Democrats Demonstrate Historical Amnesia

October 14, 2015

by Avi Davis

One of the most remarkable things about Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas was not the way the candidates sought to differentiate themselves from one another, but rather how much they struggled to make themselves look the same.

Part of this was due to the presence of a 72 -year-old firebrand, whose ideological weight made the stage sag way down to the far left and had all the candidates tumbling in that direction.  Bernie Sanders, with his calls for a political revolution, a crusade against Wall Street, free college tuition for all Americans and the break up of national banks sounded more like Fidel Castro in 1959, than a modern day American presidential contender.  And yet, he received by far the greatest applause of the evening, so long lasting  that at one point  the debate began to resemble a rally rather than a genuine exchange of ideas between thoughtful progressive candidates.

 

 

What is truly remarkable is how little resistance these entirely bankrupt and out- of-date ideas received from the other candidates.  When Jim Webb meekly attempted to challenge Sanders’ wild rhetoric  – pointing out that a political revolution is not exactly on the horizon and that Congress was unlikely to pay for the exorbitant programs Sanders was proposing, his criticisms were met with deafening silence.  Hillary Clinton, the long favored front runner, seemed too busy touting her experience and the fact that she is a female to be much engaged in confronting both Sanders’ and the audience’s silliness.

But letting this stuff go bears consequences.  That is because Sanders now has a national voice – which he may not have had before – and his brand of  socialist propaganda, which would never have passed muster 22 years ago when Bill Clinton faced off against his Democratic challengers, is going to be taken seriously in the upcoming presidential race.

The extraordinary thing is that here we are in 2015, twenty five years after the collapse of the world’s greatest failed experiment in socialism, in a country, by dint of its free enterprise system, which has ensured a greater level of prosperity for a greater proportion of its population, than any other nation in history.  Each one of the candidates harped on the great income disparity between rich and poor ( “the greatest gap since  the 1920s!,” at least three of them howled)  – but its all quite relative.  Even those in the lowest income brackets in our society today live lives of comfort and ease when compared to the existences of those same poor in the 1920s. Cell phones, 50″ television screens, owner-owned cars and a variety of other electronic  possessions can be seen in the homes of the most dirt poor areas of Detroit, New Orleans and East Los Angeles.  While these are not true determinants of income, they are symbols of an affluence that the poor in the rest of the world deeply envy and  why so many are risking their lives as illegal immigrants to cross our borders.

No one on that stage last night should have needed a history lesson in how socialism actually operates in the real world and how it significantly failed millions and upon millions of its adherents in the 20th Century.

 

 

But apparently no one was bold enough to stand up to Sanders and call him out for the ridiculous figure he casts in 21st Century American politics. They were all too busy retreading tired liberal tropes about brutal police tactics, institutional racism, billionaire avarice, climate change exigencies, Republican obstructionism, Wall Street chicanery and pharmaceutical industry malfeasance – all of which form part of Bernie Sanders’ bucket list of complaints against America.

And while Sanders was barking his socialist wares, Hillary Clinton was left free to address the country’s significant problems with broad platitudes. Although CNN host Anderson Cooper admirably continued to grill her about the consuming email scandal and her failures regarding Benghazi, none of her competitors seemed to consider these considerable vulnerabilities to be fair game. Sanders actually offered her a hand out of the furnace, seeming to agree with her that the concern of the country over her honesty and good faith, are not matters worthy of general discussion in Democratic circles but should be remaindered as Republican scare tactics.

The other big winner of the night was Barack Obama.  None of the candidates sought to distance themselves from Obama’s abysmal foreign policy record, the sluggish U.S. economy, his failures to assist his much venerated middle class, nor the Obamacare fiasco that any of them would need to fix immediately should they become President.  Clinton, whom the White House appears not too eager to see as as a presidential successor, went out of her way to avoid attacking Obama’s record and legacy, carefully sidestepping his most egregious failures.

This was the weak and uncourageous field which stood before the American public on the stage in Las Vegas last night.  We deserved and deserve much better.

 

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the editor of The Intermediate Zone

 


Paul Krugman’s Indefensible Defense of Barack Obama

October 24, 2014
Readers of Rolling Stone Magazine have long known what to expect from the bi-weekly’s acidulous commentaries:  anarchist screeds from the rather unbalanced Matt Taibbi; thinly researched and often specious investigative pieces from Tim Dickinson;  alarmist jeremiads from environmentalist hound dog Jeff Goodell and apoplectic harangues against Republicans, Tea Party groups and anyone else who espouses a right wing cause.  
 
