Jacoby and JFK

Less than a week ago Republicans shut down the government to try to get rid of Obamacare. Let’s look at Jeff Jacoby’s column today:

But Kennedy was no liberal. By any reasonable definition, he was a conservative — and not just by the standards of our era, but by those of his era as well.

Nearly 30 years ago, an essay in Mother Jones magazine asked: “Would JFK Be a Hero Now?” If the answer wasn’t obvious then, it certainly is now. In today’s political environment, a candidate like JFK — a conservative champion of economic growth, tax cuts, limited government, peace through strength — plainly would be a hero. Whether he would be a Democrat is a different matter altogether.

Gee, now what was one of the programs that JFK was pushing? Why Medicare. He wasn’t able to get it passed because conservatives worked so hard to defeat it:

The main course of Operation Coffeecup, however, was an LP record, kept secret until the event and prohibited from being broadcast. The record was called “Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine.” In his 20-minute polemic, the host of television’s “Death Valley Days” excoriated what he called “the foot-in-the-door” leftist technique that, he noted, was “one of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people … by way of medicine.”

With a know-your-enemy approach, Reagan quoted the American socialist icon, Norman Thomas, who decades earlier had said that while Americans would never knowingly vote socialist, “in the name of liberalism the American people would adopt every fragment of the socialist program.” Reagan concluded his oration with an ominous warning that unless “big gubament” – a pronunciation that would become a political trademark – was stopped, “you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.”

Does that sound familiar? But Jacoby things Kennedy might be a hero to conservatives (and that ignores the rest of the New Frontier). Thanks for the laugh Jeff.


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