Neither Camelot nor Cabaret

Christopher Hitchens is “glad to find that the Kennedy drama and the Kennedy cult is falling away into nothingness.” Before it fades away entirely, though, Hitchens does a number on the Kennedy presidency. There’s a fair amount of truth, I think, in Hitchens’ assessment, but in the end it is too harsh.
Let’s look at the big picture. Kennedy, with a massive assist from Lyndon Johnson, advanced the ball domestically. His foreign policy record is mixed, but he was able to hold the line against the Soviet Union, in its most aggressive phase, without going to war with the Soviets. And, although he deserves some blame for the Vietnam fiasco, it is unfair to attribute to him a decade of mistakes, including most of the decisive ones, that post-date his death.


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