The question, for those who regularly read genuinely powerful and well balanced commentary from other sources (from either the left OR right)  is: why bother with this stuff?  The unrepentant hippie-chic publication bathed in its love and peace- at-any-cost ethos, is in truth a hate mongering platform of the first order and in its advertising and feature articles on modern music and musicians often betrays a penchant for what used to be known as soft porn.  Can anyone really believe that this chronicle of modern nihilism has anything of importance to say about our national priorities?
 
You better believe it.   Rolling Stone’s influence today is far greater than any conservative gives it credit for and rather than being the standard bearer for long dormant 1960’s agitprop is in fact a mainstream publication, representing the views of a sizeable community within our intellectual classes. 
 
The magazine’s clout was ratcheted up several notches in 2010 when an article spotlighting Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal unveiled his antagonism to the Vice-President and several other senior members of the Obama Administration which in turn resulted in the General’s summary firing.  Since then the words of  such luminaries as Al Gore ( yes, but the man WAS Vice- President of the United States) and best selling authors such as Sebastian Junger and Stephen King have graced the magazine’s pages.  
 
Now comes an article by Nobel Laureate and New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, which is proudly announced as a defense of Barack Obama. Not content with actually defending Obama’s record, Krugman in the body of his article goes a step further announcing: “Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history.”
Hmm. Pretty bold stuff.  After all, this would have Barack Obama one day sipping martinis and chomping cigars with some of the greatest in American history. 
But can Barack Obama truly be spoken of in the same breath  as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln?
Perhaps so, but you would not actually know it from the arguments presented by Paul Krugman.  What you would learn instead  is that Barack Obama is a middling president who did the best he could with the cards he was played; that he was buffeted by an uncooperative Congress but  that he passed revolutionary health care reform legislation anyway- a remarkable success which will leave a lasting imprint on the nation. Then, after a cursory examination of  the President’s record on financial reform, the economy, the environment, national security and social change he concludes, almost with a sigh,  that” the extent of his partial success ranges from the pretty good to the not-so-bad to the ugly.”  In other words, although he might have received an overall “C” on his report card,  it was really not as bad a presidency as it could have been and it really could have been a lot worse.  Not exactly the exalted encomium we had been expecting but, hey, this is Paul Krugman – and when this modern day Oracle declares you mediocre  perhaps it actually means you are destined for greatness.  Mount Rushmore sculptors take heed:  Krugman has spoken; Prepare the mountain for its next great historical retrofit.
No one should mistake Krugman for an objective observer   – although he  has indeed been highly critical of the President in the past, mostly for not being radical enough!   But that doesn’t excuse or explain the crassness of this particular contribution or give anyone confidence that the President is destined to be remembered as the savior of his people.
For now lets bare the truth on this truly execrable piece of writing:  that it is so amatuerly written that it could have been cobbled together by a high school student with only a rudimentary understanding of economics, environmental policy and the social dynamics of a highly complex nation;  that its very self impressed author fails entirely to address foreign relations where Obama’s meandering policies have resulted in disaster upon diplomatic disaster;  that he significantly sidesteps the incessant rise of Islamic terrorism in places where the President only a year before had  declared them snuffed out;  that he refuses to engage in any discussion of  the mounting scandals – the Benghazi sacrifice of an ambassador; the IRS debacle, wherein one of the most important public institutions in the country was revealed to have been thoroughly corrupted by politics; or the Fast and Furious campaign which placed American firearms in the hands of terrorists and gangsters. Also absent from the pen of our Nobel laureate is any commentary on the enormous expansion of executive power which has torn a  deep unconstitutional gash in the fabric of the Presidency;  Nothing on the Administration’s failure  to address our collapsed border and the threat this poses to the lives and livelihoods of millions of citizens in our southern states;  Or on our ballooning national debt – four times the size it stood under George W. Bush; or on immigration, race relations and out-of -control  tortious litigation  – all of which have taken a turn for the worse during the past six years.   And finally no word on Obama’s grandest promise of them all – that he was going to become a consensus president, bridging differences between left and right, black and white, rich and poor  and that he  would exercise his well honed skills in the arts of persuasion. 
These are all missing from the piece because Krugman reveals himself to be quite uninterested in any of them.  For him,  “high office shouldn’t be about putting points on the electoral scoreboard, it should be about changing the country for the better. “
Ah, there it is:   The raw, thumping heart of liberal orthodoxy.   The idea of changing the country, of converting it into something different, something purer and something approximating that great utopian vision of armchair socialists over the centuries, drips through Krugman’s analysis, making it abundantly clear why he avoids uncomfortable topics.  For Krugman  – an economically equitable society, drained of all prejudice and bigotry, where man pays obeisance to Nature and where its abundant resources are distributed equally amongst the world’s citizens – should apparently be the goal of our presidents.  Open borders, multilateralism, military retrenchment, the punishment of successful entrepreneurs, pan-sexuality,  the cosseting of tyrants and campaigns to end the expansion of land use or the excavation of fossil fuels – are all elements that might fit snugly into such a vision. 
One wonders how the three presidents with whom our current  chief executive will one day (in Krugman’s estimation) share the same pantheon might have reacted to the mandate to “change the country.”  Washington, after all, fought to establish it;  Jefferson worked to consolidate it and Lincoln struggled to save it – all worthy enough endeavors for any modern day president.  Changing the country, one would think, requires a level of consensus building coupled with a consistent articulation of a shared vision – skills that even our finest Presidents have experienced some difficulty in mastering.  Abraham Lincoln, after all, did not begin his presidency with the idea of outlawing slavery;  he deflected the issue, fearful of its incendiary potential – and was only led to it by the realization that his nation could not survive without that institution’s eradication.  His genius as a leader was to tap into the vein of righteousness within the citizenry  and to pump that rich resource for all its corpuscular abundance into the heated campaign which produced the Emancipation Proclamation.
Barak Obama, in contrast, has never cast himself as a president who cares all that much about what the citizenry, at its very bedrock, either thinks or feels. He is actually one of the most insular presidents in living memory, whose policies and decisions have been largely driven by superficial poll numbers and a creaking, weathered leftist ideology, rather than an instinctive  grip on the nation’s pulse.  Images of the President’s aloofness are so plentiful as to be embarrassing:  the Presidential motorcade, speeding through the arterial roads of our major cities, delivering the Commander-in-Chief to yet another fundraising event; the photographed fist bump with golfing buddies  just moments after delivering a particularly somber response to the beheading of an American journalist; the constant hobnobbing with the glitterati who gush over his every pronouncement;  and of course the maintenance of a very deliberate distance from  the members of Congress, whom he seems to regard with a singular contempt.  The best that might be said of his feel for the American people is his familiarity with national sports as well as an impressive knowledge of the plot lines of such cable TV series as Homeland and Breaking Bad . The demonstration of that kind of indifference  puts him in league with such 1850s presidents  as Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan, both of whom would undoubtedly welcome him to their lonely outposts as the Presidents, who like Sergeant Schultz in Hogan’s Heroes, both knew nothing and saw nothing.
At his two inaugurations, Barak Obama took an oath of office  specified in Article TwoSection OneClause Eight of the United States Constitution:

 “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

How different would  Krugman’s assessment  have been had he used  that oath to measure Barak Obama’s presidential performance?  Maybe the author will soon recognize the empty spaces he left so glaringly open on the pages of his article and submit a more nuanced view of this presidency. Unlikely, perhaps. But if and when this revised version ever sees the light of day, the last place you can ever expect to find it is in the glossy, celebrity filled pages of Rolling Stone Magazine.   

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance in Los Angeles and blogs at The Intermediate Zone

This article first appeared, in an edited version, in the American Thinker

This article  first appeared, in an edited version in the American Thinker http://americanthinker.com/2014/10/paul_krugmans_indefensible_defense_of_barack_obama_.html


The Gay Marriage Dilemma of the Catholic Church

January 11, 2010

In the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal, an opinion piece titled Washington, Gay Marriage and the Catholic Church, reminded me of some of the warning signs I have seen in the nationwide drive for gay marriage across this country.

The  opinion piece focuses on the the problems that the  Catholic Archdiosece of Washington D.C,. is likely to encounter once the Washington District Council legalizes gay marriage in March this year.

While  other states including Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut, have provided an exemption to religious organizations from requiring them to recognize gay marriage, there is no indication that the District Council is likely to follow suit.  This may result, tellingly, in the Diocese being forced to surrender many of the programs it currently administers to the poor and indigent.

