JFK Undeserving of High Presidential Ranking – Commentary by Douglas Young
"You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
"There is no truth existing which I fear, or would wish unknown to the whole world."
It’s disconcerting that the recent ranking of U.S. presidents by American presidential
historians put John Kennedy sixth, ahead of even
and Reagan. That over 45 years of sordid revelations
have failed to stop White House 'scholars' from elevating JFK to the top tier of our leaders confirms that many
academics prefer mythology to history.
Kennedy’s rise to the White House may be the most corrupt ever. Just as Joe Kennedy
bought his boy’s way into Congress, he literally paid for loads of votes in West Virginia’s crucial 1960 presidential
primary campaign. And, on November’s election night, Chicago’s corrupt Mayor Daley machine made sure Cook County
votes were counted Democratically. Added to masses of Texas graveyard votes, Kennedy “won” one of our closest
Of President Kennedy’s revered “New Frontier” agenda, most of it never left Capitol
Hill. What’s more, his civil rights credentials are grossly exaggerated. Despite pledging to end segregated federal
housing (a cynical ploy for black votes), he waited two years to sign the order. Martin Luther King lamented that
the White House moved forward on racial justice only when pushed by massive protests. The Kennedys had King
JFK’s foreign policy was terrible. No one accelerated the arms race more. From his
false campaign charge that the Soviets were ahead of us due to a “missile gap,” to his unnecessarily large nuclear
missile build-up, to his shockingly bellicose rhetoric against Moscow, Kennedy’s macho obsession made the world more
We never had a bigger cold warrior in the White House than in the early ’60s. This
James Bond aficionado had U.S. agents help overthrow South Vietnam’s president (resulting in his murder), try to
uproot the Dominican Republic’s regime (whose leader was also killed) and incompetently attempt to topple Cuba’s
Fidel Castro, first in the tragically inept Bay of Pigs invasion and then with bungled CIA assassination attempts.
So pervasive were Kennedy’s deadly operations that President Lyndon Johnson said we’d been running “a G.D. Murder,
Inc.” and that JFK’s death may have been “divine retribution.”
At a minimum, Kennedy’s obsessive-compulsive womanizing left him open to blackmail. One
presidential mistress, Judith Campbell (who claimed to have aborted a baby fathered by the president), was the moll
of the most powerful Mafia boss in the country, Sam Giancana. She even exchanged envelopes between her two powerful
lovers. Constitutionally challenged FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s evidence of this affair kept the president from
firing him (President Johnson said he’d rather have Hoover “pi**ing out of the tent than in”). But “Bad back, Backdoor
Jack” continued his incredibly risky sexploits to the end.
There’s even evidence that tapes of his and Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s
adulterous intimacies with Marilyn Monroe were in mob hands and that Robert searched her home for compromising
materials after the star’s 1962 suicide. More appalling was when the president eluded the secret service to chase
girls and was actually separated from the nuclear briefcase.
But his worst mistake was anchoring us in Vietnam. Refuting the myth that he was about
to withdraw, Kennedy increased our troops there from 1,000 to 17,000 and refused to slow the Americanization of the
war, bluntly declaring, “I think we should stay.”
A second Kennedy term would have given us the same Vietnam catastrophe plus a possible
impeachment upon inevitable disclosures of the president’s involvement with a reckless CIA, the Mafia, and an endless
parade of women, including many prostitutes. At a minimum, the fairy tale bubble of “Camelot” would have burst and
Kennedy would finally pay for his excesses.
But, in our celebrity-worshipping pop culture, too many historians prefer the handsome,
herculean Jack of Camelot fame, the shining knight tragically struck down just before ending the cold war and getting
us out of ’Nam as depicted in the Oliver Stone fantasy film. Sadly, while JFK is great cinematic agitprop, it’s lousy
history. And historians know better.
Most scholars ranking Kennedy so highly are likely baby-boomers for whom he’s always
been an icon. As younger, less emotionally compromised historians take the field, JFK’s pedestal will likely be
"For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie--deliberate, contrived and dishonest--but the myth--persistent,
persuasive--of our forebears. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
" -–John F. Kennedy, Yale, 6/11/1962
"We shall be judged more by what we do at home than what we preach abroad."
-–John F. Kennedy, State of the Union 1963
teaches political science and history at Gainesville State College
where he also advises the Politically Incorrect and Chess Clubs. He is a life member of the Sons of Confederate
Veterans and the [Gen. James] Longstreet Society.
Secular Political Fanatics - Douglas Young
GOP Ascendency & Revisionism: Southern Strategy Vindicated - J.A. Davis
The Perils of Democracy, Part 5 - J.A. Davis & Steve Scroggins
Looking for Lincoln...Through Southern Conservative Eyes - Frank Conner
Race Hustlers in Damage Control Mode - J.A. Davis & S. Scroggins
Lincoln Hypocrisy - Steve Scroggins
More Lincoln Myths Exposed - J.A. Davis
Thomas Jefferson, Greatest of the Founding Fathers - Steve Scroggins
Order a Tombstone for the Republic - Frank Gillispie
Doomed to repeat? - Frank Gillispie
Liberty Lost Part 8 - J.A. Davis