Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Was JFK the 20th century’s worst president?
As I studied the Vietnam war over the last 14 months, I began to think that John F. Kennedy probably was the worst American president of the previous century.

In retrospect, he spent his 35 months in the White House stumbling from crisis to fiasco. He came into office and okayed the Bay of Pigs invasion. Then he went to a Vienna summit conference and got his clock cleaned by Khrushchev. That led to, among other things, the Cuban missile crisis and a whiff of nuclear apocalypse.

Looming over it all is the American descent into Vietnam.
What most remember about him are his good looks, the image pumped out for years by his father’s public-relations machine for the Ambassador’s own political ambitions (and ambitious he was – that’s why his boys went to the top Protestant schools) and, part of that, Camelot, created by Jackie, also good-looking, a culture snob with great taste; some say old Joe bought her off.

It wouldn’t have made any difference even medium-term if he’d lived (so why did whoever kill him?). Tonkin Gulf would have been cooked up, there would have been a landslide in ’64, the country would have been mired in Vietnam, the spoiled affluent partying kids would have turned on him and Nixon would have beaten the Dem in ’68.

Lots of people forget that Vietnam was a liberal crusade.

From the MCJ as is this: still not Fonda Hanoi Jane.

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