I'm not so sure about that. He was calculating and the consummate political animal. Like all politicians, he did what was best for him and his political future more than what was best for the country. Yet he milked the whole 'Camelot' crap for all it was worth.
And please, please, do not engage in the causal slander of his and his brother's military service that seems to be nearly mandatory on Free Republic.
What criticism I may have of JFK does not extend to his military service. His actions as CO of PT-109 reflect well on him, and he probably deserved more than the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for saving the survivors in his crew.
The N&MCM criteria perfectly describe what he accomplished though the effort he put forth to do it may not be adequately recognized. The colored star medals, cross, and MOH are about combat or (some Bronze Stars) combat support. He was not in combat at the time. The medal was the minimum he deserved and the maximum that could be justified under the circumstances, and it made a pretty good movie script.
I’m not sure that being calculating and self-interested or milking a favorable public image would make a politician, or anyone else, a “phony”. If so, who among is for real?