investi, créera un nouvel emploi et un nouveau salaire. Et ces nouveaux emplois et salaires créeront d’autres emplois et d’autres salaires, et plus de clients, et plus de croissance pour une économie américaine en plein expansion. John F. Kennedy (13 août 1962, rapport radiodiffusé et télévisé sur l’état de l’économie nationale)
Une baisse des impôts signifie un revenu plus élevé pour les familles, et des profits plus importants pour les entreprises, et un budget fédéral en équilibre. Chaque contribuable et sa famille auront davantage d’argent disponible après impôt pour s’acheter une nouvelle voiture, une nouvelle maison, de nouveaux équipements, pour la formation et l’investissement. Chaque chef d’entreprise peut garder à sa disposition un pourcentage plus élevé de ses profits pour accroître ses fonds propres ou pour mettre en œuvre l’expansion ou l’amélioration de son affaire. Et quand le revenu national est en croissance, le gouvernement fédéral, en fin de compte, se retrouvera avec des recettes accrues. John F. Kennedy (18 septembre 1963, message à la nation radiodiffusé et télévisé sur un projet de loi de réduction des impôts)
Notre système fiscal aspire dans le secteur privé de l’économie une trop grande part du pouvoir d’achat des ménages et des entreprise, et réduit l’incitation au risque, à l’investissement et à l’effort – et par là-même il tue dans l’œuf nos recettes et étouffe notre taux de croissance national. John F. Kennedy (24 janvier 1963, message au Congrès sur la réforme fiscale)
L’essentiel de ses promesses, en un mot, Barack Obama les a tenues. Et, pour qu’il tienne l’autre moitié, il faut et il suffit de lui confier le second mandat dont il disait, dès le premier jour, qu’il en aurait besoin pour pleinement réussir dans son entreprise. Je ne regrette pas, pour ma part, d’avoir, dès 2004, soit quatre ans avant sa première élection, pressenti le prodigieux destin de celui que je baptisai aussitôt le « Kennedy noir ». Pas de raisons d’être déçu ! L’espoir est là. Plus que jamais là. Et le combat continue. BHL
Liberals like crises, and one shouldn’t spoil them by handing them another on a silver salver. The kind of crisis that is approaching . . . is probably not their favorite kind, an emergency that presents an opportunity to enlarge government, but one that will find liberalism at a crossroads, a turning point. (…) Liberalism can’t go on as it is, not for very long. It faces difficulties both philosophical and fiscal that will compel it either to go out of business or to become something quite different from what it has been. Charles Kesler
The modern Democratic Party, the party of Obama, is about permanent division and permanent opposition. (…) Despite seven Democratic presidencies since FDR, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Harvard still grieves, « The system is rigged! » (…)  How is it that this generation of Democrats, nearly 225 years after the Constitutional Convention, sees 21st century America at the precipice of tooth and claw? (…) The Obama Democrats are no longer the party of FDR, Truman, JFK or Clinton. All were combative partisans, but their view of the American system was fundamentally positive. The older Democratic Party grew out of the American labor experience of the early 20th century, which recognized its inevitable ties to the private sector. The systemically alienated Obama party more resembles the ancient anticapitalist syndicalist movements of continental Europe. In its 2008 primaries, the Democratic Party made a historic pivot. The center-left party of Bill and Hillary Clinton was overthrown by Barack Obama and the party’s « progressives, » the redesigned logo of the vestigial Democratic left. (…) While liberals owned the party apparatus, the left took control of its ideas. By 1990, liberal Harvard Law School was torn apart by a left-wing theory called critical legal studies, which condemned the American legal and economic system as . . . rigged. What binds Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Sandra Fluke and the rest of the Charlotte roster is the belief, learned early on, that their politics has made them a perpetual band of American outsiders. (…) This is a party whose agenda is avenging slights, wrongs and the systemic theft of « our democracy. » For all this injustice, someone must be made to pay. How far all this is from the America called for in Lincoln’s first inaugural: « We must not be enemies. » (…) An Obama victory wouldn’t be just a defeat of the GOP. It would be a defeat of the post-World War II Democratic Party. And they know it. The progressive left has wanted to push Democratic liberalism over the cliff for decades. This is their best shot to get it done. Daniel Henninger (Sep. 2012)
Did the bullets that killed JFK hit another target — liberalism itself? Unlike JFK, not killing liberalism instantly but inflicting something else infinitely more damaging than sudden death? Or, as Tyrrell puts it, inflicting “a slow, but steady decline of which the Liberals have been steadfastly oblivious.” (…) By 1968 — five years after the death of JFK and in the last of the five years of the Johnson presidency — the number of “self-identified” conservatives began to climb. Sharply. The Liberal dominance Lionel Trilling had written about had gone, never to this moment to return. Routinely now in poll after poll that Tyrrell cites — and there are plenty of others he doesn’t have room to cite — self-identified liberals hover at about 20% of the American body politic. Outnumbered more than two-to-one by conservatives, with moderates bringing up the remainder in the middle. What happened in those five years after JFK’s death? (…) The attitude toward Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson that was evidenced by Kennedy’s liberal leaning staff, by the Washington Georgetown set, by Washington journalists — slowly seeped into the sinews of liberalism itself. (…) Slowly this contempt for the American people spread to institutions that were not government, manifesting itself in a thousand different ways. It infected the media, academe and Hollywood, where stars identified with middle-America like John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Bob Hope and Lucille Ball were eclipsed in the spotlight by leftists like Warren Beatty and Jane Fonda. The arms-linked peaceful civil rights protests led by Christian ministers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr gave way to bombings and violent demonstrations against the Vietnam War led by snooty, well-educated white left-wing kids like Bill Ayers. The great American middle class — from which many of these educated kids had sprung — was trashed in precisely the fashion LBJ had been trashed. For accents, clothing styles, housing choices (suburbs and rural life were out) food, music, the love of guns, choice of cars, colleges, hair styles and more. Religion itself could not escape, Christianity to be mocked, made into a derisive laughingstock. The part of America between New York and California became known sneeringly as “flyover country. As time moved on, these attitudes hardened, taking on colors, colors derived from election night maps where red represented conservative, Republican or traditional candidates and blue became symbolic of homes to Liberalism. (…) Had John F. Kennedy been alive and well this week, celebrating his 95th birthday, one can only wonder whether liberalism would have survived with him. This is, after all, the president who said in cutting taxes that a “rising tide lifts all boats.” Becoming The favorite presidential example (along with Calvin Coolidge) of no less than Ronald Reagan on tax policy. This is, after all, the president who ran to the right of Richard Nixon in 1960 on issues of national security. In fact, many of those who voted for John F. Kennedy in 1960 would twenty years later vote for Ronald Reagan. One famous study of Macomb County, Michigan found 63% of Democrats in that unionized section of autoworker country voting for JFK in 1960. In 1980, same county, essentially the same Democrats — 66% voted for Reagan. The difference? Liberalism was dying. There is a term of political art for these millions of onetime JFK voters — a term used still today: Reagan Democrats. It is not too strong a statement to say that in point of political fact John F. Kennedy was the father of the Reagan Democrats. (…) Would he have sat silently as the liberal culture turned against the vast American middle and working blue collar class and its values, sending JFK voters into the arms of Republicans in seven out of twelve of the elections following his own? Would he have fought the subtle but distinct change of his famous inaugural challenge from “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” to what it has now become: “ask not what you can do for your country, ask what service your government can provide you?” We will never know. But there is every reason to believe, after all these decades, that, to use the title of JFK biographer William Manchester’s famous book, The Death of a President, brought another, quite unexpected death in its wake. The Death of Liberalism. Jeffrey Lord
To recall John F. Kennedy’s brief tenure as President is to be reminded of the distance that American liberalism has traveled since those days. His landmark domestic initiatives, passed with modest adjustments after his death, were a civil-rights bill and a major tax reduction to stimulate the economy. The civil-rights legislation is well known, but many have forgotten Kennedy’s across-the-board, 30-percent tax cut, with the highest rate falling from 91 percent to 65 percent—a measure that, two decades later, would inspire Ronald Reagan’s own tax-cutting agenda. Kennedy was, moreover, a sophisticated anti-Communist who understood the stakes at issue in the cold war. His inspiring inaugural address in 1961 was entirely about foreign policy and the challenge of Communism to freedom-loving peoples. As President, his most notable victory was achieved by confronting the Soviet Union over its missiles in Cuba and by forcing their removal. And he was nothing if not forthright in declaring America’s universal aims. “Let every nation know,” he famously announced in his inaugural address, “whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty.” America, he said in a speech to the Massachusetts legislature a week before he took office, was “a city upon a hill,” an example and a model for the entire world. Though now remembered for his liberal idealism, Kennedy was, in short, a representative instead of the era’s pragmatic liberalism: an advocate of practical reform at home and American strength abroad. With his bold rhetoric and confidence in problem-solving, he was in many ways the personification of an earlier era’s liberal hopes. Both in substance and in approach, he seemed to express the central principle of the reform tradition—namely, that progress was to be achieved not by the quixotic pursuit of ideals but by the application of rationality and knowledge to the problems of public life. Kennedy himself often spoke in these terms, pointing to ignorance and extremism as the twin enemies to be overcome. (…) Hence, when the word spread on November 22 that President Kennedy had been shot, the immediate and understandable reaction was that the assassin must be a right-wing extremist—an anti-Communist, perhaps, or a white supremacist. Such speculation went out immediately over the national airwaves, and it seemed to make perfect sense, echoed by the likes of John Kenneth Galbraith and Chief Justice Earl Warren, who said that Kennedy had been martyred “as a result of the hatred and bitterness that has been injected into the life of our nation by bigots.” It therefore came as a shock when the police announced later the same day that a Communist had been arrested for the murder, and when the television networks began to run tapes taken a few months earlier showing the suspected assassin passing out leaflets in New Orleans in support of Fidel Castro. Nor was Lee Harvey Oswald just any leftist, playing games with radical ideas in order to shock friends and relatives. Instead, he was a dyed-in-the-wool Communist who had defected to the Soviet Union and married a Russian woman before returning to the U.S. the previous year. One of the first of an evolving breed, Oswald had lately rejected the Soviet Union in favor of third-world dictators like Mao, Ho, and Castro. (…)  From this perspective, it should not have been so jarring to learn that he was a casualty of the cold war. (…) Yet the Warren report was vigorously attacked soon after it appeared, and has been the subject of controversy ever since. (…) What, then, explains the resilience of such fanciful and conspiratorial thinking? Part of the answer surely lies in the enduring need of the Left to circumvent the most inconvenient fact about President Kennedy’s assassination—that he was killed by a Communist and probably for reasons related to left-wing ideology. If the case against Oswald can be clouded or denied, it opens up the possibility that Kennedy was killed by a more familiar villain, one of the many malignant forces on the Right. Yet the record suggests that the decisive and overriding factor behind Oswald’s various actions was ideology. The assassination of President Kennedy was hardly an isolated incident in his political odyssey from the Marine Corps to the Soviet Union and back to the United States. In the months leading up to the assassination, Oswald had tried to kill the ultra-conservative retired Army General Edwin A. Walker (his shot missed) with the same rifle that he later used to shoot President Kennedy; initiated an altercation with anti-Castro figures in New Orleans that led to his arrest; and visited the Cuban embassy in Mexico City where, while seeking permission to travel to Cuba, he issued a threat against the life of the President. Edward Jay Epstein (in Legend, 1978) and Jean Davison (in Oswald’s Game, 1983) suggest that Oswald shot President Kennedy in retaliation for the administration’s schemes to eliminate Castro. There is much about Oswald and the assassination that can now never be known for certain. Of one thing, however, there can be little doubt: there would never have been any serious talk about a conspiracy if President Kennedy had been shot by a right-wing figure whose guilt was established by the same evidence as condemned Oswald. Such an event would have been readily understood in terms of then prevailing assumptions about the dangers from the Right. Kennedy’s assassin, however, bolted onto the historical stage in violation of a script that many people had assimilated as the truth about America. Instead of adjusting their thinking accordingly, they strove to account for the discordance by taking refuge in conspiracy theories. (…) This idea, too—that the nation as a whole was finally to blame for the assassination—came to be repeated widely and incorporated into the public’s understanding of the event. Liberals in particular tended to see Kennedy’s death in this light, that is, as an outgrowth of a violent or extremist streak in the nation’s culture. (…) Something strangely similar to this act of mental contortion would occur five years later in response to the assassination in Los Angeles of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Once again, many pointed to a national culture of violence and extremism as the ultimate cause of the killing. Jacqueline Kennedy herself, according to several biographers, was sufficiently shocked by this second assassination in her family that she resolved to live abroad with her children. Yet Senator Kennedy was killed by a Palestinian Arab, Sirhan Sirhan, who had resolved to act when he heard Kennedy express support for Israel while campaigning for the presidency in California. Sirhan represented more the hatreds of the world from which he had emigrated than any impulse in American culture. (…) In projecting their own hopes on to Kennedy, liberals like Schlesinger and cultural radicals like Mailer were redefining liberalism more in terms of a posture than in terms of a coherent body of ideas about government and politics. This, too, would have consequences. Because Kennedy embodied sophistication, he was seen after his death as more “authentic” than such otherwise authentically liberal figures as Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey, who labored for legislative victories but were otherwise hopelessly old-fashioned. In appearing to stand above and apart from the conventions of middle-class life, he was seen as having opened up possibilities for a different kind of politics, sparking impulses that would eventually be absorbed into the mainstream of liberal thought. Within a few years of Kennedy’s death, liberals had come to be more preoccupied with cultural issues—feminism, sexual freedom, gay rights—than with the traditional concerns that had animated Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy himself. Kennedy’s had been a unique balancing act, combining ardent patriotism with hip sophistication in a mix that could appeal both to traditional Americans and to the new cultural activists. After his death, these two groups divided into conflicting camps, thereby establishing the terms for the long-running culture war that continues today. As much as anything else, the immersion in cultural politics in the years following the assassination may have helped bring about the end of the liberal era. Kennedy’s assassination heralded a break with the American past and a corresponding rupture in the evolving world of liberal ideas. Far from spurring the liberal tradition forward, as some today still suggest, it played a significant role in its disintegration. In the years and decades that followed, nearly all of the tendencies of the far Right that had so unnerved the liberals of the 1950’s—the fascination with conspiracies, the use of overheated and abusive rhetoric to characterize political adversaries, expressions of hatred for the United States and its national culture—moved across the political spectrum to the far and then the near Left. For many American liberals, the shock of Kennedy’s death compromised their faith in the nation itself. Against all evidence, they concluded that a violent strain in our national culture was somehow to blame. A confident, practical, and forward-looking philosophy with a heritage of accomplishment was thus turned into a doctrine of pessimism and self-blame, with a decidedly dark view of American society. Such assumptions, far from marking a temporary adjustment to the events of the 1960’s, have proved remarkably durable. James Piereson

