LARRY ELDER: He was one of America’s most popular president –handsome, charismatic, a war hero. He believed a strong military was the best guarantor of peace. He explained that cutting taxes was the best way to grow the economy. He firmly opposed racial quotas, and was horrified by the idea of unrestricted abortions. Can you name him?
Here’s one more clue: He was not a Republican. The answer? John F Kennedy.
When he was elected in 1960, Kennedy’s views were considered mainstream in the Democratic Party. But while the Kennedy name is still revered by the Democrats today, the policies he espoused are not…
If Kennedy were alive now, which party would he belong to? It is impossible to know of course, but we can compare his political positions to those of today’s Democratic party.
On race: JFK disliked the idea of using racial preferences and quotas to make up for historic racism and discrimination. Today, affirmative action is Democratic Party orthodoxy. But Kennedy thought the policies were counterproductive.
“I don’t think we can undo the past,” Kennedy said. “We have to do the best we can now. I don’t think quotas are a good idea. We are too mixed, this society of ours, to begin to divide ourselves on the basis of race or color.”
On taxes, Kennedy was a proponent of across the board tax cuts, believing that more cash in the hands of Americans, including the so-called wealthy, and a lighter footprint from the IRS would grow the economy. “A tax cut means higher family income, and higher business profits,” Kennedy said in an address to the nation shortly before his death.
Every family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education, and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits… or put it to work expanding or improving his business.
On foreign policy, Kennedy was very firm about his red lines. When the Soviet Union built missile sites in Cuba… Kennedy threatened a decisive military response. The Soviet Union backed down. JFK believed, as Reagan did, in peace through strength, not strength through peace. In his inaugural address, Kennedy made the case for a strong U.S. military. He saw this as the only way to deter America’s enemies.
“Only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt, can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed,” he said…
Today, if a Democrat advocated the positions on race, taxes, foreign policy, guns, and abortion, that our 35th president once did, he wouldn’t be a Democrat. He’d belong to the other party.