As some of you know, I have had a life-long bias against JFK specifically, and the Kennedy clan in general. It isn't a "hate" bias - just innate dislike of their policies, methods, and as a small "r" republican, their quasi-monarchical habits and sense of entitlement. Iconography makes me a tad itchy too.
The only thing good I have to say about Kennedy's policies are concerning his economic and tax policy (something it took me into my late 30s to grudgingly give him the credit he deserved for it) and his advocacy for Special Forces. As for everything else - just put me down as having a Cuban-exile-familyesque view of Kennedy and leave it at that.
Thomas E. Ricks put together in a short post about 85% of the Executive Summary why when it comes to JFK, people should take the gauze off their lens and think, not feel.
As I studied the Vietnam war over the last 14 months, I began to think that John F. Kennedy probably was the worst American president of the previous century.Ummmm, yea. That is a good start.
In retrospect, he spent his 35 months in the White House stumbling from crisis to fiasco. He came into office and okayed the Bay of Pigs invasion ... Vienna summit conference and got his clock cleaned by Khrushchev ... the Cuban missile crisis and a whiff of nuclear apocalypse ... American descent into Vietnam. The assassination of Vietnam's President Diem ... decision to wage a war of attrition ... another coup that JFK supported earlier in 1963: the Baathist one in Iraq ... Anyway, I think his track record kind of makes even old Herbert Hoover look good.
No President is perfect - but on the foreign policy plane, few started more worse plays in such a short time than Kennedy.
One thing that makes Ricks's comments worth a nod is that he too has some cultural context to work around,
Tom Ricks, was born in Massachusetts and is the grandson and great-grandson of Democratic politicians there.Good. I think in the second decade of the 21st Century we can, at last, talk about JFK as adults.