Qui se souvient aujourd’hui qu’Oswald était en fait un communiste qui voulait faire payer à JFK la tentative d’assassinat de Castro ?

Que Sirhan Sirhan était un Palestinien voulant faire payer à son frère son soutien à Israël ?

Que le « père des Reagan democrats » était à droite de Nixon pour la politique étrangère mais plutôt en économie un pragmatique à la Clinton ?

Au lendemain d’un second discours d’investiture où, derrière les flonflons oratoires (et un véritable festival de distorsions des textes fondateurs tant bibliques que constitutionnels du pays de sa mère) qui ont à nouveau tant réjoui nos beaux esprits et nos belles âmes, un prétendu « Kennedy noir » a montré son vrai visage d’implacable doctrinaire …

En ce cinquantenaire de sa disparition prématurée …

 Et, à l’instar comme le montre la fortune continuée des théories du complot à la Oliver Stone de son incapacité à reconnaitre la réalité de son assassinat par un extrémiste de gauche, histoire de mesurer l’incroyable dérive de l’actuel parti démocrate …

Pendant qu’en France on n’a toujours pas pris la mesure des dérives des amis de nos propres porteurs de valises …

Retour avec deux articles de Commentary et de l’American Spectator (merci james) …

Sur le président qui en quelques courtes années avait incarné l’image d’un parti à la fois généreux et moderne (et le beau nom, perdu en français qui l’avait pourtant inventé, de « libéralisme« ) …

Mais aussi lancé, via les médias et ses successeurs dont le prétendu Kennedy noir actuel, une addiction au cool et une arrogance doctrinaire face au peuple qui finiraient par se révéler fatales …

Lee Harvey Oswald and the Liberal Crack-Up

James Piereson

Commentary

May 2006

Liberalism entered the 1960’s as the vital force in American politics, riding a wave of accomplishment running from the Progressive era through the New Deal and beyond. A handsome young president, John F. Kennedy, had just been elected on the promise to extend the unfinished agenda of reform. Liberalism owned the future, as Orwell might have said. Yet by the end of the decade, liberal doctrine was in disarray, with some of its central assumptions broken by the experience of the immediately preceding years. It has yet to recover.

What happened? There is, of course, a litany of standard answers, from the political to the cultural to the psychological, each seeking to explain the great upheaval summed up in that all-purpose phrase, “the 60’s.” To some, the relevant factor was a long overdue reaction to the repressions and pieties of 1950’s conformism. To others, the watershed event was the escalating war in Vietnam, sparking an opposition movement that itself escalated into widespread disaffection from received political ideas and indeed from larger American purposes. Still others have pointed to the simmering racial tensions that would burst into the open in riots and looting, calling into question underlying assumptions about the course of integration if not the very possibility of social harmony.

No doubt, the combination of these and other events had much to do with driving the nation’s political culture to the Left in the latter half of the decade. But there can be no doubt, either, that an event from the early 1960’s—namely, the assassination of Kennedy himself—contributed heavily. As many observers have noted, Kennedy’s death seemed somehow to give new energy to the more extreme impulses of the Left, as not only left-wing ideas but revolutionary leftist leaders—Marx, Lenin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, and Castro among them—came in the aftermath to enjoy a greater vogue in the United States than at any other time in our history. By 1968, student radicals were taking over campuses and joining protest demonstrations in support of a host of extreme causes.

It is one of the ironies of the era that many young people who in 1963 reacted with profound grief to Kennedy’s death would, just a few years later, come to champion a version of the left-wing doctrines that had motivated his assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. But why should this have been so? What was it about mid-century liberalism that allowed it to be knocked so badly off balance by a single blow?

_____________

To recall John F. Kennedy’s brief tenure as President is to be reminded of the distance that American liberalism has traveled since those days. His landmark domestic initiatives, passed with modest adjustments after his death, were a civil-rights bill and a major tax reduction to stimulate the economy. The civil-rights legislation is well known, but many have forgotten Kennedy’s across-the-board, 30-percent tax cut, with the highest rate falling from 91 percent to 65 percent—a measure that, two decades later, would inspire Ronald Reagan’s own tax-cutting agenda.

Kennedy was, moreover, a sophisticated anti-Communist who understood the stakes at issue in the cold war. His inspiring inaugural address in 1961 was entirely about foreign policy and the challenge of Communism to freedom-loving peoples. As President, his most notable victory was achieved by confronting the Soviet Union over its missiles in Cuba and by forcing their removal. And he was nothing if not forthright in declaring America’s universal aims. “Let every nation know,” he famously announced in his inaugural address, “whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty.” America, he said in a speech to the Massachusetts legislature a week before he took office, was “a city upon a hill,” an example and a model for the entire world.

Though now remembered for his liberal idealism, Kennedy was, in short, a representative instead of the era’s pragmatic liberalism: an advocate of practical reform at home and American strength abroad. With his bold rhetoric and confidence in problem-solving, he was in many ways the personification of an earlier era’s liberal hopes. Both in substance and in approach, he seemed to express the central principle of the reform tradition—namely, that progress was to be achieved not by the quixotic pursuit of ideals but by the application of rationality and knowledge to the problems of public life. Kennedy himself often spoke in these terms, pointing to ignorance and extremism as the twin enemies to be overcome.

None of this was an accident of the moment; it had been building for a long time. During the 1950’s, thoughtful liberals had come to understand that they were no longer outsiders in American life; to the contrary, they had become the political establishment. Already in power for two extraordinarily eventful decades, they could take credit for the domestic experiments of the New Deal, the victory over fascism, and the creation of the post-war international order. By virtue of these achievements, liberalism had emerged as the nation’s public philosophy.

Though a doctrine of reform and progress, liberalism had thus begun to absorb some of the intellectual characteristics of conservatism: a due regard for tradition and continuity, a sense that progress must be built on the solid achievements of the past. More strikingly, liberals had come to see their most vocal domestic opponents as radicals—individuals and movements bent on undoing the established order. This challenge to the liberal establishment came not from the radical Left, however, but from the Right, in the form of anti-Communism, Christian fundamentalism, and racial and religious bigotry.

Adlai Stevenson, a favorite of liberals of the era, described during his 1952 presidential campaign the paradoxical situation that liberals now occupied:

The strange alchemy of time has somehow converted the Democrats into the truly conservative party in the country—the party dedicated to conserving all that is best and building solidly and safely on these foundations. The Republicans, by contrast, are behaving like the radical party—the party of the reckless and embittered, bent on dismantling institutions which have been built solidly into our social fabric.

_____________

The liberal movement was fortunate to have had during this time a group of formidable intellectual spokesmen, figures like Richard Hofstadter, Daniel Bell, Lionel Trilling, and David Riesman. Their persistent focus was on the dangers to the nation, as they saw them, arising from the American Right. In contrast to their Progressive and New Deal predecessors, who had thought mainly in terms of change, reform, and new policy, these writers thought more in terms of consolidating earlier gains, defending them against fresh challenges, and reconciling them with the broad tradition of American democracy.

In their view, the complaints of the Right derived not from groups in possession of competing status and authority but from those who felt weak and dispossessed by modern life. Bell referred to this collection of forces as the “radical Right,” a term he employed in the title of an influential book of essays that he edited on the subject in 1962. Hofstadter preferred the term “pseudo-conservative,” which he borrowed from Theodor Adorno, the German sociologist, to describe those “who employ the rhetoric of conservatism, [but] show signs of a serious and restless dissatisfaction with American life, traditions, and institutions. They have little in common with the temperate and compromising spirit of true conservatism in the classical sense of the word.”

