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The Kennedys 2-4

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On the importance of popularity to rule

Jack cannot be elected without the people, which his father contemns & misunderstands. Jack learns that talking policy & principle is useless: The people are stupid. The Kennedys will rule because they learn that the people are moral: Cry with them, make them cry, sympathize, & then they will be grateful. So that they will not care that you are evil, opportunistic, & callow. So that Democrat demagogues’ wealth & other vices are forgiven.

Some man teaches Jackie Kennedy that Jack loves her by pointing out he does not treat her like a whore. By this measure, not only did he also love America, but he won America’s gratitude. So that nobody remembered he was his father’s son. & perhaps liberals love Kennedy so much because he defeated enemies that terrified them. Jackie may have tried to divorce him, but she learned, like America learned, that divorcing Kennedys is difficult.

At his inauguration, an opulent festival heralding a new American era, Kennedy gave one of the worst & most ambitious speeches given on such occasions. Soon thereafter, the Bay of Pigs happened. All Kennedy wanted was to paint an image of force without using force. A more cowardly man than Jack never stood in the White House ordering men to fight & die for America.

But neither he nor America learned that war is serious & ought to be fought for victory. His captain of war was a manager of car companies… Strangely, Kennedy ended up making Khrushchev seem like a manly man. Stranger still, American defeats & humiliations caused the American public opinion to applaud Kennedy’s manliness. Jack turns to the nation, to cry & cause them to cry with him, & praise his morality. He despises this – he calls it Bobby’s Catholicism.

Next came the crisis of the Berlin Wall. Khrushchev faced a very real problem: The slaves of Communism were running for freedom to West Germany. This would tend to turn the tyranny of Communism into a fact so obvious that not even Western intellectuals could deny it. Khrushchev’s wall was the obvious solution. It turned the Iron Curtain from a speech into a fact. But it required the risk of war with America. Khrushchev seems to have thought Kennedy so weak that he would never dare to risk war. He was right.

One of the peculiarities of Kennedy’s rule is that for his image of youth, strength, & beauty, he was sickly, weak, & drugged. It is dangerous to offer such an image: How to face the challenges? We are happy to note the suggestion that the weaknesses of the man could easily be cured by the science of medicine, which might make him tremendous.