That is because the District outsources many of its social services to Catholic Charities, which runs the charitable services of the archdiocese. These charities provide a variety of services—including shelters for the homeless and food for the hungry—to about 124,000 needy residents in the region (which also includes a portion of Maryland).  For this work, Catholic Charities receives approximately $20 million in contracts, grants and licenses from the city.

If same-sex marriages are legalized, the church will find itself in violation of the new law if it continues its city-sponsored social services programs, because city contractors are required to abide by all of the District’s laws. There are provisions in the bill requiring the church to acknowledge gay marriage by offering employment benefits to same-sex couples and by placing children with gay adoptive couples.   If the Church doesn’t comply, then it is in violation of the District mandate and it will be out of the social service business.

A big blow to the Church, perhaps,  but an even bigger blow to the District which doesn’t necessarily want to pick up the slack.

I provided in my piece, Tyranny of the Minority, ( December, 2008)  an opinion  that the drive for gay marriage had become far more an assault on traditional religion than a quest for civil rights ( as it is so earnestly characterized by the left) and this was on full display in the way the defeated campaign in California, following the passage of Proposition 8 in November 2008, singled out financial  supporters of  California’s Yes on 8 campaign and sought to destroy them (and even doing so in the case of Richard Raddon, former Director of the Los Angeles Film Festival)

But the way they protested against the Mormon Church, only a few hundred yards from my own home in Westwood, with vulgar attacks on Mormon practices and characterizations of  its practitioners as virtual representatives of the Ku Klux Klan, made me shudder at the way these ‘apostles of equality’ will one day view all religious practice – as pure bigotry which deserves to be outlawed.

The  current dilemma of the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. only exemplifies the kind of murky waters into which religious institutions will soon be wading as  the campaign for gay marriage gains  momentum.  It would be a deep shame indeed, if the Archdiocese of Washington D.C., in the interests of political expediency, chooses to compromise its own values and integrity.   But that is indeed what I believe will happen and it is a portent of things to come, as  religious institutions, unable to contend with the power of the gay lobby’s efforts to remake our social structure, may buckle under and surrender.


FIGHTING OVER THE CONSTITUTION

June 12, 2009

One of the things that has always perplexed me about the contentious debate surrounding the Guantanomo Bay detention policies is the argument that constitutional protections, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, should be extended to enemy combatants.

The United States Constitution has been one of the most effective and resilient documents ever produced by human hand.   Despite a cataclysmic civil war, the malfeasance of certain presidents and the pressures brought to bear on the republic by a depression and two world wars, the founding document of the republic has stood the test of time and is a profound statement of what human beings as a collective can create with sufficient faith and determination.

But the Constitution has also come in for rhetorical abuse and no more so than last week when Barak Obama and Dick Cheney faced off in separate locations against one another, concerning the Bush Administration’s detention policies.  Cheney claimed that the (policies) “prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people, “ while Obama’s stated  that “rather than keeping us safer, the prison at Guantanamo has weakened American national security. It is a rallying cry for our enemies. It sets back the willingness of our allies to work with us in fighting an enemy that operates in scores of countries.”

It is no accident that Obama’s speech was delivered from the National Archives, the marble building which houses the U.S. Constitution.  The President’s supporters have made it clear that they regard Guantanomo Bay and the Bush Administration as a direct assault on the Constitution and that claim can be heard loud and clear from politicians like Nancy Pelosi to singers like Bruce Springsteen.

But the United States Constitution was written, as far as I am aware, with only American citizens in mind, to safeguard their liberty and freedom – not to defend and protect those who have no respect for our constitutional safeguards and in fact wish to destroy them.

Did the founders of this country ever conceive of the Constitution as a universalistic document designed to protect the rights of all human beings – even antagonists allegedly pledged to the destruction of the country?

Hardly.  James Madison, the acknowledged father of the Constitution, in the Federalist Papers, went out of his way to draw a distinction between citizens and non -citizens – and how rights would be apportioned between them.  

Does the same Constitution prevent us, particularly in the light of the devastating attacks of 9/11, from detaining non-citizen suspects indefinitely, in violation of habeas corpus, in  order to prevent other potential attacks?  

