Another thought on Lieberman’s McCain endorsement. Even taking into account the bizarre awe in which modern Democrats hold JFK, I thought it was extraordinary that Lieberman said that the “one, in my opinion, closest to the Kennedy legacy, the John F. Kennedy legacy, is John S. McCain.” That’s amusing–John S. McCain.
It’s never made sense to me why Obama would want to take on the mantle of JFK, except to get endorsements from the Kennedys of today, since JFK’s tenure was the perfect embodiment of exactly what Obama’s worst critics fear about an Obama presidency: foreign policy blunder after screw-up after unmitigated disaster. Likewise, it escapes me why the candidate who intends to run a campaign focused heavily on national security would want to be compared to probably the worst national security President of the Cold War (unless you give Truman top billing on that list). What was Kennedy’s record, except a litany of bad ideas, failures, disasters and near-apocalypses? Consider: the failure at Vienna; the Bay of Pigs; the Missile Crisis (a crisis enabled to some extent by the perception of weakness at Vienna); advisors in South Vietnam. Yes, I dare say that McCain is closest to that Kennedy legacy, and it is the best argument put forward this month for voting to keep him out of power.
This is not someone whose legacy (the Vietnam War) one should want to attach to your candidacy if you want to win the election, but for some strange reason our first Boomer-free election is becoming an obsession with the ’60s and both campaigns are trotting out JFK’s name on the assumption that it is a good thing to be compared with him.
P.S. As an aside, there is a certain absurdity in Joe Lieberman complaining about people “on the left” who are leading the party astray, as if he were some Zell Miller-esque yellow dog or Jim Webb in the 1980s. The only thing more annoying than Joe Lieberman himself is his conceit, which many people indulge out of habit, that he is some kind of “centrist.” Perhaps if we think of the political spectrum as a series of rings surrounding a cavernous abyss (or perhaps a pit like the Sarlaac), then Lieberman and McCain can fairly be called “centrists.”