Skip to comments.Nixon and Kennedy: The Myths and Reality
Posted on 11/19/2013 9:12:32 AM PST by Kaslin
Had there been no Dallas, there would been no Camelot.
There would have been no John F. Kennedy as brilliant statesman cut off in his prime, had it not been for those riveting days from Dealey Plaza to Arlington and the lighting of the Eternal Flame.
Along with the unsleeping labors of an idolatrous press and the propagandists who control America's popular culture, those four days created and sustained the Kennedy Myth.
But, over 50 years, the effect has begun to wear off.
The New York Times reports that in the ranking of presidents, Kennedy has fallen further and faster than any. Ronald Reagan has replaced him as No. 1, and JFK is a fading fourth.
Kennedy is increasingly perceived today as he was 50 years ago, before word came that shots had been fired in Dallas.
That he was popular, inspirational, charismatic, no one denied. But no one would then have called him great or near great. His report card had too many C's, F's and Incompletes.
His great legislative victory had been the passage of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. His tax cut bill was buried on the Hill.
His triumph had been forcing a withdrawal of Soviet missiles from Cuba. But we would learn this was done by a secret deal for the withdrawal of U.S. missiles from Turkey and a secret pledge not to invade Cuba.
And after the missile crisis, Bobby Kennedy pushed the CIA to eliminate Castro, eliciting a warning from Fidel that two could play this game. Lyndon Johnson said that under the Kennedys, the CIA had been running "a damned Murder Inc. in the Caribbean."
What caused Nikita Khrushchev to think he could get away with putting rockets in Cuba? His perception that JFK was a weak president.
Kennedy had denied air cover for the Cuban patriots at the Bay of Pigs, resulting in the worst debacle of the Cold War. He was then berated and humiliated by Khrushchev at the Vienna Summit in June 1961.
In August, Khrushchev built the Berlin Wall. Kennedy sat paralyzed.
In September, Khrushchev smashed the three-year-old nuclear test-ban moratorium with a series of explosions featuring, at Novaya Zemlya, a 57-megaton "Tsar Bomba," the largest man-made blast ever.
"Less profile, more courage," the placards read.
In Southeast Asia, JFK had Averell Harriman negotiate a treaty for neutralizing Laos, resulting in Hanoi's virtual annexation of the Ho Chi Minh trail through Laos into South Vietnam.
Where Eisenhower had 600 advisers in Vietnam, JFK increased it to 16,000 and gave his blessing to a generals' coup in which our ally, President Ngo Dinh Diem, was assassinated.
Then and there, Vietnam became America's war.
Kennedy had made a famous phone call to Mrs. Martin Luther King during the 1960 campaign when her husband had been arrested. Yet, he kept his administration away from the March on Washington and directed J. Edgar Hoover to wiretap Dr. King to learn of his associations with Communists.
Since his death, Kennedy's reputation has been ravaged by revelations of assignations and mistresses from Marilyn Monroe to Mafia molls to White House interns from Miss Porter's School.
All of this was covered up by his courtier journalists who would collaborate in perpetuating the Kennedy myth and collude in destroying their great hate object, Richard Nixon.
Yet, contrast what Nixon did, with what JFK failed to do.
Where Kennedy managed to get Gov. George Wallace to admit two black students to the University of Alabama, Nixon desegregated 70 percent of all Southern public schools.
Where the JFK-LBJ administration spent eight years putting 535,000 U.S. troops into a war they could neither end nor win, Nixon withdrew all U.S. troops in four years, brought home the POWs, and left every provincial capital in South Vietnamese hands.
Where Kennedy had the Peace Corps, Nixon ended the draft, gave 18-year-olds the right to vote, created an Environmental Protection Agency and a Cancer Institute and an Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
Where Kennedy gave speeches about detente, Nixon negotiated the greatest arms treaties since the Washington Naval Agreement -- SALT I and the ABM treaty -- ended decades of hostility between the U.S. and the People's Republic of China, rescued Israel in the Yom Kippur War, and pulled Egypt out of the Soviet bloc into the U.S. camp.
Creating a new majority that would dominate presidential politics until 1992, Nixon was rewarded with a 49-state landslide in 1972.
Whereupon a press elite that had maintained a conspiracy of silence on Kennedy's misconduct, seized on Nixon's failure to deal decisively with misconduct in his campaign to bring him down in the first successful coup d'etat in U.S. political history.
