The other day my 19 year-old daughter commented that she hears so much about the greatness of John and Robert Kennedy, but can’t help being skeptical when the only visible evidence of the Kennedys available to her is the buffoonish Ted. I responded that, while her skepticism is healthy and warranted to some degree, she shouldn’t judge JFK and RFK based on their surviving brother because it was always clear that Ted was several cuts below his two elders. My daughter’s real point — that Ted Kennedy is an enduring embarrassment to the Kennedy name, warts and all — is difficult to challenge.
Today, as if on cue, Kennedy weighs in with this fluff piece comparing John Kerry to JFK. The piece is content-free except to the extent that it identifies the Iraq war as the overriding issue in the election and castigates President Bush for initiating that war. Kennedy neglects to mention that John Kerry voted for the war. Moreover, over the years Kennedy has perhaps forgotten that his brother John was a foreign policy hawk. Indeed, with the exception of Barry Goldwater, I can’t think of a presidential candidate in the past 50 years whose views of our nation’s role in the world differed more from Kerry’s than JFK’s. Reasonable minds can differ, perhaps, about the threat posed by Saddam’s Iraq. But JFK’s pet foreign policy crises of the 1960 campaign — the “missile gap” and Quemoy and Matsu — were pure invention.
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