Saturday, June 7, 2008

Senator, You're No Jack Kennedy

With the endorsement of Sen. Ted Kennedy, and John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s daughter Caroline Kennedy serving on his Vice-Presidential selection committee, the references to Sen. Barack Obama as a throwback to the days of Camelot and the heir apparent to the legacy of Robert Kennedy have become common in the media. It is not hard to see the parallels. Obama is young and energetic, with a telegenic family including two young children. He speaks in grand themes and has an oratorical style that inspires confidence. Both Kennedys were possessed of these gifts.

But Kennedy was not a liberal in the modern sense of the word, the way Obama is. Kennedy believed in a strong national defense, he believed in intervening in foreign countries’ affairs in service of U.S. national security interests, and he advocated tax cuts as a means of stimulating the economy. All three of these are anathema to today’s liberals.

Obama wants to withdraw completely from Iraq, regardless of the consequences for the United States and the region. Kennedy understood that projecting U.S. military power abroad was an essential part of both the ideological struggle between America and her adversaries and keeping the homeland safe. Obama wants to negotiate with America’s enemies, instead of confronting them on the global stage. Kennedy met with Kruschev, yes. But he understood that the Soviet Union was engaged in a struggle for supremacy with the West that envisioned Soviet dominance in Europe and the strategic defeat of the United States. He didn't just talk either. Kennedy took action, blockading Cuba, an act of war, and airlifting supplies to Berlin when Soviet aggression spilled out of the negotiating room. Lastly, Obama wants to repeal most of the Bush tax cuts, including the cut in capital gains tax rates. That tax that hits a large percentage of Americans who own investments and is not adjusted for income. Kennedy understood that reducing tax rates on businesses and individuals was a sure fire way to jump start economic growth. Kennedy knew that the pie was not fixed in size, like today's liberals and Obama do. Kennedy understood that growth would benefit everyone, without government control.

Kennedy would be a moderate Republican today. Obama is a standard issue liberal, the most liberal member of the Senate. Like everything else with Obama, the comparison with Kennedy is only on the surface. Once one takes a closer look, a very different picture is revealed.

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