The mythologizing of JFK and demonization of Nixon tell us less about respective accomplishments than the moral character of an establishment, which, though it had lost America by '72, still controlled the culture, media, bureaucracy and Congress.
And as they brought down Nixon with Watergate, they would seek to bring down Reagan with Iran-Contra. But that coup failed.
well lemme see, a believer in smaller government. managed to crush a strike.espoused supply side economics. big favorite of the super rich....geez. am i talking about kennedy or reagan?
There is a reason dictators hate a free press.
Nixon also came up with Affirmative Action and, in doing so, managed to give the Democrats more power than they could have imagined.
Over the years, I have both celebrated and reviled Pat Buchanan. I supported him in the 1996 primaries and worked in his campaign in Louisiana. I was furious with him for his non-support when we had troops in harm’s way in the Second Gulf War.
But when he gets his pencil good and sharp, no one can turn a phrase any better.
I remember my 9h grade civics teacher telling me that Goldwater was more popular than Kennedy. That had to be shortly before the assassination of Kennedy, followed by the character assassination of Goldwater by LBJ.
I never bought it. Not even close.
Kennedy would not be welcomed in the Democrat Party of Reid-Pelousy-ohBummer.
especially for his “ask not...” speech. the dems got 180 degrees turned around with that one, eh?
C'mon Pat...your bragging about these????
What is the consensus on FR, I wonder.
Did LBJ have JFK murdered?
Was LBJ about to be dropped from the ticket in 1964, then prosecuted for his massive corruption?
Was the shooter Oswald, or Malcolm Wallace and/or others?
Did LBJ dive to the floor of his car as it entered Dealey Plaza, before the first shot was fired?
LBJ was a vile human being and I think he could have had a role in the assassination.
LBJ coined the term affirmative action at his speech at Howard University in 1965, but Nixon made it a reality. Julie Nixon Eisenhower in time took it to mean she had to endorse Obama.
I read recently that LBJ is believed to have ordered ten to seventeen murders.
My first taste of politics came in the Nixon/Kennedy campaign. I was in 1st grade. We walked to school in those days (unsupervised!). The big kids (3rd graders?) were guarding the entrywalk to the school and asking us all who our parents were going to vote for. “What are the choices?” says I. “Nixon or Kennedy” says they. I chose Nixon and received my introduction to the way Kennedy Democrats play politics in Massachusetts. Helping ‘Rats to fail has been a lifelong obsession ever since.
“Did LBJ dive to the floor of his car as it entered Dealey Plaza, before the first shot was fired?”
I say no, because too many people would have seen it. Somebody would have talked.
“LBJ was a vile human being and I think he could have had a role in the assassination.”
Sure he could, but there was such a long line of people who wanted JFwadK dead, that one guess is as good as another.
did you ever hear/see this interview? It might remove any doubt.
A very strange statement. He seems to have forgotten the video of the last helicopters leaving the embassy, all the boat people in the harbor, the mass killings, and the takeover of the South by the North, all in less than a year.
To suggest this was a Nixonian triumph is a bit much.
Yes, there is a lot of incriminating evidence on LBJ. He also made inappropriate sexual remarks to Jackie Kennedy. Bill Clinton would have been best buddies with him.
What you just described was a result of the democrats cutting off all funding and Ford going along with it.
I know South Vietnamese pilots who said they would only get enough fuel to fly to the target and back home. The NVA would move the target out of range. A pilot told me he could see the target but didn’t have enough fuel to make it there and back home.
And don’t forget those brave men on the bridge who fought to the death with nothing but their hands because they had ran out of ammo.
JFK was shot by Oswald, the sole and only assassin, who acted alone.
That’s very telling. Thanks.
THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS - KENNEDY’S SECOND BACKSTAD
BY Humberto Fontova
That Khrushchev swept the floor with Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis was a mainstream American view throughout much of the Cold War. Nixon and Goldwater, for instance, represented opposite poles of the Republican establishment of their time.
“We locked Castro’s communism into Latin America and threw away the key to its removal,” growled Barry Goldwater about the JFKs Missile Crisis solution.
“Kennedy pulled defeat out of the jaws of victory, complained Richard Nixon. “Then gave the Soviets squatters rights in our backyard.”
Generals Curtis Le May and Maxwell Taylor represented opposite poles of the military establishment.
