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Updated: December 20, 2013 6:16AM
Was Kennedy a liberal?
Was JFK really a liberal?
Except for his libertine personal life, Kennedy espoused policies very much like the Tea Party today. In speeches he urged his audiences “to battle for the old ideas with the same enthusiasm that people have for new ideas.” He often talked about “Christian morality” and the “right of the individual against the state.”
In a 1983 Newsweek article, close advisor Ted Sorenson wrote, “He never identified himself as a liberal,” and a Look Magazine article reported, “The Boston-bred scion of a former ambassador is a fighting-Irish conservative.”
Consider also what he did during his 1,000 days in office: lowered taxes; mobilized America against communism in Cuba and Vietnam; and advocated a pro-growth policy, with a balanced budget, free trade and strong dollar.
He was reluctant to get involved in civil rights until George Wallace forced his hand at the University of Alabama. When I was liberal and watched his famous “civil rights” speech with a group of pastors, our consensus was, “About time!”
In “JFK, Conservative” Ira Stoll quotes Kennedy from a Saturday Evening Post, article: “Speaking of liberals, he said, ‘I’m not comfortable with those people.”’
If Kennedy were alive today he would be just what the Tea Party needs — a charismatic media-friendly spokesperson.