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January 24th, 2008

Joe Kennedy interview in November 1940

Watching Countdown, Craig Crawford mentioned that in the Democratic primary in 1960 LBJ and Kennedy got down and dirty and there were accusations of Nazism.

R. and I went, what?!? and started googling like mad. Well, we're still not sure what that was all about, but we found this speech by Joe Sr., a speech worth reading and thinking about.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/kennedys/filmmore/ps_globe.html

There is a _lot_ in this speech that Joe got very right: the government never did shrink again post WW2; we never got paid back for lend-lease. And go Joe for emphasizing the need to leave the Pacific fleet in place. But for as much as he got right, it's quite understandable why this position torpedoed his career. And it should have.

Worth thinking about, especially when getting all cranky about the Iraq resolution (and trust me, I was cranky about it _at the time_, not just years later when cranky was popular -- I marched in two protests against the war in Iraq _before_ the war started). Having done that thinking, it's worth remembering that (a) Joe was an anti-Semite who was kinda hoping that the Germans would fix all his problems (Communists, Jews) at once for him and (b) overstepped his bounds in trying to make deals with the Reich.

I think the historical moral would be that a person could be forgiven for being taken in by some of this rhetoric (because parts of it were right) -- but Joe can't be forgiven for being who he was and doing what he did.