“The biggest defeat in our nation’s history!” bellowed Air Force chief Curtis Lemay while whacking his fist on his desk upon learning the details of the deal.
“We missed the big boat,” complained Gen. Maxwell Taylor after learning of same.
“We’ve been had!” yelled then Navy chief George Anderson upon hearing on October 28, 1962, how JFK “solved” the missile crisis. Adm. Anderson was the man in charge of the very “blockade” against Cuba.
“It’s a public relations fable that Khrushchev quailed before Kennedy,” wrote Alexander Haig. “The legend of the eyeball to eyeball confrontation invented by Kennedy’s men paid a handsome political dividend. But the Kennedy-Khrushchev deal was a deplorable error resulting in political havoc and human suffering through the America’s.”
Even Democratic luminary Dean Acheson despaired: “This nation lacks leadership,” he grumbled about the famous Ex-Comm meetings so glorified in Thirteen Days. “The meetings were repetitive and without direction. Most members of Kennedy’s team had no military or diplomatic experience whatsoever. The sessions were a waste of time.”
But not for the Soviets. “We ended up getting exactly what we’d wanted all along,” snickered Nikita Khrushchev in his diaries, security for Fidel Castros regime and American missiles removed from Turkey and Italy. Until today the U.S. has complied with her promise not to interfere with Castro and not to allow anyone else to interfere with Castro. After Kennedy’s death, his successor Lyndon Johnson assured us that he would keep the promise not to invade Cuba.”
In fact Khrushchev prepared to yank the missiles before any bullying by Kennedy. What! Khrushchev gasped on Oct. 28th 1962, as recalled by his son Sergei. Is he (Fidel Castro) proposing that we start a nuclear war? That we launch missiles from Cuba?
Yesterday the Cubans shot down a plane (U-2 with) without (Soviet) permission. Today theyre preparing a nuclear attack.
But that is insane!...Remove them (our missiles) as soon as possible! Before its too late. Before something terrible happens! commanded the Soviet premier.
So much for the gallant Knights of Camelot forcing the Russians retreat. In fact, the Castro brothers and Che Guevaras genocidal lust is what prompted the Butcher of Budapest to yank the missiles from their reach.
In his diaries Khrushchev snickers further: “it would have been ridiculous for us to go to war over Cubafor a country 8,000 miles away. For us, war was unthinkable.” So much for the threat that so rattled the Knights of Camelot and inspired such cinematic and literary epics of drama and derring-do by their court scribes and court cinematographers.
Considering the U.S. nuclear superiority over the Soviets at the time of the (so-called) Missile Crisis (five thousand nuclear warheads for us, three hundred for them) it’s hard to imagine a President Nixon much less Reagan quaking in front of Khrushchev’s transparent ruse a la Kennedy.
The genuine threat came —not from Moscowbut from the Castros and Che. If the missiles had remained, we would have fired them against the very heart of the U.S., including New York. The victory of socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims. (Che Guevara to Sam Russell of The London Daily Worker, November 1962.)
Of course I knew the missiles were nuclear- armed, responded Fidel Castro to Robert McNamara during a meeting in 1992. Thats precisely why I urged Khrushchev to launch them. And of course Cuba would have been utterly destroyed in the exchange.
My dream is to drop three Atomic Bombs on New York City (Raul not FidelCastro, Nov. 1960.)
The Kennedy teams brainstorming sessions were certainly no waste of time for the primary beneficiary. “Many concessions were made by the Americans about which not a word has been said,” snickered Fidel Castro as late as 1968. “Perhaps one day they’ll be made public.”
“We can’t say anything public about this agreement. It would be too much of a political embarrassment for us.” That’s Robert F. Kennedy to Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin when closing the deal that ended the so-called crisis.
(All above quotes are fully documented in “Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant.”)
Castro’s regime’s was granted new status. Let’s call it MAP, or Mutually-Assured-Protection. Cuban freedom-fighters working from south Florida were suddenly rounded up for “violating U.S. neutrality laws.” Some of these bewildered men were jailed, others “quarantined,” prevented from leaving Dade County. The Coast Guard in Florida got 12 new boats and seven new planes to make sure Castro remained unmolested.
JFK’s Missile Crisis solution also pledged that he immediately pull the rug out from under Cuba’s in-house freedom fighters. Raul Castro himself admitted that at the time of the Missile Crisis his troops and their Soviet advisors were up against 179 different “bands of bandits” as he labeled the thousands of Cuban anti-Communist rebels then battling savagely and virtually alone in Cuba’s countryside, with small arms shipments from their compatriots in south Florida as their only lifeline.
