Los Angeles Times: Editorial Board: Why JFK Still Matters
I’m a Liberal Democrat because of Jack Kennedy, the more I read and watch about him, the more I like about the man. At least when it comes to his politics and it was really just his slow move to finally come out in favor of civil rights for all Americans and not just Caucasian-Americans that I give him mediocre marks. As opposed to the marks I give him when it comes to economic and foreign policy and even when it came to the safety net and public assistance in America. Where he saw the role of these programs was to empower the less-fortunate to be able to get on their feet and was a big believer in job training and education.
And if you are a Center-Left Liberal-Democrat such as myself, there are plenty of reasons to like Jack Kennedy. Because he represented the potential of American liberalism and what it could do for people. Not how it could expand government especially the Federal Government, but what it could do for people to be able to take charge of their own lives and be able to live in freedom at home. Which is what liberalism actually is rather, than being what government can do to run people’s live for them.
In many ways Bill Clinton represented Jack Kennedy had JFK lived and finished out his presidency. Because then Governor Clinton when he was running for president in 1992 spoke in terms like, “there’s nothing wrong with America that can’t be fixed with what is right with America”. Rather than speaking in terms of doom and gloom which is how Democrats were stereotyped in this era. Bill Clinton represented a positive approach into the future of America about how to make an already great county a more perfect union that benefits more if not all Americans.
Before this Democrats were seen as negative all the time “and how can we make America look bad and we need to become like Europe and stop pretending to be something that we aren’t.” And I believe President Clinton got this positive forward-looking view of America to make it a more perfect union from President Kennedy who is also one of Bill Clinton’s political heroes. Jack Kennedy represented the next generation of Liberal Democrats that was moving pass the Progressive Era and the New Deal and looking for ways to make government work for the people who need it to live better lives.
JFK wanted all Americans to be able to live in freedom. Instead of having a new agenda of social insurance programs designed to take care of people. Jack Kennedy wanted all Americans to live in freedom instead and be able to take care of themselves. And had President Kennedy lived, we do not get a Great Society of new social insurance programs. But more of what Bill Clinton was in favor of an Opportunity Society for more Americans to be able to live in freedom.