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Kennedy A Conservative? Only If We’re Feeling Charitable


Kennedy A Conservative? Only If We’re Feeling Charitable


Kennedy CGM

One of the things Pope Francis teaches us is that we should share, and that those of us who have more should be willing to give to those who are less fortunate. Those of us who are Democrats follow proudly in the footsteps of real champions of this idea — individuals who have fought for progress, economic justice, and equity. People we can be proud to call Democrats: FDR, JFK, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama.

By contrast, our Republican friends have pathetically little in their past to honor. That’s why you cannot listen to a Republican speech without every other word being “Reagan.” They simply don’t have anyone else, except Lincoln, of course, but he would not recognize this Republican Party as his own. So they have to find someone new to talk about — after all, they cannot talk about Sarah Palin. And in their quest to find a new hero, they have decided to claim John F. Kennedy as their own. They have determined, apparently, that underneath it all he was really a conservative Republican.

I know your first inclination is to think, “How can they say this?” But I think we Democrats should take our cue from Pope Francis, and be charitable. As the holidays approach, we should actually feel sorry for the sparsity of gifts they have under their holiday tree and share.

Oh, and to the question of whether John F. Kennedy was really a conservative? Perhaps we should ask Kennedy himself, because he actually had something to say about that:

If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people—their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties—someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say “I’m a Liberal.”

If you are still wondering, ask yourself if this sounds more like Bill Clinton or Sarah Palin.

So, my dear friends in the GOP, I’m in a giving mood. And in the spirit of Pope Francis, we will let you use Kennedy for the holidays — and then we’re gonna take him back.



  1. No2GOP November 22, 2013

    Bah, humbug, to that idea. I’m thinking Republicans don’t even deserve the lump of coal I have on order for them.

  2. gopersareignorant November 22, 2013

    I’m with no2gop below. All they need is a kick out the door in 2014. That is a gift they deserve like no one else and I am in the giving mood of the holiday season.

  3. patuxant November 22, 2013

    You know, James, the GOP has brass. If anyone was a TRUE Democrat it was Jack Kennedy. My dad was an elected official in our county for 16 years and served as a Democrat. He admired Kennedy so much, he had memorabilia all over his office. He met the President several times and we have photos showing it. Dad was even invited to the inauguration. It is sacrilege to claim JFK was a conservative Repub. Reminds me of P. Ryan grabbing at straws to claim Atlas Shrugged. Ayn would spit on him for his duplicity and hypocracy.

    1. VictorCraig November 22, 2013

      Jack Kennedy and members of his family, with the exception perhaps of their father, Joe, were and are wealthy people whose callings and actions have been closer to the teachings of Jesus than any so-called Christian in the Republican party.

      The Republicans represent and protect the wealthy among us who whose gifts to charity are views as tax deductions rather than help for the less fortunate.
      If people like Cantor and Ryan want to embrace JFK as one of their own, let them. Perhaps they might learn how to be better human beings, but, I doubt it

  4. Guestarootie November 22, 2013

    I’m more in the Young Frankenstein mode. “You (Republicans) get nothing!” Call me small but they deserve absolutely nothing other than contempt.

  5. Derek Ainsley November 22, 2013

    “People we can be proud to call Democrats: FDR, JFK, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama.” You omit LBJ. Like the “Head by Scopus” he had a beautiful side and a horrible side. We must honor his beautiful side along with the others.

    1. Catherine Dennington November 22, 2013

      I agree. It’s a shame Texas has gone the way of Rick Perry and Ted Cruz instead of LBJ. More of our legislators should read Robert Caro’s “Master Of The Senate” Volume 3 of his biographical series of LBJ to see how to make Congress work

    2. BOGDAN BILYK November 23, 2013

      LBJ was involved in assassinating Kennedy!

  6. Elliot J. Stamler November 22, 2013

    God bless James Carville..I wish Pres. Obama would speak out as firmly and clearly and determinedly as James always does. If he did he wouldn’t have the problems he has had now and throughout his tenure. I cast my very first vote when I turned 21 for John Kennedy-53 years ago-I remain so proud to have done so.

  7. Mortalc01l November 22, 2013

    In much the same way as the Mormons are posthumously converting Jews and other religious people to being Mormons today, the Republican party is attempting to posthumously convert JFK to a Tea Partier.

    These contemptible scumbags just don’t have ANY grasp of reality, do they? Their entire dogma seems to have morphed into a cult of lying and denial of fact.

  8. CloeLZ November 22, 2013

    Uh yeah. I can just imagine President Kennedy saying we need to further cut earned benefits and assistance for struggling seniors, families, students and disabled vets while demanding more tax breaks for wealthy bankers and corporate elitists who continue the immoral transfer of power and wealth to the very top. Maybe he was no saint, but he believed in his duty to protect the USA from all enemies, foreign AND domestic.

  9. Debby November 22, 2013

    He was a great man with vision. I find it repulsive that the GOP is using his good name. I can’t see JFK playing games; shutting down the gov’t until they get their way. They are spoiled brats and I pray that the people of this country remember at the polls.

  10. TOMC November 22, 2013

    Call that behavior what you want, I call those actions and behaviors describes by JFK just being a decent human , which seem to be becoming more extinct every day . Most folks don’t need a political party, club or even the Bible to be a decent person..Being good to one another shouldn’t be an after thought.

  11. BBWeekly November 23, 2013

    Our hearts are in the right place, in that we do want to honor JFK because he did embody a lot of what is great about America. So there are selective memories of him that those of us on the right can grasp in order to properly remember him with fondness. First of all, he meant a lot to our parents. I was born long after he died, but even my folks who went on to vote for Nixon twice profess a love for JFK. Second, a lot of those quotes sure are conservative, such as asking what you can do for your country (it certainly wasn’t a call to sit around and collect welfare checks). He called for tax cuts. He wanted balanced budgets. He stood up against Communism. He tried to oust Castro and to restore the Cuban people to dignity.
    And most of all, even though he was from New England he respected the South enough to move slowly and respectfully with changes to their traditions. The slower you go, the more lasting the change, and the smaller the eventual backlash. Respect pays dividends. Finally, JFK looks like one of the greatest Presidents of all time when you compare him to his successor, a mouse of a man who betrayed his state and region, escalated the Vietnam War, and handed out cash in the form of Great Society block grants in urban areas, leading to the riots of the 1960s and the ultimate destruction of once proud cities like Detroit. To this day, LBJ’s careless spending in the name of combating poverty has made it difficult to make similar investments. Compared to LBJ, who conservatives hate, JFK looks positively Reaganesque.

  12. Benjamin Dover November 25, 2013

    If we are to choose our own way, rather than having it dictated to us, our rewards must result from using our talents and abilities wisely.

  13. Igor Shafarevich December 4, 2013

    With life becoming more and more specialized, avoiding stress and discontent depends more and more upon identifying and engaging in the types of efforts most suited to our skills and personalities.

  14. gamesintx January 8, 2014

    Carville: The fact that you invoke the name of a minor fringe character like Sarah Palin identifies your comment as not-quite-serious. If you want to say something profound or at least have some impact, find another example of a “republican”. Get over the Palin thing, but I guess that won’t happen as long as you can get some mileage out of it (as evidenced from some other comments in this blog).

    In regards to Kennedy, no doubt Kennedy thought of himself as a liberal, but he didn’t know the Obama Progressives either, if he had he would have put as much distance between them as possible.

    A died-in-red Conservative.


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