Kennedy’s deal with Khrushchev cut this lifeline. Think about it: here’s the U.S. Coast Guard and Border patrol working ‘round the clock arresting Hispanics in the U.S. who are desperate to return to their native country.
This ferocious guerrilla war, waged 90 miles from America’s shores, might have taken place on the planet Pluto for all you’ll read about it in the MSM and all you’ll learn about it from Kennedys court scribes, who scribbled Kennedys victory. To get an idea of the odds faced by those betrayed Cuban rebels, the desperation of their battle and the damage they wrought, you might revisit Tony Montana during the last 15 minutes of “Scarface.”
It’s a tribute to the power of Castroite mythology that, even with all this information a matter of public record for almost half a century the academic/media mantra (gloat, actually) still has Castro, “defying ten U.S. Presidents!” Instead hes been protected by them.
Okay, I understand what you're saying, but let's not pretend this was a good example of how great Nixon was. The man put on wage and price controls, started the EPA, affirmative action, and wasn't particularly an honest man.
How about Pat does a comparison to a genuine conservative like Reagan, instead of prop up his old boss?
Padre, not much interest on this site. Very few have studied it. The “Oswald was a commie” explanation suits them fine.
Oswalds aunt, Mrs. Lillian Murret ... for whom did she work? And her daughter Marilyn.
Nixon doubled down on Johnson creating the EPA, OSHA, and Affirmative Action. Too bad Reagan didn't get the nomination in 68'. But at least he bowled better than Obama.
I agree with 90% except it’s not clear Kennedy was wrong to back off a bit with the Soviets. The Cold War was young Kruschev was unstable and possibility of nuclear war seemed likely. I know Nixon felt we should have taken Cuba, sounds good but I’m not so sure.
Good article. Thanks.
Somebody has. That’s why I’ve heard about it.
When, after the assassination, one of the Kennedy people was about to come out with a book (I think it may have been Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.), he let Jackie go over it first. She went through and crossed out anything favorable about LBJ.
LBJ in Altgen photo?
BIG mistakes, both.
Pat would have written, You’re.
Pat would have spelled it you’re.
It was more than two years. The cease fire (Paris Peace Accords in Jan, 1973.
Nixon resigned (Aug., 1974).
The radical left (Watergate Class)took over congress (Jan. 1975) and cut off all funding and air support for South Vietnam.
Saigon fell (April 1975.)
My first presidential vote came that year, and it was for Nixon. I was on active duty in the Air Force at the time. Little did I know that I would get to know President Nixon years later, or get an appointment from him, both of which I did.
My husband always thought it was Lady Bird, who had Kennedy killed. I never liked LBJ especially after the war on poverty reform
...and he would have been correct!
I am sorry, but you are incorrect. Nixon did, in fact, end the Vietnam war, and left the country in control of the South Vietnamese.
Most of us Vietnam vets who were in the Army in 1972 voted for Nixon. You are correct.
Somebody has talked.
The point is no one died in Watergate, unlike Fast and Furious and Benghazi
Anyone who questions the official account given to us by our betters in authority is a flaming nutter and you must angrily denounce and mock them. Never, ever question authority. Only ‘murka hating hating commie nazis question authority. You’re not a ‘murka hating commie nazi, are ya?!
You are comparing the post JFK/post 1960s Nixon to the old Nixon.
JFK changed America forever, and irreversibly, shortly after his death the democrats implemented his immigration goal to replace the American voters.
Congress passed a law lowering the voting age to 18 in federal elections. That would have created a headache for the states if citizens older than 18 but not yet 21 could vote in federal elections but not in state or local elections, so Congress quickly passed an amendment lowering the voting age to 18--it was approved by Congress on March 23, 1971, and was ratified by 3/4 of the states by July 1, 1971, becoming the 26th amendment. The President has no role in a constitutional amendment.
I'm not suggesting the leftists did not precipitate all of this or are not at fault, or that we might have won, but the idea that we did win is a fable as is the idea that this was somehow a Nixonian triumph. There is no reason for us to pretend something happened that didn't.
Was Kennedy a great president? Not likely. Was he the last democrat president that wasn't an American hating socialist tool? Yes. Was Nixon actually any better considering what he did and enacted? I'm not certain.