If one argues that the first obligation of government is the common defense of the country – a point noted in both the Declaration of Independence and the preamble to the Constitution, there is almost no argument.  Habeas Corpus, an English doctrine and one of the only British legal concepts imported into the U.S. Constitution, was itself never designed to give enemies of the state, rights. The great British legal scholar Blackstone described the Writ of Habeas Corpus as  allowing “the King at all times, as entitled to have an account of why the liberty of any of his subjects is restrained, wherever that restraint my be inflicted.”

Should interrogation techniques, designed to elicit crucial information vital to the security and safety of the nation, be dispensed with because they violate constitutional safeguards?

Well that depends on whether you regard the Constitution as a mere adjunct to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or as a document which stands alone, independent of other international or supranational agreements. There is of course the argument that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ratified in 1949 by Congress under Article III of the Constitution, is already a part of U.S law.

But it is not part of the Constitution which is a significant difference.

Barack Obama, constitutional scholar though he may be, was not making a legal argument based on the Constitution;   He was making a political argument based on international human rights law. So while Obama may have may made the symbolic inference that the Guantanomo Bay detention policies abuse constitutional safeguards, what he is really arguing is that they abuse universal human rights safeguards, which is another thing.

The problem, on the other hand, with Cheney’s point of view is that he, and others in the Bush Administration, were never able to validate the severity of the threat, since the projected events never occurred. But it must be left to each government administration make threat assessments and to respond accordingly. 

We should never forget that the U.S. Constitution stands as the ultimate American symbol of independence  – the independence of its judiciary, separated from both the legal and executive branches; the independence of its citizenry, which has a direct share in the proper and effective administration of government. And the independence of its polity from those of others around the world.   International humanitarian law, which comes packaged to us in the nebulous expression “human rights,” should never be allowed to override governmental obligations to protect U.S. citizenry.

Where there  is a conflict between a constitutional mandate – such as the  government’s duty to provide a common defense, and a universal human right – such as the right to due process for foreign nationals, the Constitution, the true symbol of American independence, must prevail. 

Dick Cheney mentioned in his remarks that whatever choices the President makes concerning the defense of this country, those choices should not be based on slogans and campaign rhetoric, but on a truthful telling of history.  I would add that it is not just the truthful telling of history that is necessary – but the truthful acceptance of the Constitutions’ uniqueness and independence which should always be a president’s overriding concern.


JFK AND EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE

November 28, 2008
 There is no more traumatic event in the history of the modern United States than the assassination of John F. Kennedy.   Not Pearl Harbor, not Watergate, not the Iranian hostage crisis and not even 9/11 can claim that honor.   The assassination, whose 45th anniversary took place earlier this week, is seared into popular consciousness because to many Americans the murder of JFK still remains inexplicable:  how was it possible  that such a vigorous and  articulate leader, whose administration augured such promise, could so quickly and easily be dispatched from history?   It shouldn’t seem unusual then, that over time his death became widely regarded as a virtual martyrdom, ushering in a hagiography that has elevated the deceased president to the ranks of American sainthood.  Although his image was carefully crafted well before his death,  it has since become embalmed in such a mixture of romanticism and nostalgia that it is often difficult to extract the real person from the myth.   American citizens were never given the opportunity to see the real Kennedy beneath the hype and likewise deprived of the chance to see what might have transpired had his Administration  been roiled by the shockwave of 60s radicalism.    They did not see the president’s hair turn grey; the bags and dark circles begin to form ominously beneath his eyes or the permanent lines cutting deeply into his cheeks. Nor would they see his Administration, which would likely have won a second term in 1964, detoured by the increasing discontent of the civil rights movement, burned by the failure of his Administration’s policies in Vietnam and rocked by sexual scandal.

 

But history has a way of stripping the most hardened patina from the sheen of legendary figures and Kennedy is no exception.    What it exposes about the 34th President is less heroic and more recklessly libertine than any of us would care to admit.   A cursory examination of both his military and political careers reveals some extraordinarily overlooked facts: that his family’s fortune derived from the shrewdness of a father who was a stock manipulator, bootlegger,  appeaser, isolationist, ruthless womanizer and virulent anti-Semite;  that JFK’s handling of PT109, a patrol boat that he captained in the Pacific in1942 and was sliced in two by a Japanese destroyer, was an act of profound negligence that, had he not been an ambassador’s son, would have led to a court martial and not a decoration;  that his Congressional and Senatorial records produce scant evidence of effectiveness or focus and that he spent a great deal of those years on an unending pursuit of women; that he took full credit ( and a Pulitzer Prize in 1957) for a book that was largely ghost written by his aide, Theodore Sorensen;  that his first months as President witnessed two catastrophic failures – the poorly planned and disastrously executed Bay of Pigs invasion and the June, 1961 summit in Vienna with Soviet leader Nikolai Khrushchev.   His performance in the latter event was so underwhelming that Khrushchev immediately formed an opinion of the “boy President” as weak and vacillating.   It emboldened him to authorize the construction of a wall dividing  East and West Berlin and to continue secret Soviet deployments of nuclear warheads on Cuban soil.  His Cuban policy laid the groundwork for the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962  which brought the United States to the brink of a nuclear war.