These scholars saw the McCarthyites and religious fundamentalists of the 1950’s as only the most up-to-date expression of an enduring extremist impulse that had earlier produced the “Know-Nothings” in the 1850’s, the populists in the 1890’s, and the followers of Father Charles Coughlin or Huey Long in the 1930’s. Such movements, while arising out of different conditions, had certain features in common—in particular, the conviction that their people had been “sold out” by a conspiracy of Wall Street financiers, traitors in the government, or some other sinister group. As Bell put it in an essay in The Radical Right, “The theme of conspiracy haunts the mind of the radical rightist.”

This same thought was developed most memorably in Hofstadter’s 1964 book, The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Hofstadter was impressed not simply by the wilder statements emanating from the radical Right—for example, the claim by Joseph Welch of the John Birch Society that President Eisenhower was a Communist—but by a mode of argumentation that seemed to begin with feelings of persecution and conclude with a recital of grandiose plots against the nation and its way of life. Communist infiltration was, of course, a favored theme, but Hofstadter also cited paranoid fears about fluoride in the drinking water, efforts to control the sale of guns, federal aid to education, and other (usually) liberal initiatives of government. Important events, from this perspective, never happened through coincidence, circumstance, or the unfolding of complex processes; they were invariably the work of some unseen but all-powerful malevolent force.

_____________

In the months leading up to Kennedy’s assassination, violent acts committed by representatives of the radical Right did indeed seem to be escalating. In June 1963, the civil-rights leader Medgar Evers was shot and killed outside his home in Jackson, Mississippi. In September, a bomb was detonated at a black church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young girls. The Ku Klux Klan was linked to both crimes. In October, Adlai Stevenson, then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, ventured to Dallas for a speech to commemorate “UN Day” and was met by demonstrators proclaiming “United States Day.” Heckled during his remarks, Stevenson was jostled and spat upon by protesters as he tried to depart and finally was struck over the head with a cardboard placard as he made his way to his car.

Seeming to fit into a pattern of right-wing violence, these events were easily absorbed into the explanatory structure of liberal thought. The melee in Dallas, meanwhile, gave Kennedy aides pause about the President’s planned trip to that city. Dallas, they feared, was a hotbed of the far Right and a dangerous place to visit.

Hence, when the word spread on November 22 that President Kennedy had been shot, the immediate and understandable reaction was that the assassin must be a right-wing extremist—an anti-Communist, perhaps, or a white supremacist. Such speculation went out immediately over the national airwaves, and it seemed to make perfect sense, echoed by the likes of John Kenneth Galbraith and Chief Justice Earl Warren, who said that Kennedy had been martyred “as a result of the hatred and bitterness that has been injected into the life of our nation by bigots.”

It therefore came as a shock when the police announced later the same day that a Communist had been arrested for the murder, and when the television networks began to run tapes taken a few months earlier showing the suspected assassin passing out leaflets in New Orleans in support of Fidel Castro. Nor was Lee Harvey Oswald just any leftist, playing games with radical ideas in order to shock friends and relatives. Instead, he was a dyed-in-the-wool Communist who had defected to the Soviet Union and married a Russian woman before returning to the U.S. the previous year. One of the first of an evolving breed, Oswald had lately rejected the Soviet Union in favor of third-world dictators like Mao, Ho, and Castro.

Informed later that evening of Oswald’s arrest, Mrs. Kennedy lamented bitterly that her husband had apparently been shot by this warped and misguided Communist. To have been killed by such a person, she felt, would rob his death of all meaning. Far better, she said, if, like Lincoln, he had been martyred for civil rights and racial justice.

Given her husband’s politics, Mrs. Kennedy’s comment might seem curious. For one thing, he had staked his presidency on mounting an aggressive challenge to Communism; for another, during his brief term in office the cold war had reached its most dangerous point in his confrontation with the Soviet Union over Cuba. From this perspective, it should not have been so jarring to learn that he was a casualty of the cold war. More significantly, however, the remark suggests that Mrs. Kennedy was already thinking about how President Kennedy’s legacy should be framed, and was sensing that the identity of the assassin might prove inconvenient in this regard.

_____________

Oswald was arrested, and later charged with the assassination, on the basis of solid evidence—all of it laid out in the Warren Commission report made public ten months later and, since then, in numerous television documentaries and in books like Gerald Posner’s Case Closed (1993).

Yet the Warren report was vigorously attacked soon after it appeared, and has been the subject of controversy ever since. There is little point in rehearsing the many criticisms of the commission’s work, nearly all of which question the conclusion that a single gunman was responsible for the assassination. These criticisms have been exhaustively answered in Posner’s book and in two comprehensive articles in COMMENTARY by Jacob Cohen.

1 Even Norman Mailer, in his own exhaustive study (Oswald’s Tale, 1995), concluded that Oswald was the probable assassin. Moreover, as Posner and Cohen point out, whatever difficulties attend the Warren report, they pale in comparison to those confronting the various conspiracy theories that have been offered as alternatives to the much-maligned “single bullet” theory of the Warren Commission.

What, then, explains the resilience of such fanciful and conspiratorial thinking? Part of the answer surely lies in the enduring need of the Left to circumvent the most inconvenient fact about President Kennedy’s assassination—that he was killed by a Communist and probably for reasons related to left-wing ideology. If the case against Oswald can be clouded or denied, it opens up the possibility that Kennedy was killed by a more familiar villain, one of the many malignant forces on the Right.

Thus, in JFK (1991), the filmmaker Oliver Stone, like his hero the New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, suggests that the assassination was engineered by governmental figures connected to the FBI or CIA. Some have insinuated that Lyndon Johnson was involved in the plot. Others have argued that Kennedy was the victim of a “hit” by organized crime in retaliation for his administration’s zealous prosecution of mob figures. All of these theorists have much in common with the archetypes of Hofstadter’s “paranoid style”: they begin their investigations with presumptions of conspiracy, and then arrange their facts to justify a pre-determined conclusion.

True, they are also responding to a key weakness in the Warren report, which, though taking full note of Oswald’s Communist sympathies and activities, played them down as motivations for killing President Kennedy. Oswald, the commission said, was driven by several factors, including a psychological “hostility to his environment,” failure to establish meaningful relationships with others, difficulties with his wife, perpetual discontent with the world around him, hatred of American society, a search for recognition and a wish to play a role in history, and, finally, his commitment to Marxism and Communism. This farrago of causes implies that Oswald was more a confused loner than a motivated ideologue. In the years and decades following the assassination, the American people would increasingly view the assassin in such terms.

Yet the record suggests that the decisive and overriding factor behind Oswald’s various actions was ideology. The assassination of President Kennedy was hardly an isolated incident in his political odyssey from the Marine Corps to the Soviet Union and back to the United States. In the months leading up to the assassination, Oswald had tried to kill the ultra-conservative retired Army General Edwin A. Walker (his shot missed) with the same rifle that he later used to shoot President Kennedy; initiated an altercation with anti-Castro figures in New Orleans that led to his arrest; and visited the Cuban embassy in Mexico City where, while seeking permission to travel to Cuba, he issued a threat against the life of the President. Edward Jay Epstein (in Legend, 1978) and Jean Davison (in Oswald’s Game, 1983) suggest that Oswald shot President Kennedy in retaliation for the administration’s schemes to eliminate Castro.

There is much about Oswald and the assassination that can now never be known for certain. Of one thing, however, there can be little doubt: there would never have been any serious talk about a conspiracy if President Kennedy had been shot by a right-wing figure whose guilt was established by the same evidence as condemned Oswald. Such an event would have been readily understood in terms of then prevailing assumptions about the dangers from the Right. Kennedy’s assassin, however, bolted onto the historical stage in violation of a script that many people had assimilated as the truth about America. Instead of adjusting their thinking accordingly, they strove to account for the discordance by taking refuge in conspiracy theories.

_____________

There was also another avenue of escape from the contradiction posed by the assassination. If one had to accept the fact that Oswald committed the deadly act, it was still possible to identify some broader cause that did not necessarily involve a conspiracy. Once again, Mrs. Kennedy instinctively hinted at such a cause in the grief-filled hours following the assassination. Jim Bishop (in The Day Kennedy Was Shot, 1972) reports that aboard Air Force One en route back to Washington, various people, including Lady Bird Johnson, had urged her to change out of the blood-spattered clothes she was still wearing. “No,” she replied more than once, “I want them to see what they have done.”

Who were “they”? The New York Times columnist James Reston supplied an answer of sorts in an article that appeared the next day under the title, “Why America Weeps: Kennedy Victim of Violent Streak He Sought to Curb in Nation.” Reston wrote:

America wept tonight, not alone for its dead young President, but for itself. The grief was general, for somehow the worst in the nation had prevailed over the best. The indictment extended beyond the assassin, for something in the nation itself, some strain of madness and violence, had destroyed the highest symbol of law and order.

The nation itself, Reston implied, was ultimately responsible for Oswald’s murderous act.

Returning to this theme two days later in an article suggestively titled “A Portion of Guilt for All,” Reston asserted that there was “a rebellion in the land against law and good faith, and . . . private anger and sorrow are not enough to redeem the events of the last few days.” He went on to cite a sermon delivered on November 24 by a Washington clergyman who, linking President Kennedy with Jesus, told his congregation that “We have been present at a new crucifixion. All of us had a part in the slaying of the President.”

This idea, too—that the nation as a whole was finally to blame for the assassination—came to be repeated widely and incorporated into the public’s understanding of the event. Liberals in particular tended to see Kennedy’s death in this light, that is, as an outgrowth of a violent or extremist streak in the nation’s culture. Yet doing so required its own species of doublethink, for the fact is that Oswald was not in any way a representative figure. He played no role in any domestic extremist movement. His radicalism was wholly un-American and anti-American. Even as a Communist or radical, he was sui generis. There was nothing about Oswald that even remotely reflected any broader pattern in American life.

Something strangely similar to this act of mental contortion would occur five years later in response to the assassination in Los Angeles of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Once again, many pointed to a national culture of violence and extremism as the ultimate cause of the killing. Jacqueline Kennedy herself, according to several biographers, was sufficiently shocked by this second assassination in her family that she resolved to live abroad with her children. Yet Senator Kennedy was killed by a Palestinian Arab, Sirhan Sirhan, who had resolved to act when he heard Kennedy express support for Israel while campaigning for the presidency in California. Sirhan represented more the hatreds of the world from which he had emigrated than any impulse in American culture.

_____________

Still another curiosity in the wake of the assassination was the transformation of the image of Kennedy himself. Though very much a characteristic liberal of his day, as we have seen, he came to be portrayed as a liberal hero of a very different sort—a leader who might have led the nation into a new age of peace, love, and understanding. Such a portrayal was encouraged by tributes and memorials inspired by friends and members of the Kennedy family as well as by the numerous books published after the assassination, particularly those by the presidential aides Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (A Thousand Days, 1965) and Theodore Sorensen (Kennedy, 1965).

