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The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

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November 20, 2013 - 12:39 pm

camelot-dvd

1. Camelot. The brief Kennedy years represent for many in the media their own golden moment. JFK was their royalty, their idol, their ideal, their handsome and rich young war hero.  Jackie Kennedy was their queen.

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And then it was all cut short, like a Shakespearean tragedy or fairy tale. The mythic Camelot fell to lust. The American Camelot fell to an assassin. For those of us who grew up after JFK, it’s all so much history. I grew up around Dallas and heard about the assassination any time I visited anywhere else as a child, and later on I visited the Sixth Floor Museum. It’s haunting but it’s history. For many in that generation, which was mostly born after World War II and then ended up losing Vietnam, JFK provides a meaningful anchor point, or at least a point that they have infused with meaning. Don’t bring up his womanizing or how the Kennedy patriarch behaved toward the Nazis. None of that has any place in the myth.

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2. It provides them a chance to bash handy villains they already hate: Dallas, Texas, and the South. Not a JFK anniversary goes by without the New York Times publishing at least one piece blaming the assassination on Dallas, and more broadly on Texas and the South. The fact is, while Dallas had its share of mainstream Kennedy-haters, none of them fired a shot. Texas went narrowly for Kennedy in 1960. Dallas citizens actually turned out on November 22, 1963, to greet the Kennedys warmly. Even the horrible Zapruder film shows happy, cheering crowds lining the streets in Dealey Plaza just to get a glimpse of the First Couple.

zapruder

One lone nut can change all that, and did, which is unsettling to the point of horror. But Dallas was not and is not to blame, any more than Ford’s Theater is to blame for Abraham Lincoln’s killing. Texas is not to blame. The South is not to blame. But many on the left would rather blame their preferred villains than look at the truth.

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3. The truth is more horrible than the fiction. The truth is, the assassination of John F. Kennedy is the killing of one of life’s genetic lottery winners by a small-time loser. If JFK was larger than life, his killer was much smaller than life. The JFK assassination could have been a conspiracy, but it probably wasn’t. The evidence points directly at one man whose ideology, coupled with his combination of grandiosity and mediocrity, led him to kill the president in order to elevate himself.

Lee Harvey Oswald Backyard Photograph

Lee Harvey Oswald was a Communist who had defected to the Soviet Union, become disillusioned, returned to the U.S., and then supported the Communist Castro regime in Cuba against the United States. He wanted to be a big man. Kennedy, the president of the United States, fit the definition of a Big Man perfectly. He was a resolute anti-Communist. Oswald was a traitor who put his ideology above his country. He was also barely employable because he had no skills apart from rabble rousing. He knew how to use a rifle, and that was the extent of his abilities. Ideologically he may have been the first Occupier. He was someone whose outsized self-esteem frustrated and bedeviled him. It destroyed his marriage. It ultimately cost him and police officer J. D. Tippit and President Kennedy their lives. The killing had no broader meaning. It was the act of a madman taking revenge on the leader of the world because he failed and never fit in. But because he killed a man that the media and left idolized, they infuse his madness with deeper meaning.

But supposing the conspiracies have any truth in them, the villain still is not Dallas or Texas or the South. The villain then is the very government that the left wants to grant more and more power. Oswald is either just a willing participant in a grander scheme, or maybe even a victim himself.

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4. What might have been… On CNN, Gerald Posner made this somewhat gruesome point: Kennedy is remembered as “great” mainly because he didn’t have enough time to make too many mistakes.

Would JFK have prevented the Vietnam debacle? We’ll never know? Would the wasteful Great Society programs have happened on his watch? We’ll never know. Would Kennedy have been as effective on civil rights as LBJ turned out to be? JFK’s assassination resonates for the same reason that Marilyn Monroe’s image still sells posters. Their youthful image is all we have, and we can dream and speculate about what might have been, because we were robbed of the reality.

The two most lionized assassinated presidents are very different in this respect. Abraham Lincoln is lionized because of what he did in office. He existed before the media age, when image was far less important than thoughts and action. The first Republican president preserved the Union, he freed the slaves, he was a self-made man and profound thinker and writer and debater who handed down thoughts that we still study and recite today. We just passed the 150th anniversary of his Gettysburg Address, arguably the most important address ever delivered by an American president. In that brief address Lincoln gave meaning to the bloody Civil War that still raged, calling America to a “new birth of freedom, under God” to preserve liberty for future generations.

John Kennedy, on the other hand, is the first media age president. He is lionized mainly due to the possibilities lost because his time was cut tragically short, and because the image of the man is forever young and vigorous.

