Could Barack Obama have beaten John F. Kennedy?

Could John F. Kennedy, an icon of Democratic politics, have defeated Barack Obama for the presidency?

No. Not possible.

JFK would have been running to the right, possibly far to the right, of Obama. I was around for JFK, and Barack, you are no JFK.

Why does it matter? Why did I even bring it up?

Actually, I didn't bring it up. I'm moved to make this declaration because silly campaign literature I received from the Democratic Party of Northfield Township just prior to the election made that comparison. (I had meant to use it in an earlier column about stupid campaign stuff, but I ran out of time and space.) The ad featured two large pictures of equal size of Obama and JFK, attempting to attribute to Obama the same equivalence of Kennedy's greatness. Blazoned underneath the photos was this JFK quote:

"...the political parties have aways been divided into the party of hope and the party of memory."

That's about right. But the Democratic Party of Barack Obama is not the Democratic Party of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. And I think it is important to point this out to further understand how Obama won this election.

In today's terms, Kennedy was a neo-conservative. In fact, he may have been the first neocon president. This will infuriate today's liberals who classify neocons as the worst of all political creatures. But, look at the similarities.

Kennedy said, "Ask not what you can do for your country, not what your country can do for you." Does this need any explaining? Obama won the election based on the sentiment: "Which candidate can do best of me?" Or, "Which candidate is most like me?" Not which candidate will do the best of his country. The polls confirm this.

Kennedy said:

Terror is not a new weapon. Throughout history it has been used by those who could not prevail, either by persuasion or example. But inevitably they fail, either because men are not afraid to die for a life worth living, or because the terrorists themselves came to realize that free men cannot be frightened by threats, and that aggression would meet its own response.And it is in the light of that history that every nation today should know, be he friend or foe, that the United States has both the will and the weapons to join free men in standing up to their responsibilities. [Emphasis added]

He didn't say he would lead from behind. Or initiate an "investigation" to look into the Benghazi attack, while the terrorists still roam about.

Kennedy said:

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, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

He made good on his words in the Cuban missile crises when he defied the Soviet Union's attempt to arm communist Cuba with nuclear weapons. Obama has never come close to expressing this sentiment.

Kennedy said:

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.

Even back in 1961 when Kennedy proposed the moon program in a speech to Congress, liberals already were starting to show their disdain for things technological and big science projects, because it would "take away resources for things we need to do on Earth. Like eliminating poverty." With that outlook having more firmly locked up the Democratic Party, Obama would be the last person to want America to be first on the moon.

I could go on and on, mentioning, for example, Kennedy's bold tax cut that produced years of prosperity. But what's the use? I'm not saying that Kennedy wasn't a liberal, as I once was a liberal. He supported economic and social programs for the poor and supported civil rights. As all liberals did, and as I still do.

But the American culture has changed dramatically, in its coarseness and its extreme occupation with self. Kennedy would not have tolerated the "gimme, gimme" cancer so alive today in the progressive catechism. I knew Kennedy's party of hope and President Obama, yours is not the party of hope.

Comments

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  • I'm glad you appreciate that great Democrat and Progressive John Kennedy. What was the top marginal tax rate under his presidency? 70+%. I admired him too. But he was not perfect. Did you forget the Bay of Pigs?

    Times have changed. But both Kennedy and Obama are more to the center than you seem to allow.

    Kennedy aimed high, but so does Obama who offed Bin Laden and pushed through the best National Health Care Law he could with the recalcitrant Reppublican defeatists running counter to his every initiative.

    If you disagree me on this, ask Chris Matthews who wrote a magnificent book about Kennedy, and knows a bit about Obama too.

  • Ask Chris Matthews? The guy with the "thrill going up his leg?" Your recommendation of Matthews says it all.

  • Aquinas wired never disappoints.

    Indeed. To paraphrase Addison, Dennis,

    " Dim Bulbs by instinct to each other turn, demand alliance, and in friendship burn."

  • In reply to PatHickey:

    When you answer with insult,
    It proves you're not a bright adult.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Aquinas, hard to believe you can't see your own hypocrisy.

  • Dennis, I was addressing and answering you, were you insulted?

  • Aquinas can dish it out, but when someone insults him, he goes into his boo-hoo, you've-hurt-my-feelings mode.

  • Said Mr. Hickey to Mr. Byrne,
    "Let me go first before your turn."
    "I must admit that does sound kicky,"
    Said Mr. Byrne to Mr. Hickey.

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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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