The most potent element of this image-making was, of course, the now inescapable association of Kennedy with the legend of King Arthur and Camelot. This was the invention of Jacqueline Kennedy, who a week after her husband’s death pressed the idea upon the journalist Theodore H. White in the course of an interview that would serve as the basis for an article by him in Life magazine. White later regretted the role he had played in transmitting this romantic image to the public. “Quite inadvertently,” he wrote in his memoir, In Search of History (1978), “I was her instrument in labeling the myth.”

White’s short essay in Life contained a number of Mrs. Kennedy’s wistful remembrances, one of which was the President’s fondness for the title tune from the Lerner & Lowe Broadway hit, Camelot. His favorite lines, she told White, were these: “Don’t let it be forgot,/that once there was a spot,/for one brief shining moment/that was Camelot.” “There will be great Presidents again,” she continued, “but there will never be another Camelot again.” According to Mrs. Kennedy, her husband was an idealist who saw history as the work of heroes, and she wished to have his memory preserved in the form of appropriate symbols rather than in the dry and dusty books written by historians. Camelot was one such symbol; the eternal flame that she had placed on his grave was another.

Significantly, Mrs. Kennedy’s notion of Arthurian heroism derived not from Sir Thomas Mallory’s 15th-century classic Le Morte d’Arthur but from The Once and Future King (1958) by T.H. White (no relation to the journalist), on which the musical was based. White’s telling of the saga pokes fun at the pretensions of knighthood, pointedly criticizes militarism and nationalism, and portrays Arthur as a new kind of hero: an idealistic peacemaker seeking to tame the bellicose passions of his age. This may be one reason why Mrs. Kennedy’s effort to frame her husband’s legacy in this way was widely regarded as a distorted caricature of the real Kennedy and something he himself would have laughed at. Aides and associates reported that they had never heard Kennedy speak either about Camelot the musical or about its theme song. Some of Mrs. Kennedy’s friends said they had never even heard her speak about King Arthur or the play prior to the assassination.

According to Schlesinger, Mrs. Kennedy later thought she may have overdone this theme. Be that as it may, one has to give her credit for quick thinking in the midst of tragedy and grief—and also for injecting a set of ideas into the cultural atmosphere that would have large consequences. For not only did the Camelot reading of heroic public service cut liberalism off from its once-vigorous nationalist impulses but, if one accepted the image of a utopian Kennedy Camelot—and many did—then the best times were now in the past and would not soon be recovered. Life would go on, but America’s future could never match the magical chapter that had been brought to a premature end. Such thinking drew into question the no less canonical liberal assumption of steady historical progress, and compromised the liberal faith in the future.

Without intending to do so, Mrs. Kennedy had put forth an interpretation of her husband’s life and death that undercut mid-century liberalism at its core.

_____________

The success of the Kennedy myth bore still other troubling fruit for American liberalism. Kennedy had added something novel to the mix of our public life, skillfully managing to transcend his role as a politician to become a cultural figure in his own right—indeed, a celebrity. In this he was most unlike other prominent political figures of the time.

Kennedy was young and articulate; he wore his hair long; he sailed and played touch football; he consorted with Hollywood stars and Harvard professors; he was even something of an intellectual, speaking in measured cadences and having won (with the assistance of his father) a Pulitzer Prize for Profiles in Courage (1955). Above all, he was rich. His wife, moreover, was beautiful and glamorous; she wore French fashions and even spoke French (and Spanish, too). The two Kennedy children were every bit as photogenic as their parents. The American people had never seen anything like the Kennedys, except in the movies.

Kennedy was thus our first President and—with the partial exception of Bill Clinton—the only one so far successfully to marry the role of politician to that of cultural celebrity. Such a thing would never have occurred to Harry Truman or Franklin Roosevelt. As for Ronald Reagan, who moved in the opposite direction, out of the world of celebrity into politics, he never exercised the influence over that world that Kennedy did. Indeed, Kennedy’s earlier success in linking liberalism with celebrity was greatly responsible for turning Hollywood into the liberal-Left fortification that it is today.

Kennedy achieved this through a style that gave the appearance of a man at the cutting edge of new cultural trends, in contrast to other politicians (like Nixon or Eisenhower) who generally represented the established patterns and morals of middle-class life. In his memoir, Sorensen acknowledges that at the inauguration, Kennedy deliberately played up this purely stylistic contrast between himself and Eisenhower, his tired and aging predecessor. Schlesinger, for his part, sees in Kennedy’s style a substantive statement in itself: “His coolness was itself a new frontier. It meant freedom from the stereotyped responses of the past. . . . It offered hope for spontaneity in a country drowning in its own passivity.” Norman Mailer, the original “hipster,” saw Kennedy as an “existential hero,” a man who would courageously court death in quest of authentic experience.

But here is another curious twist. While Kennedy understood courage to involve facing down Communism or putting a man on the moon, Mailer was thinking in terms of what he called “a revolution in the consciousness of our time,” a goal (whether laudable or not) far beyond the capacity of any political leader to deliver. It is true that Kennedy cultivated a style—a style whose charms were magnified a thousandfold by the newly potent medium of television. But it is also obvious that many read far more into this style than was really there. Intellectuals, journalists, and significant cohorts of the college-educated young erroneously equated Kennedy’s style with a bohemian rejection of the blandness and conformity of middle-class life, when it in fact reflected the ways of the American aristocracy to which he and his wife belonged. (So, in a somewhat different way, did his relentless pursuit of sex and use of drugs.)

In projecting their own hopes on to Kennedy, liberals like Schlesinger and cultural radicals like Mailer were redefining liberalism more in terms of a posture than in terms of a coherent body of ideas about government and politics. This, too, would have consequences. Because Kennedy embodied sophistication, he was seen after his death as more “authentic” than such otherwise authentically liberal figures as Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey, who labored for legislative victories but were otherwise hopelessly old-fashioned. In appearing to stand above and apart from the conventions of middle-class life, he was seen as having opened up possibilities for a different kind of politics, sparking impulses that would eventually be absorbed into the mainstream of liberal thought. Within a few years of Kennedy’s death, liberals had come to be more preoccupied with cultural issues—feminism, sexual freedom, gay rights—than with the traditional concerns that had animated Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy himself.

Kennedy’s had been a unique balancing act, combining ardent patriotism with hip sophistication in a mix that could appeal both to traditional Americans and to the new cultural activists. After his death, these two groups divided into conflicting camps, thereby establishing the terms for the long-running culture war that continues today. As much as anything else, the immersion in cultural politics in the years following the assassination may have helped bring about the end of the liberal era.

_____________

Kennedy’s assassination heralded a break with the American past and a corresponding rupture in the evolving world of liberal ideas. Far from spurring the liberal tradition forward, as some today still suggest, it played a significant role in its disintegration. In the years and decades that followed, nearly all of the tendencies of the far Right that had so unnerved the liberals of the 1950’s—the fascination with conspiracies, the use of overheated and abusive rhetoric to characterize political adversaries, expressions of hatred for the United States and its national culture—moved across the political spectrum to the far and then the near Left.

For many American liberals, the shock of Kennedy’s death compromised their faith in the nation itself. Against all evidence, they concluded that a violent strain in our national culture was somehow to blame. A confident, practical, and forward-looking philosophy with a heritage of accomplishment was thus turned into a doctrine of pessimism and self-blame, with a decidedly dark view of American society. Such assumptions, far from marking a temporary adjustment to the events of the 1960’s, have proved remarkably durable.

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Footnotes

1 “Conspiracy Fever,” October 1975; “Yes, Oswald Alone Killed Kennedy,” June 1992.

Voir aussi:

JFK and the Death of Liberalism

Jeffrey Lord

The American Spectator

5.31.12

John F. Kennedy, the father of the Reagan Democrats, would have been 95 this week.

May 29th of this week marked John F. Kennedy’s 95th birthday.

Had he never gone to Dallas, had he the blessings of long years like his 105 year old mother Rose, the man immutably fixed in the American memory as a vigorous 40-something surely would be seen in an entirely different light.

If JFK were alive today?

Presuming his 1964 re-election, we would know for a fact what he did in Vietnam. We would know for a fact what a second-term Kennedy domestic program produced. And yes, yes, all those torrent of womanizing tales that finally gushed into headlines in the post-Watergate era (and still keep coming, the tale of White House intern Mimi Alford recently added to the long list) would surely have had a more scathing effect on his historical reputation had he been alive to answer them.

But he wasn’t.

As the world knows, those fateful few seconds in Dallas on November 22, 1963 not only transformed American and world history. They transformed JFK himself into an iconic American martyr, forever young, handsome and idealistic. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of his assassination—and in spite of all the womanizing tales, in spite of the passage of now almost half a century—John F. Kennedy is still repeatedly ranked by Americans as among the country’s greatest presidents. In the American imagination, JFK is historically invincible

All of this comes to mind not simply as JFK’s 95th birthday came and went this week with remarkably little fanfare.

As readers of The American Spectator are well familiar, TAS founder and Editor-in-chief R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. has a new book out in which he details The Death of Liberalism.

Once upon a time — in 1950 — Bob Tyrrell notes that the liberal intellectual Lionel Trilling could honestly open his book The Liberal Imagination with this sentence:

In the United States at this time Liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition.

It was true in 1950 — and it was still true on the day John F. Kennedy’s motorcade began to make its way through the streets of Dallas.

It was still true a year later, when Kennedy’s successor Lyndon Johnson swamped the GOP’s conservative nominee Barry Goldwater.

But something had happened by 1964. Something Big. And it’s fair to wonder on the anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s 95th birthday if in fact that Something Big would ever have happened at all if Kennedy had not been in Lee Harvey Oswald’s gun sight that sunny November day almost 49 years ago.

In short, one wonders. Did the bullets that killed JFK hit another target — liberalism itself? Unlike JFK, not killing liberalism instantly but inflicting something else infinitely more damaging than sudden death? Or, as Tyrrell puts it, inflicting “a slow, but steady decline of which the Liberals have been steadfastly oblivious.”

While LBJ would ride herd on American liberalism for another year, in fact the dominant status of liberalism in both politics and culture that Trilling had observed in 1950 had, after JFK’s murder, curiously begun to simply fade. Not unlike Alice in Wonderland’s Cheshire cat, leaving nothing behind but a grin. Writes Tyrrell:

Yet Liberals, who began as the rightful heirs to the New Deal, have carried on as a kind of landed aristocracy, gifted but doomed.

The new book in Robert Caro’s biographical series, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power has received considerable attention for Caro’s detailed depiction of LBJ’s transition from powerful Senate Majority Leader to a virtual impotence as Kennedy’s vice president. But there’s a clue in this book as to the future decline of liberalism that is completely overlooked (and wasn’t published until after Tyrrell’s). A clue that revolves around the treatment of Vice President Johnson by Kennedy insiders and JFK’s Washington admirers — a treatment, it is important to note, that was never ever exhibited by JFK himself.

While Kennedy gave strict orders that LBJ was to be treated at all times with the respect due his office — and this was in an era when vice presidents customarily went unused by presidents, a fate that had befallen all vice presidential occupants from the nation’s first, John Adams, to Johnson — there was something else bubbling just below the surface in the Washington that was the Kennedy era.