The two other American presidents who were assassinated while in office, James Garfield and William McKinley, both Republicans, are mostly forgotten.

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5. They (we) love a conspiracy theory. For all the left’s talk of devotion to logic and facts, they love to craft and sell conspiracy theories. As soon as a conservative comes along to fund causes they believe in, the left will craft wheels within wheels to explain it all. They will turn the new funder into a boogeyman, an enemy of the state. When a liberal policy fails it’s not their fault, it’s the Republicans’ fault. Barack Obama is particularly fond of that one. The Warren Commission, LBJ’s corruption, the “magic bullet,” Oliver Stone’s JFK  — it’s all fertile soil for conspiracies to grow left, right and center. The JFK assassination affords the opportunity to gaze wistfully at a perfect past that never really was, and to blame the usual suspects — the CIA, the military-industrial complex, the South, Republicans — for its demise.

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6. He was a Democrat. This is the shallowest reason that Kennedy is still lionized in the media, but it’s a fact that three of the four assassinated presidents were Republicans, yet Kennedy is the only one so revered. Part of that has to do with his timing. Kennedy came after a pragmatic and unglamorous Republican president, Eisenhower, and ahead of a corrupt machine Democrat and then a disgraced Republican. By comparison to the surrounding presidents, JFK was young and glamorous and lost too soon. His spot in history also comes at the dawn of the media age, before the onset of Vietnam, the drug culture, the dissolution of the family and the decline of Western confidence, and before Reagan’s restoration of the latter. In terms of policy, he opposed Communism, sought to keep the Soviets in check, and cut taxes, putting him on the center-right in today’s politics. The fact is, the Bush family is strikingly similar to the Kennedys — wealthy, powerful, producer of dynastic political power — but will never be as lionized by the media, both because of the tragedies that befell the Kennedys, and because the Kennedys are Democrats.

About 90% of the media vote Democratic. When they seek subject matter experts, they tend to gravitate toward fellow liberals and their own institutions. It’s only natural that the same media would lionize Democrats past and present, shielding Obama now, making a statesman out of Bill Clinton, glossing over the failures of the Carter years while whittling away at the successes of the Reagan years. We never hear much about the efficiency of the Eisenhower years or his record on civil rights, but you can’t get Doris Kearns Goodwin to stop talking up how “great” Johnson was despite his obvious corruption.

John Kennedy was a chiseled Democrat who had it all, cut down in his prime. The media mythologize him because they just can’t help themselves.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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Top Rated Comments   
My father laughed when he first heard this statement. Sgt Phil was a prewar regular trained on the '03 Springfield. He said anybody in his company could have made those shots. Time was not a factor because the first round is already chambered. Later analysis should 8.4 seconds instead of the first estimates of 6.8. That is more than enough time to get off three well aimed shots. The rear seat in the limo was elevated which fully accounts for the action of the so-called magic bullet. There was line of sight obstructiton.

Have you ever fired a bolt action rifle? I will require indisputable visual evidence that you have given that you beieve the shot was impossible.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
About twenty years ago I read an article by historian Robert Remini, a good Democrat and Jackson scholar. He believed that had Kennedy lived there would have been no honor, just disgrace. He said that the Kennedy womanizing, certain political death in the 60s, and his ties to mob boss Sam Giancana would have been exposed leading to either defeat in the 1964 election or resignation in his second term. That is the most honest assessment of the Kennedy legacy that I ever saw.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
My father was a cop on the NYPD for 29 years, 21 of those as a detective. He told me that in his entire law enforcement career he never saw three guys get away with anything. One guy? No problem, he can get away with something. Two guys? It's possible, if their bond is tight enough. But three or more? Someone always talks. Always.

That's why most conspiracy theories, and particularly the JFK, 9/11 and moon landing ones, all fall apart. In order to be true they all require scores if not hundreds of people who are not only supernaturally competent but also maniacally dedicated enough to take their secrets to the grave. Hundreds of people who ALL, every single one, have to resist not only their own consciences but the wealth and fame they could have for spilling their guts.

