Jeffrey Lord: JFK and the Death of Liberalism





Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. 

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...



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