Robert Caro describes it this way:

Washington had in many ways always been a small town, and in small towns gossip can be cruel, and the New Frontiersmen — casual, elegant, understated, in love with their own sophistication (“Such an in-group, and they let you know they were in, and you were not”, recalls Ashton Gonella) — were a witty bunch, and wit does better when it has a target to aim at, and the huge, lumbering figure of Lyndon Johnson, with his carefully buttoned-up suits and slicked-down hair, his bellowing speeches and extravagant, awkward gestures, made an inevitable target. “One can feel the hot breath of the crowd at the bullfight exulting as the sword flashes into the bull,” one historian wrote. In the Georgetown townhouses that were the New Frontier’s social stronghold “there were a lot of small parties, informal kinds, dinners that were given by Kennedy people for other Kennedy people. You know, twelve people in for dinner, all part of the Administration,” says United States Treasurer Elizabeth Gatov. “Really, it was brutal, the stories that they were passing, and the jokes and the inside nasty stuff about Lyndon.” When he mispronounced “hors d’oeuvres” as “whore doves,” the mistake was all over Georgetown in what seemed an instant.

Johnson’s Texas accent was mocked. His proclivity for saying “Ah reckon,” “Ah believe,” and saying the word “Negro” as “nigrah.” On one occasion of a white tie event at the White House, Caro writes of LBJ that “he wore, to the Kennedy people’s endless amusement, not the customary black tailcoat but a slate-gray model especially sent up by Dallas’ Neiman-Marcus department store.” The liberals populating the Kennedy administration and Washington itself were people with an affinity for words, and they began to bestow on Johnson — behind his back — nicknames such as “Uncle Cornpone” or “Rufus Cornpone.” Lady Bird Johnson was added to the game, and the Johnsons as a couple were nicknamed “Uncle Cornpone and his Little Pork Chop.”

None of this, Caro notes, was done by John Kennedy himself. JFK had an instinctive appreciation for Johnson’s sense of dignity, and he thought Lady Bird “neat.” This is, in retrospect, notable.

Why?

Let’s rocket ahead now to what Bob Tyrrell calls The Death of Liberalism. In particular the numbers — polling data. Tyrrell spends an entire chapter discussing polling data, as well he should. His findings are the ultimate teachable moment as we settle into the 2012 Obama-Romney race.

By 1968 — five years after the death of JFK and in the last of the five years of the Johnson presidency — the number of “self-identified” conservatives began to climb. Sharply. The Liberal dominance Lionel Trilling had written about had gone, never to this moment to return. Routinely now in poll after poll that Tyrrell cites — and there are plenty of others he doesn’t have room to cite — self-identified liberals hover at about 20% of the American body politic. Outnumbered more than two-to-one by conservatives, with moderates bringing up the remainder in the middle.

What happened in those five years after JFK’s death?

One very compelling thing.

The attitude toward Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson that was evidenced by Kennedy’s liberal leaning staff, by the Washington Georgetown set, by Washington journalists — slowly seeped into the sinews of liberalism itself.

Recall Caro’s descriptions of people who were “in love with their own sophistication,” who were “such an in-group, and they let you know they were in, and you were not.” Think of the snotty arrogance displayed as these people laughed at LBJ’s accent, his mispronunciations, his clothes, his wife (“Uncle Cornpone and his Little Pork Chop”).

Slowly, and then not so slowly, these elitist, arrogant and if not outright snotty attitudes sought out a new target during the years when LBJ was sitting in the White House — when, in the view of these people, “Uncle Cornpone and his Little Pork Chop” had replaced the King and Queen of Camelot.

That new target?

The American people themselves. They had, after all, elected LBJ in a landslide in 1964. Now Uncle Cornpone was the elected President of the United States. To make matters more unbearable, LBJ was using his newfound power and popularity to actually pass the liberal agenda of the day, which Johnson labeled “The Great Society.” Uncle Cornpone, it seemed, wasn’t such a ridiculous figure after all when it came to getting the liberal wish list through the Congress.

No one better than JFK would have known instantly what a huge mistake this elitist attitude would be. Discussing the relationship of a presidential candidate with the American people, JFK had told historian and friend Theodore H. White, author of The Making of the President series, that, in White’s re-telling, “a man running for the Presidency must talk up, way up there.” It was a principle Kennedy surely would have applied to his own party — and did so while he was president. Not from JFK was there a drop of elitist contempt — from a man who unarguably could claim the title in a blink — for his fellow countrymen.

But in a horrifying flash, JFK was gone. And the elitist tide spread.

Slowly this contempt for the American people spread to institutions that were not government, manifesting itself in a thousand different ways. It infected the media, academe and Hollywood, where stars identified with middle-America like John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Bob Hope and Lucille Ball were eclipsed in the spotlight by leftists like Warren Beatty and Jane Fonda.

The arms-linked peaceful civil rights protests led by Christian ministers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr gave way to bombings and violent demonstrations against the Vietnam War led by snooty, well-educated white left-wing kids like Bill Ayers. The great American middle class — from which many of these educated kids had sprung — was trashed in precisely the fashion LBJ had been trashed. For accents, clothing styles, housing choices (suburbs and rural life were out) food, music, the love of guns, choice of cars, colleges, hair styles and more. Religion itself could not escape, Christianity to be mocked, made into a derisive laughingstock. The part of America between New York and California became known sneeringly as “flyover country.

As time moved on, these attitudes hardened, taking on colors, colors derived from election night maps where red represented conservative, Republican or traditional candidates and blue became symbolic of homes to Liberalism.

Red States. Blue States.

Liberal candidates hoping to carry Red States or even Purple States had to hide the contempt they felt for their own constituents. When Governor Bill Clinton’s wife Hillary snapped in a 60 Minutes interview over her husband’s infidelities that:

You know, I’m not sitting here — some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette.

— the Clinton campaign quickly swung into damage control mode, an apology as quickly forthcoming.

Sixteen years later it was Barack Obama’s turn, the candidate caught on audio tape describing Pennsylvania voters to a fundraising audience of rich, fashionable San Francisco liberals as:

bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

The Obama and Hillary Clinton expressions were about as far as one could get from JFK’s conception that when running for president one has to talk “way up there” to the American people.

By now, millions of Americans have come to see the elitism that once was directed privately at LBJ in Georgetown salons as an ingrained characteristic of Liberalism. Even NBC’s Tom Brokaw is getting antsy at the insiderdom on televised display at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Think of the treatment of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin versus that afforded Hillary Clinton. The treatment of Clarence Thomas — versus Barack Obama.

Self-identify with that kind of treatment? Of course not. Compounding the problem for liberals is that this attitude is linked to what Tyrrell accurately calls Obama’s “Stealth Socialism.” And the combination of the two is proving to be politically deadly.

Here’s a JFK-Obama contrast.

In 1960, JFK determined that if he were to win the Democratic nomination he would in fact have to win the West Virginia primary. Why West Virginia? Because Kennedy was Catholic, no Catholic had ever been elected president — and West Virginia was heavily Protestant. It was a knock-down, drag-out fight — a furious battle against Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey. In an upset, a legend in West Virginia politics to this day, JFK won. By emphasizing his PT-109 heroism in World War II and his support of coal mining — and coal miners.

What happened the other day in the West Virginia Democratic primaries? That’s right. A Texas prison inmate named Keith Judd paid the $2,500 filing fee to get his name on the ballot opposing Obama — getting 40% of the vote. Why this particular humiliation? Right again. The President’s “Stealth Socialism” — specifically in West Virginia his energy and environmental policies — are seen by West Virginians as savaging the state’s coal industry. A world away from the JFK approach.

And let’s not forget the double standard that elitist liberals in the media love when it comes to their fellow countrymen.

What was one of the most notable stylistic aspects of the Kennedy presidency that had Georgetown parlors and the liberal media of the day swooning with admiration?

Exactly. They loved Jackie Kennedy — specifically they absolutely adored that the First Lady was an accomplished horsewoman. Scenes like this video of Jackie riding with her children in the Virginia hunt country – as JFK watched from nearby — were staples of the liberal media, the only media, of the day. If one grew up in the Kennedy era it is recognized instantly, particularly the scene where Caroline’s horse “Macaroni” is nibbling on JFK as the President laughs. Horseback riding as Mrs. Kennedy pursued it was an expensive hobby then — as now. And this fact was lavishly presented to the American public as a sign of class — both financial class and as in “classy.”

What was the big story about Ann Romney the other day? Take a look at Breitbart.com where they have neatly caught onto the sneering elitism that is falsely ascribed to Ann Romney because — yes indeed — just like Jackie Kennedy, Ann Romney rides horses. With one very big difference. In Mrs. Romney’s case horseback riding was prescribed as therapy for her multiple sclerosis. Now, however, as was true with a big front page story in the New York Times, Republican Ann Romney is involved with a “rarified sport.” Translation: Mrs. Romney is a snob. What’s fabulous for Jackie is snooty for Ann.

Which leads us back to where we began.

Had John F. Kennedy been alive and well this week, celebrating his 95th birthday, one can only wonder whether liberalism would have survived with him.

This is, after all, the president who said in cutting taxes that a “rising tide lifts all boats.” Becoming The favorite presidential example (along with Calvin Coolidge) of no less than Ronald Reagan on tax policy. This is, after all, the president who ran to the right of Richard Nixon in 1960 on issues of national security.

In fact, many of those who voted for John F. Kennedy in 1960 would twenty years later vote for Ronald Reagan. One famous study of Macomb County, Michigan found 63% of Democrats in that unionized section of autoworker country voting for JFK in 1960. In 1980, same county, essentially the same Democrats — 66% voted for Reagan. The difference? Liberalism was dying.

There is a term of political art for these millions of onetime JFK voters — a term used still today: Reagan Democrats. It is not too strong a statement to say that in point of political fact John F. Kennedy was the father of the Reagan Democrats.

Would JFK have let the arrogant liberal elitism that was bubbling under the surface of his own administration metastasize to so many American institutions — including his own party — had he lived?

Would he have sat silently as the liberal culture turned against the vast American middle and working blue collar class and its values, sending JFK voters into the arms of Republicans in seven out of twelve of the elections following his own?

Would he have fought the subtle but distinct change of his famous inaugural challenge from “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” to what it has now become: “ask not what you can do for your country, ask what service your government can provide you?”

We will never know.

But there is every reason to believe, after all these decades, that, to use the title of JFK biographer William Manchester’s famous book, The Death of a President, brought another, quite unexpected death in its wake.

The Death of Liberalism.

About the Author

Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.

Voir également:

Obama and the End of Liberalism?

Kathryn Jean Lopez

The national Review online

January 16, 2013

‘He was much more liberal than his presidential campaign let on,” Charles Kesler writes of Barack Obama in 2008. You can say that again. “Liberals like crises, and one shouldn’t spoil them by handing them another on a silver salver. The kind of crisis that is approaching . . . is probably not their favorite kind, an emergency that presents an opportunity to enlarge government, but one that will find liberalism at a crossroads, a turning point,” he argues in I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism. “Liberalism can’t go on as it is, not for very long. It faces difficulties both philosophical and fiscal that will compel it either to go out of business or to become something quite different from what it has been.” As we approach President Obama’s second inaugural, is this really so? Kesler looks at the president’s first term and the future of liberalism with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez.