It's simply not possible.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (82)
All Comments   (82)
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my favorite observation

When a Communist shot JFK, liberals lost their hearts. When a Palestinian shot RFK, liberals lost their minds.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
The left's fascination with JFK is simple: he came from connections to organized crime, incl. gun running, prostitution, illegal whiskey peddling, numbers games & more. Joe Kennedy was a criminal who had the right connections (on both sides of the law) to stay above the laws that applied to everyone else. Some believe Joe Kennedy is Bill Clinton's biological father, which would make him JFK's half-brother.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ultimately The person who killed Kennedy was Kennedy, when he refused to ride in the Limo with the top on it.
Perhaps this attitude by Kennedy is what got his PT boat cut in half by a IJN Destroyer in the Beckett straits.
Riding about in a Narcissistic daze of adulation is no way to survive when you make as many enemies as Kennedy did.
Hero? He is the reason for our involvement in Vietnam and the deaths of close to 58,000 American's and almost 2 million Vietnamese.

Oswald did the deed and without help.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was a pre-teen in 1963. In 50 years, I have yet to see any real physical evidence that pointed to anyone but Oswald. There have been lots of books and theories and photos blown up and enhanced multitudes of times that purport to show Sarah Palin on the grassy knoll with a howitzer, but nothing concrete and certainly nothing that would stand up in court. Nothing. Oswald is it. Deal with it, MSM.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another reason for the disparate treatment of Kennedy v. other assassinations was this one was televised.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
And yet the majority of conspiracy writers aren't liberals at all. They are government-skeptic writers of one style or another who believe the assassination was more about inter-government affairs than extra-government- which kind of blows the whole intent of this article. Given the nature of the people who populate high positions in the government, I'm inclined to give some credence to ideas like that.

It should be noted that Kennedy, what with being, in memoriam, a great liberal, was actually more of a liberal of the crony-capitalist type, with a clear understanding of the importance to the great families of reasonably sound economics. There's plenty of grudge-room in that, at high levels.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another thing the left seems to forget about JFK is that he loved him some nukes. He ordered a series of above ground nuclear tests. And even restarted controversial high altitude nuclear detonations. Earlier high altitude tests caused wide spread disruption of radio communications and even caused some blackouts in Hawaii and so they discontinued. He restarted the program in the lead up to the Cuban missile crisis and approved testing at even higher altitudes despite the warnings from scientists and the disapproval from the public at large. The first high altitude bomb test that JFK ordered crippled several satellites in orbit including the very first commercial communications satellite, Telstar I. Subsequent tests that were supposed to go to even higher altitudes were cancelled to avoid damaging other satellites.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another reason the left keeps the narrative going; Oswalt was at one time, a US Marine. The left hates the USMC.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Over twenty years ago, when it was still being run by guys like P.J. O'Rourke, the "National Lampoon" put out a full issue that was called "Kennedy - The First 10,000 Days." The conceit was that it was Jackie who was gunned down in the limousine and JFK went on to become President in perpetuity. It was absolutely hilarious and a refreshing change to the maudlin funeral rhetoric that always surrounds the Kennedys. I remember one of the "items" covered in the magazine was the "fact" that, although Kennedy kept us out of Vietnam, he got us involved in a "Land war in Northern Ireland" on behalf of the IRA. There was a fake Time magazine cover with Fr. Daniel Berrigan in military uniform on it entitled "Fightin Father Berrigan with our Boys in Ulster." The whole thing was a perfect send-up of the Kenedy myth and is, as far as I can tell, severely out of print.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
If it's the same one I remember, it had a list of top Kennedy era songs. One of them was something like "Hey Wendy, Urban Renewal Took Away All My Song Writing Material" by Bruce Springsteen.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just did a little research and that issue actually was entitled, "Kennedy - The First 6,000 Days" and come out in 1977. Man the years are flying by fast!
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kennedy and wife were also young and telegenic. The left worships youth (except in its current leader class) and image. Kennedy can be sold as the left's White Knight and the rank and file will eat it up, since they typically know nothing about history or current events beyond echochambered soundbites.

It also helps to keep the assassination front and center in case it happens again, to a Democrat. A Republican gets it and they'd cheer. A democrat gets it and they'd sell all of their rights if it meant getting even.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
The left worships youth and non-whiteness, which is why it needed Barry Obama as its mouthpiece. Who'd listen to nasty old white people like Reid and Pelosi?
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
and I think you are spot on, especially with how those that listened to the debates thinking Nixon won, but those watching on TV, mesmerized by his looks and charm, having him win.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you think the Bush/Gore dustup over vote counting was tough, Nixon could have contested the outright corruption in Texas and especially Illinois (sound familiar?) that gave the extremely close election to Kennedy.

It was Nixon's concern for the country's unity that gave him the grace to concede the election. Compare Gore's selfishness that did indeed plunge us into our current hyper-partisanship. That item alone puts Nixon ahead of Gore.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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