 

 

And then there were the women.

 

Thanks to an obliging press, there were no sexual scandals during Kennedy’s years in office.  But that wasn’t because there was an absence of material.  The Camelot idyll of Kennedy as a caring family man, complete  with a dazzling wife and  two precocious children  was of course a mendacious façade.  Kennedy reserved little time for either his wife or children and often put his own sexual needs before family and sometimes even before affairs of state. How far he went is still unknown but according to biographer Richard Reeves, the scale of his wantonness was made clear by his first private words uttered after winning  the presidency:  “ Now I can get as much tail as I want…”    In an early meeting with British prime minister Harold Macmillan, he was quite candid about his internal drive for new sexual conquests and in Hollywood his sexual profligacy was well known and catered to by friends such as Frank Sinatra and his brother-in-law Peter Lawford.    Perhaps Kennedy was an undiagnosed sex-addict, yet who can readily excuse the indignity of a press-wary  President of the United States scrambling over a backyard fence in a Los Angeles suburb after a late night tryst with Marilyn Monroe?

 

Kennedy’s relationships with Monroe, Angie Dickinson and. Judith Campbell-Exner are well known and have been written about extensively.  But it is also known that hundreds of other women from prostitutes to starlets to wives of associates were the beneficiaries of his curious  form of presidential patronage.   It is remarkable, given the range of his liaisons, that none of this leaked while he was in office.  But the Press in those days considered a politician’s personal life out of bounds and were otherwise loathe to taint the reputation of a man they admired.    His staff also developed failsafe methods: prostitutes, and many of the young women brought into the White House or whom the President consorted with on the road, were told that if they leaked their stories to the Press, they would be declared mad and locked away in an asylum. He was ably assisted in these cover-ups by his unofficial chief of staff Kenny O’Donnell, who regularly indulged himself in Kennedy cast-offs and by a retinue trained to provide warnings of the First Lady’s imminent approach in the West Wing.

 

Why should any of this matter today? What good is served by dredging up 50-year-old gossip?    It matters because while the general public had little idea of Kennedy’s recklessness, those in the know –  the political establishment, the press, and at least two of his successors – said nothing, setting a precedent for acquiescence, duplicity, cover up and moral turpitude that brought shame to the Presidency and Congress in the years to follow.  If the President was able to run the White House like a Turkish bordello, what was to stop others doing as exactly as they pleased under similar cover of propriety and executive privilege?

 

That lesson was not lost on Bill Clinton.  Thirty-five years after the assassination, the 42nd President, who had actively modeled his political career on Kennedy’s, was almost impeached by Congress for an attempt to cover up a sexual indiscretion.  It is not a stretch to believe that Clinton’s admiration for Kennedy extended to that man’s libidinous excesses and has inspired its emulation, both in and out of office

 

It is not possible to watch film footage of Kennedy’s assassination today without feeling sorrow for the loss of a vibrant and talented political life.  Nor is it easy to cast in a bad light a man in whose being so many hopes once resided and whose memory still inspires such reverence.  But as successfully as presidents are able to hide their secret lives from public view while in office, history has a determined way of sweeping away  fig leaves, exposing once pristine reputations to public scrutiny.   In modern times,  our leaders should be judged, not only on their performance in the political arena, but also on the course of their own moral leadership and the example they set for the country.  In the end, there can be no moral leadership without the personal moral conduct of the leader.    On this score, the presidency of John F. Kennedy was an abject failure.  And from Vietnam to Watergate to Monica Lewinsky we are still living with its consequences.

 

Avi Davis is the Executive Director and Senior Fellow of the American Freedom Alliance in Los Angeles.

 


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