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: You wrote a whole book about “Barack Obama and the crisis of liberalism” before the 2012 election, which he won fairly easily. Is your analysis still relevant?

CHARLES KESLER: Highly relevant, alas. I began writing about Obama in 2007, when his speeches struck me as more interesting and ambitious than the usual Democratic pablum. His two books — one a strikingly postmodern memoir, the other a more conventional campaign book that displayed his highly unconventional view of how to transform our politics — confirmed my judgment that conservatives (and at the time, the Clintons) were dangerously underestimating him. By the time I began I Am the Change in 2011, he had run the table, winning on the stimulus, Obamacare, and Dodd-Frank the kind of liberal legislative breakthroughs that bring to mind the New Deal or the Great Society.

LOPEZ: Isn’t the crisis over? Liberalism has won.

KESLER: As I wrote in the book, Obama was poised to be either liberalism’s savior or its gravedigger. His own view was that Ronald Reagan had been a transformative figure in American politics and that no Democrat since had had the gumption, the vision, and the discipline to challenge Reaganism. But Obama thought it challengeable, and his 2008 campaign was all about restoring liberals’ Hope that sweeping political Change was still possible, despite the Reagan Revolution. He had to restore liberals’ faith in liberalism, and then translate that faith into works, which he did in his first term. By unleashing a new New Deal, as it were, he showed his followers that Reagan had merely interrupted, not overturned, the country’s destiny to move ever leftward.

LOPEZ: So what was at stake in 2012 wasn’t just the fate of one liberal administration but of liberalism itself?

KESLER: Yes, to the extent that a repudiation of Obama and his agenda would have led to a very deep crisis of confidence on the left. To paraphrase Woody Allen, liberalism is like a shark. It has to move forward constantly or it dies. Think, for example, of the liberals’ so-called living Constitution, which has to be continually adjusted (by them) to keep up with the times. The alternative to the living Constitution is, by implication, a dead one. As a form of progressivism, liberalism has to conceive of itself as being on the right side of history, which means the winning side. Anything that shakes that confidence — a long series of defeats and policy reversals, e.g., if Obama had lost, Obamacare had gone on to be repealed and replaced, and the Bush tax cuts made permanent — shakes liberals’ belief in their own inevitability, which is key to their own sense of their right to rule.

LOPEZ: But they didn’t lose in 2012. It’s conservatism that now seems to be an endangered species.

KESLER: Exactly, and Obama’s ambition to be liberalism’s reviver and savior appears to have been realized. But the emphasis is on “appears.” Obama thinks he has saved liberalism because he’s put it on the winning side again, and in a big way. He takes pride in showing that the era of big government is not over, that in fact the future belongs to much higher taxes and to much more activist government. I think he’s profoundly wrong about that. Before suggesting why, may I say something briefly about how differently conservatives think, or ought to think, about the relation between principles and politics?

For us, to put it simply, principles are rooted in what our fathers called the laws of nature and of nature’s God. These are timeless, that is, they call to us in every age. Some ages live up to the minimal demands of moral decency and the maximum demands of political excellence better than others; no age lives up to them perfectly. That’s why conservatives are inherently moderate in their demands and expectations of politics, recognizing that neither political defeat nor victory affects the inherent authority and goodness of first principles. Our losses in 2012 are therefore not cause for despair. Like everything in politics they are temporary. We shouldn’t run around like liberals, afraid that the times are against us and that we need to exchange old principles for new ones that allegedly fit the times better. Our calling is, so far as possible, to keep the times in tune with our principles, not to adjust our principles to match the times. As Churchill put it, it isn’t possible to guarantee success in politics or war; it’s possible only to deserve it. By contrast, progressives believe in happy endings, in the inevitability of progress. They cannot separate might from right, success from legitimacy, and so don’t have the consolation of believing in principles in the conservative sense. They insist that the good guys must always or at least eventually win, a standard which elides easily into the deeply immoral belief that, in the end, whoever wins must be right.

LOPEZ: What you call the crisis of liberalism isn’t over, then?

KESLER: I think it’s just beginning. Obama thinks it’s over, of course. With his usual modesty, he regards his reelection as the sign that liberalism has returned to its natural role as modern America’s public philosophy or established religion. Reaganism was a blip, an anomaly. But the Democrats’ very successes are intensifying liberalism’s contradictions, both fiscal and philosophical.

LOPEZ: This is the grave-digging part?

KESLER: Yes! The fiscal danger is now obvious: We can’t afford all the promises the welfare state has already made, much less the ones it will add in coming years. It’s almost impossible for liberals to limit spending because every promise becomes a program, and every program stands for a new right to health care, child care, and so forth. You can’t put a price on human rights! The result is that the federal government, driven by what is candidly called “uncontrollable” spending, is bankrupt or soon will be. Liberalism can’t go on very much longer without unleashing its socialist id and imposing, among other things, a comprehensive and oppressive new regime of middle-class taxation. Faced with that illiberal future, many liberals may balk.

And philosophically, American liberals are coming to the end of their rope. Though President Obama likes to be called a Progressive, he doesn’t believe in progress in the way, say, Woodrow Wilson did as something scientifically and rationally certain, benign, and steerable. For Obama, strains of multiculturalism, postmodernism, and relativism have crept in. Progress, both as to both means and ends, is in this view more a matter of will than of reason. It’s not a question anymore of following or finding history’s meaning but of creating it. In its purest and most academic form, this revelation has pulled the philosophical rug out from under liberalism, exposing it as neither true nor just, because neither Truth nor Justice exists (ask any postmodernist). Obama doesn’t go that far; he wants to believe in social justice, I think. For instance, he sometimes quotes Martin Luther King’s line that the arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice. Yet Obama asserts at the same time that democracy depends on the rejection of every form of “absolute truth.” If you reject absolute truth absolutely, you are not only incoherent but in danger of becoming the worst kind of dogmatist.

LOPEZ: Your book is as much about liberalism as it is about Obama. It has meaty chapters on Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson, for example. Why the double focus?

KESLER: Because Obama personifies modern liberalism and its crisis. He compares himself frequently to FDR and Lincoln, and occasionally to LBJ, and he calls himself “progressive.” All that’s well known, but no one had thought it through. That’s what I try to do in I Am the Change, put between two covers, for the first time, the story of modern American liberalism, its evolution and devolution.

Conservatives have spent generations pondering the relation of modern liberalism to the French Revolution, the industrial revolution, abolitionism, the Enlightenment, medieval nominalism — all things worth thinking about, by the way — but we had largely ignored the obvious point that in America the liberal movement traces itself back through a series of prophet-leaders (LBJ, JFK, FDR, etc.) to Wilsonian-style Progressivism. (TR was also important, and Jean Yarbrough’s new book on him is splendid. Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism tells the story brilliantly, but from a different angle.) That’s the liberalism we suffer from. The “living constitution,” the cult of the charismatic leader who mesmerizes the masses with a “vision” of the future, entitlement rights and programs, the State that replaces God by offering complete material and spiritual fulfillment in this life, the disillusionment that follows that hubris — all these familiar tropes of our contemporary politics emerge from the century of liberalism that in a way culminates in Barack Obama.

LOPEZ: Was it satisfying to have the New York Times notice your book, whatever it happened to say?

KESLER: It was a negative review, the only one the book’s gotten so far, but it was long, reasonably serious, and on the cover of the Sunday book review, so I’m not complaining. As they say in real estate, it’s location, location, location! And I’m grateful for the thoughtful reviews from the many critics who found more to admire in the book, including the lovely notice in National Review from Ramesh Ponnuru.

— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online.

Voir encore:

The Day the Music Died

By Interview

National Review

June 19, 2007

The shooting of JFK didn’t just kill a president — it devastated a political movement, argues James Piereson in his new book, Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism. Piereson is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, president of the William E. Simon Foundation, and former executive director and trustee of the John M. Olin Foundation. He recently spoke to National Review’s John J. Miller about JFK, liberals and conservatives, the Rolling Stones, and the grassy knoll.

JOHN J. MILLER: You write of JFK’s assassination that “no other event in the postwar era, not even the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, has cast such a long shadow over our national life.” How did JFK’s murder change American politics and culture?

JAMES PIERESON: Kennedy’s assassination, happening the way it did, compromised the central assumptions of American liberalism that had been the governing philosophy of the nation since the time of the New Deal. It did this in two decisive ways: first, by compromising the faith of liberals in the future; second, by undermining their confidence in the nation. Kennedy’s assassination suggested that history is not in fact a benign process of progress and advancement, but perhaps something quite different. The thought that the nation itself was responsible for Kennedy’s death suggested that the United States, far from being a “city on a hill” and an example for mankind, as Kennedy had described it (quoting John Winthrop), was in fact something darker and more sinister in its deepest nature.

MILLER: How did this play out politically in the 1960s and beyond?

PIERESON: The conspiracy theories that developed afterwards reflected this thought. The Camelot legend further suggested that the Kennedy years represented something unique that was now forever lost. Liberalism was thereafter overtaken by a sense of pessimism about the future, cynicism about the United States, and nostalgia for the Kennedy years. This was something entirely new in the United States. It was evident in the culture during the 1960s. George Wallace tried to confront it in the electoral arena in 1968, as did Richard Nixon — though it was somewhat difficult to do so because neither Lyndon Johnson nor Hubert Humphrey represented this new orientation. It was not until this mood of pessimism was brought into the government during the Carter administration that it could be directly confronted in the political arena, which is what Ronald Reagan in fact did.

MILLER: Isn’t it a little early to say that 11/22/63 mattered more than 9/11/01?

PIERESON: No. We know from looking back over the decades that Kennedy’s sudden death cast a long shadow over American life, which I have tried to describe. Many of us thought that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 would also have great consequences for the way Americans looked at politics, the parties, and national security. In particular, some felt that the attacks might drive out of our politics the tone of anti-Americanism that had been a key feature of the American Left from the 1960s forward. That did not really happen. The liberal movement today remains far more the product of the 1960s than of the terrorist attacks and their aftermath. Indeed, the terrorist attacks now seem to have had very little effect on the thinking of American liberals who view the war on terror and the war in Iraq through the lenses of the Vietnam War. That is not true of conservatives. In that sense, the terrorist attacks have simply deepened the divide between liberals and conservatives. What is surprising, then, is what little enduring effect the terrorist attacks have had, particularly for liberals.

MILLER: Would liberalism have unraveled even if JFK had lived?

PIERESON: It is hard to say what would have happened if Kennedy had lived. He may have lost his popularity in a second term. He may have avoided the dead end in Vietnam. It’s hard to say. Kennedy was in the process of renewing liberalism when he was killed, expanding it into cultural areas beyond issues of economic security and national security. I am certain that liberalism would not have unraveled when it did and in the way that it did if Kennedy had lived. The assassination shattered its core assumptions.

MILLER: Lee Harvey Oswald was a Communist. Have liberals been reluctant to accept this fact? And is their reluctance at the heart of all the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination?

PIERESON: Liberals who were rational and realistic accepted the fact that Oswald killed JFK but at the same time they were unable to ascribe a motive for his actions. They tended to look for sociological explanations for the event and found one in the idea that JFK was brought down by a “climate of hate” that had overtaken the nation. Thus they placed Kennedy’s assassination within a context of violence against civil rights activists. They had great difficulty accepting the fact that Kennedy’s death was linked to the Cold War, not to civil rights. Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., in his 1,000-page history of the Kennedy administration, published in 1965, could not bring himself to mention Oswald’s name in connection with Kennedy’s death, though he spent several paragraphs describing the hate-filled atmosphere of Dallas at the time — suggesting thereby that Kennedy was a victim of the far right. The inability to come to grips with the facts of Kennedy’s death pointed to a deeper fault in American liberalism which was connected to its decline.

MILLER: It’s like that line from “Sympathy for the Devil,” by the Rolling Stones: “I shouted out, ‘Who killed the Kennedys?’/When after all, it was you and me.”

PIERESON: Yes, that song reflected a deep belief in liberal culture, that somehow “we” had killed the Kennedy’s — when in fact an anti-American Communist killed President Kennedy and a Palestinian nationalist killed Robert Kennedy, both in retaliation for American policies abroad. Oswald killed President Kennedy to interrupt his efforts to eliminate Castro; Sirhan killed Robert Kennedy because of Kennedy’s support for Israel. The irrationality of this belief was connected to the unraveling of liberalism, demonstrating that liberalism was not the rational doctrine that it claimed to be.

MILLER: Was JFK’s assassination more consequential than Abraham Lincoln’s?

PIERESON: The two assassinations had different effects. Lincoln’s came at the end of the Civil War. Since his assassins were southern partisans, the assassination was easily assimilated into the moral framework of the war. Lincoln was a martyr for the union and emancipation. His death punctuated the war and it tended to unify the nation around the Lincoln symbol. Kennedy’s death was different. In contrast to Lincoln, Kennedy was killed before he could achieve any great success. Kennedy was thus viewed in terms of dashed hopes and unfulfilled promise. Lincoln was viewed in terms of what he had achieved, Kennedy in terms of what might have been. Liberals at the time were convinced that the nation was threatened more by right-wing radicals like Sen. McCarthy or fundamentalist preachers than by Communists. Given their assumptions, they had great difficulty assimilating the fact that JFK was shot by a Communist — for this was exactly the kind of thing that the hated Sen. McCarthy had been warning against. Instead of seeing Kennedy as a casualty of the Cold War — which he was — they saw him as a martyr for civil rights. They saw his assassination as a sign of the nation’s guilt. Thus, Lincoln’s assassination reinforced the legitimacy of the nation while Kennedy’s undermined it, at least in the eyes of liberals.

MILLER: How did the killing of JFK shape the conservative movement?

PIERESON: Kennedy’s assassination had little effect on the conservative movement then or thereafter. Conservatives like Bill Buckley, Russell Kirk, or Barry Goldwater accepted the fact that Kennedy had been shot by a Communist. This did not surprise them in the least. The loss of faith among liberals in the years after JFK’s death opened a path for conservatives to come to power. It might be said that Ronald Reagan picked up the torch of national optimism that was dropped by the liberals when Kennedy was killed. Kennedy’s death, as its implications were worked out, destroyed the capacity of liberals to govern the country.

MILLER: I grew up hearing my parents say that they would never forget where they were when they heard that JFK was shot. Where were you?

PIERESON: I was in a high-school physics class, taking a test as I recall. The principal came in over the intercom system to announce that Kennedy was dead and that school was therefore over for the day. Students were stunned; many were weeping. No one knew how to react. It was the last thing that anyone expected.

MILLER: What did you think of JFK, the Oliver Stone conspiracy movie?

PIERESON: The Oliver Stone movie was foolish to the extent it was held up as an account of the Kennedy assassination. Using Jim Garrison as a credible authority on the Kennedy assassination is akin to citing Rosie O’Donnell as an authority on the collapse of the Twin Towers. It is not possible to claim that Kennedy was shot from the grassy knoll without at the same time claiming that the autopsy (which said he was shot from the rear) was wrong or fabricated. The conspiracy theories do not arise from any evidence but from a need to believe that Kennedy was shot by someone other than Oswald.

MILLER: Would liberals have had an easier time of it if Jack Ruby hadn’t killed Oswald?

PIERESON: If Ruby had not intervened, Oswald probably would have tried to stage some kind of “show” trial in which Kennedy’s policies in Cuba would have been raised as a central issue. Oswald proudly acknowledged that he was a Communist. If the case had been brought to trial, Oswald would have certainly been convicted. In that case, it would have been far more difficult for liberals and the Kennedy family to maintain that JFK was killed because of his support for civil rights. There would have been less talk of conspiracies; less anti-Americanism from the left; perhaps it would have further reinforced the anti-communism of post-war liberalism. There is no question that Ruby changed the equation a great deal.

MILLER: In the introduction, you keep referring to “this essay.” But you’ve written a book of more than 200 pages! When does an essay become a book?

PIERESON: That’s a good question. I consider the book to be an extended essay in the sense that it contains a single interlinked argument about the Kennedy assassination and its connection to American liberalism.

MILLER: What’s the best biography of JFK?

PIERESON: Robert Dallek’s biography (An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963) is very good and very complete. Another is Thomas Reeves’s biography, A Question of Character: The Life of John F. Kennedy. Victor Lasky’s JFK: The Man and the Myth still holds up very well, despite its 1963 publication date and its critical posture toward Kennedy and his politics. As for the assassination, Edward Jay Epstein is by far the best source. His biography of Oswald (Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald) contains a great deal of original research on Oswald and his motives. Epstein links Oswald’s motives to his support for Castro. Epstein’s works on Oswald and the Warren Commission are collected into a single volume, The Assassination Chronicles. That is the best place to start.

MILLER: You’re such the ex-professor. I ask for a book suggestion, you give me a syllabus. But let’s cut to the chase. Who do you think was on the grassy knoll?

PIERESON: There has been a lot of speculation about who was in fact on the grassy knoll that day. Some have claimed that Howard Hunt of Watergate fame was there. It is a focus for a great deal of speculation, without any evidence to support it. There is as much evidence to prove that Oswald killed Kennedy as that Booth shot Lincoln.

Réforme de la fiscalité en 2011 : relire John F. Kennedy

IREF

10 Nov 2010

Après la réforme des retraites on passera en France en 2011 à celle de la fiscalité. Nos réformateurs seraient bien inspirés de relire quelques extraits de discours de John F. Kennedy. Comme l’IREF, le président des Etats-Unis expliquait que la baisse des taux des impôts est la meilleure façon de gonfler les recettes fiscales. Voici un choix de ces textes, leur liste complète est dans la version anglaise du site.

Dans son « Histoire intéressante de la fiscalité américaine », ouvrage publié en 2004, William Federer a rassemblé un certain nombre de citations de John Fitzgerald Kennedy extraites de rapports devant le Congrès ou de discours radio-télévisés.

Les phrases de JFK annoncent la courbe de Laffer et la réforme fiscale de Reagan, mais elles sont aussi en écho de ce qu’écrivait Frédéric Bastiat en 1840 !

L’IREF n’a cessé de rappeler cette évidence : la baisse des impôts est une bonne affaire, y compris pour le budget. Si l’on veut réduire le déficit, il ne faut pas augmenter les impôts mais les diminuer !

« Vérités paradoxales : les taux d’imposition sont trop élevés, et les revenus fiscaux sont trop bas, de sorte que le moyen le plus sûr d’accroître ceux-ci est d’abaisser ceux-là. Baisser les impôts maintenant ce n’est pas risquer un déficit du budget, c’est bâtir une économie la plus prospère et la plus dynamique, de nature à nous valoir un budget en excédent ».

John F. Kennedy, 20 novembre 1962, conférence de presse du Président

« Des taux d’imposition abaissés stimuleront l’activité économique, et relèveront ainsi les niveaux de revenus des particuliers et des entreprises, de sorte que dans les prochaines années ils créeront un flux de recettes pour le gouvernement fédéral non pas diminué, mais augmenté ».

John F. Kennedy, 17 Janvier 1963, Message annuel au Congrès à l’occasion du vote du budget 1964.

« Dans l’économie d’aujourd’hui, la prudence et la responsabilité en matière d’impôts commandent une réduction de la fiscalité, même si elle accroît le déficit budgétaire – parce qu’une moindre pression fiscale est le meilleur moyen qui nous soit offert pour accroître les revenus ».

John F. Kennedy, 21 janvier 1963, message annuel au Congrès (rapport économique du président)

« Chaque dollar soustrait à l’impôt, qui est dépensé ou investi, créera un nouvel emploi et un nouveau salaire. Et ces nouveaux emplois et salaires créeront d’autres emplois et d’autres salaires, et plus de clients, et plus de croissance pour une économie américaine en plein expansion ».

John F. Kennedy, 13 août 1962, rapport radiodiffusé et télévisé sur l’état de l’économie nationale

« Une baisse des impôts signifie un revenu plus élevé pour les familles, et des profits plus importants pour les entreprises, et un budget fédéral en équilibre. Chaque contribuable et sa famille auront davantage d’argent disponible après impôt pour s’acheter une nouvelle voiture, une nouvelle maison, de nouveaux équipements, pour la formation et l’investissement. Chaque chef d’entreprise peut garder à sa disposition un pourcentage plus élevé de ses profits pour accroître ses fonds propres ou pour mettre en œuvre l’expansion ou l’amélioration de son affaire. Et quand le revenu national est en croissance, le gouvernement fédéral, en fin de compte, se retrouvera avec des recettes accrues ».

John F. Kennedy, 18 septembre 1963, message à la nation radiodiffusé et télévisé sur un projet de loi de réduction des impôts

Notre système fiscal aspire dans le secteur privé de l’économie une trop grande part du pouvoir d’achat des ménages et des entreprise, et réduit l’incitation au risque, à l’investissement et à l’effort – et par là-même il tue dans l’œuf nos recettes et étouffe notre taux de croissance national

John F. Kennedy, 24 janvier 1963, message au Congrès sur la réforme fiscale

Voir enfin:

Ask not what your country can do for you

This speech was delivered by John F Kennedy at his inauguration in Washington on January 20 1961.

John F Kennedy

The Guardian

22 April 2007 12.26

JFK speech

John F. Kennedy gives his inaugaural address in 1961

Vice-president Johnson, Mr Speaker, Mr Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice-president Nixon, President Truman, reverend clergy, fellow citizens: We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom – symbolising an end, as well as a beginning – signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe – the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans – born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge – and more. To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do – for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

To those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom – and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required – not because the communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge: to convert our good words into good deeds, in a new alliance for progress, to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbours know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.

To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support – to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective, to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak, and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.

Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction. We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.

But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course – both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind’s final war.

So let us begin anew – remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.

Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belabouring those problems which divide us. Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms, and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations. Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors.

Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce. Let both sides unite to heed, in all corners of the earth, the command of Isaiah – to « undo the heavy burdens, and [to] let the oppressed go free. » And, if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavour – not a new balance of power, but a new world of law – where the strong are just, and the weak secure, and the peace preserved.

All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe. Now the trumpet summons us again – not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are; but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, « rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation », a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.

Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, north and south, east and west, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.

I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavour will light our country and all who serve it. And the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what, together, we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own.

Traduction française:

John Kennedy, 20 janvier 1961

Vice-président Johnson, M. Speaker, M. juge en chef, le Président Eisenhower, vice-président Nixon, le Président Truman, clergé de révérend, concitoyens, nous observons aujourd’hui pas une victoire de partie, mais une célébration de liberté-symboliser une extrémité, aussi bien qu’un renouvellement de commencement-signification, aussi bien que le changement. Pour moi ai juré avant vous et Dieu tout-puissant que le même serment solennel notre s’abstient prescrit presque un siècle et trois quarts il y a.

Le monde est très différent maintenant. Pour l’homme tient dans des ses mains de mortel la puissance de supprimer toutes les formes de pauvreté humaine et toutes les formes de vie humaine. Mais la même croyance révolutionnaire pour laquelle notre s’abstient combattu sont toujours à l’issue autour de la croyance de globe-le que les droites de l’homme viennent pas de la générosité de l’état, mais de la main de Dieu.

Nous osons ne pas oublier aujourd’hui que nous sommes les héritiers de cette première révolution. Laisser le mot aller en avant de ces temps et endroit, à l’ami et à l’ennemi de même, que la torche a été passée à une nouvelle génération d’Américain-né en ce siècle, gâchée par la guerre, disciplinée par une paix dure et amère, fier de notre antique héritage-et peu disposé à être témoin ou permettre du démantèlement lent de ces droits de l’homme auxquels cette nation a été toujours investie, et dans ce que nous sommes commis aujourd’hui à la maison et autour du monde.

Faire chaque nation connaître, si elle nous souhaite bons ou malades, que nous payions n’importe quel prix, soutenions n’importe quel fardeau, rencontrions n’importe quelles difficultés, soutenions n’importe quel ami, nous opposions à n’importe quel ennemi, afin d’assurer la survie et le succès de la liberté.

Ce beaucoup nous engagement-et plus.

À ces vieux alliés dont les origines culturelles et spirituelles que nous partageons, nous mettent en gage la fidélité des amis fidèles. Uni, il y a peu que nous ne pouvons pas faire dans une foule d’entreprises coopératives. Divisé, il y a peu que nous pouvons faire-pour nous osons ne pas relever un défi puissant en désaccord et fendu en morceaux.

À ces nouveaux états à qui nous faisons bon accueil aux grades du libre, nous mettons en gage notre mot qu’une forme de commande coloniale n’aura pas disparu simplement pour être remplacé par bien plus de tyrannie de fer. Nous ne compterons pas toujours les trouver soutenir notre vue. Mais nous espérerons toujours les trouver soutenir fortement leurs propres liberté-et se rappeler que, dans le passé, ceux qui ont bêtement cherché la puissance en montant le dos du tigre ont fini vers le haut à l’intérieur.

À ces peuples dans les huttes et à villages à travers le globe luttant pour casser les liens de la misère de masse, nous mettons en gage nos meilleurs efforts de les aider pour s’aider, parce que quelque période soit exigée-non parce que les communistes peuvent le faire, pas parce que nous cherchons leurs voix, mais parce qu’il est exact. Si une société libre ne peut pas aider les nombreux qui sont pauvres, elle ne peut pas épargner les peu qui sont riches.

À nos sud de républiques de soeur de notre frontière, nous offrons à un special engagement-au converti nos bons mots dans bon contrat-dans une nouvelle alliance pour progresser-aux hommes libres d’aide et les gouvernements libres dans le moulage outre des chaînes de la pauvreté. Mais cette révolution paisible d’espoir ne peut pas devenir la proie des puissances hostiles. Faire tous nos voisins savoir que nous nous joindrons à eux pour nous opposer à l’agression ou à la subversion n’importe où en Amériques. Et laisser chaque autre puissance savent que cet hémisphère prévoit pour demeurer le maître de sa propre maison.

À ce monde des États souverains, les Nations Unies, notre dernier meilleur espoir dans un âge où les instruments de la guerre ont loin dépassé les instruments de la paix, nous remplaçons notre engagement de soutenir-à l’empêchons de devenir simplement un forum pour injure-à renforçons son bouclier du nouveau et faible-et pour élargir le secteur dans lequel son acte judiciaire peut fonctionner.

En conclusion, à ces nations qui se feraient notre adversaire, nous offrons pas un engagement mais une demande : que les deux côtés commencent à nouveau la recherche pour la paix, avant les puissances foncées de la destruction lâchées par la science engloutir toute l’humanité dans l’autodestruction prévue ou accidentelle.

Nous osons ne pas les tenter avec la faiblesse. Pour seulement quand nos bras sont suffisants au delà du doute pouvons nous être certains au delà du doute qu’ils ne seront jamais utilisés.

Mais ni l’un ni l’autre ne peuvent deux grands et les groupes puissants de nations prennent à confort de notre présent cours-les deux côtés surchargés par le coût d’armes modernes, toutes les deux correctement alarmées par la diffusion régulière de l’atome mortel, pourtant toutes les deux qui emballent pour changer cet équilibre incertain de la terreur qui reste la main de la guerre finale de l’humanité.

Nous laisser ainsi commencent à nouveau-à se rappeler des deux côtés que la civilité n’est pas un signe de faiblesse, et la sincérité est sujette toujours à la preuve. Jamais négocions hors de la crainte. Mais nous laisser ne craignent jamais de négocier.

Laisser les deux côtés explorer quels problèmes nous unissent au lieu d’attaquer ces problèmes qui nous divisent.

Laisser les deux côtés, pour la première fois, formulent des propositions sérieuses et précises pour l’inspection et la commande de bras-et apportent le pouvoir absolu de détruire d’autres nations sous la commande absolue de toutes les nations.

Laisser les deux côtés chercher à appeler les merveilles de la science au lieu de ses terreurs. Nous laisser ensemble explorent les étoiles, conquièrent les déserts, suppriment la maladie, tapent les profondeurs d’océan, et encouragent les arts et le commerce.

Laisser les deux côtés unir à l’attention dans tous les coins de la terre que la commande de Isaïe-à « défont les fardeaux lourds… et pour laisser opprimé pour aller librement. »

Et si une tête de pont de coopération peut repousser la jungle du soupçon, laisser les deux côtés s’associer à créer un nouvel effort, pas un nouvel équilibre des forces, mais un nouveau monde de loi, où les forts sont juste et le faible fixent et la paix préservée.

Tout ceci ne sera pas fini en 100 premiers jours. Ni il sera fini en 1.000 premiers jours, ni dans la vie de cette administration, ni même peut-être dans notre vie sur cette planète. Mais nous laisser commencent.

Dans des vos mains, mes concitoyens, plus que dans le mien, reposeront le succès ou l’échec final de notre cours. Depuis que ce pays a été fondé, chaque génération des Américains a été appelée pour donner le témoignage à sa fidélité nationale. Les tombes des jeunes Américains qui ont répondu à l’appel à la bordure de service le globe.

Maintenant la trompette nous appelle again-not comme appel aux bras d’ours, bien que des bras que nous avons besoin ; pas comme appel à la bataille, bien que rompu aux conflits à nous être-mais à un appel pour soutenir le fardeau d’une longues lutte, année dedans et année crépusculaires dehors, « se réjouissant dans l’espoir, patient dans la tribulation » – une lutte contre les ennemis communs de l’homme : tyrannie, pauvreté, maladie, et guerre elle-même.

Pouvons-nous forger contre ces ennemis une alliance grande et globale, du nord et les sud, l’est et l’ouest, qui peuvent assurer une vie plus fructueuse pour toute l’humanité ? Vous associerez-vous à cet effort historique ?

Dans la longue histoire du monde, seulement on a accordé quelques générations le rôle de la liberté de défense en son heure du danger maximum. Je ne la rétrécis pas de cette bienvenue de responsabilité-Je. Je ne crois pas que l’un d’entre nous échangerait des endroits avec n’importe quelles autres personnes ou n’importe quelle autre génération. L’énergie, la foi, la dévotion que nous apportons à cet effort allumera notre pays et tous ce qui servent -et la lueur de ce feu peut vraiment allumer le monde.

Et ainsi, mes concitoyens : ne demandez pas ce que votre pays peut faire pour vous – demandeez ce que vous pouvez faire pour votre pays.

Mes concitoyens du monde : demander pas ce que l’Amérique fera pour vous, mais ce qu’ensemble nous pouvons faire pour la liberté de l’homme.

En conclusion, si vous êtes des citoyens de l’Amérique ou des citoyens du monde, demander de nous les mêmes niveaux élevés de la force et sacrifier ce que nous demandons de vous. Avec une bonne conscience notre seulement récompense sûre, avec l’histoire le juge final de nos contrats, nous a laissés vont en avant mener la terre que nous aimons, demandant sa bénédiction et le sien aide, mais sachant qu’ici sur Dieu de terre le travail doit vraiment être notre propre.

 

9 commentaires pour JFK/50e: Le jour où le libéralisme est mort (How Obama drove the final nail into liberalism’s coffin)

  1. jcdurbant dit :

    “Kennedy was against ‘massive new social programs. Kennedy described his own Medicare plan, accurately, not as ‘massive’ but rather as ‘a very modest proposal.’ And, as [Arthur] Schlesinger [Jr.] noted, he chose not to fight for even that.”

    “Kennedy’s recipe for growth was not a deficit; it was a tax cut that, both by changing incentives and by putting more money in the hands of the private sector, would yield growth that would ultimately narrow the deficit by increasing federal revenues.”

    “As for the idea that Kennedy’s deficits were a ‘radical departure’ from [President Dwight] Eisenhower’s balanced budgets, that is not supported by the evidence. “Kennedy’s annual deficits—$3.3 billion in 1961, $7.1 billion in 1962, and $4.8 billion in 1963—were modest by modern standards and as a percentage of GDP.”

    Ira Stoll

    J'aime

  2. […] Il n’aura même pas eu la satisfaction d’être tué pour les droits civiques. Il a fallu que ce soit un imbécile de petit communiste. Cela prive même sa mort de toute signification. Jackie Kennedy […]

    J'aime

  3. […] Il n’aura même pas eu la satisfaction d’être tué pour les droits civiques. Il a fallu que ce soit un imbécile de petit communiste. Cela prive même sa mort de toute signification. Jackie Kennedy […]

    J'aime

  4. […] Il n’aura même pas eu la satisfaction d’être tué pour les droits civiques. Il a fallu que ce soit un imbécile de petit communiste. Cela prive même sa mort de toute signification. Jackie Kennedy […]

    J'aime

  5. […] Il n’aura même pas eu la satisfaction d’être tué pour les droits civiques. Il a fallu que ce soit un imbécile de petit communiste. Cela prive même sa mort de toute signification. Jackie Kennedy […]

    J'aime

  6. […] Il n’aura même pas eu la satisfaction d’être tué pour les droits civiques. Il a fallu que ce soit un imbécile de petit communiste. Cela prive même sa mort de toute signification. Jackie Kennedy […]

    J'aime

  7. […] Il n’aura même pas eu la satisfaction d’être tué pour les droits civiques. Il a fallu que ce soit un imbécile de petit communiste. Cela prive même sa mort de toute signification. Jackie Kennedy […]

    J'aime

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