Thursday, January 21, 2016
Ted Cruz Is No Jack Kennedy
Recently, Ted Cruz absurdly claimed that if President John F. Kennedy were alive today, he'd be a Republican.
JFK's grandson, John Kennedy Schlossberg beautifully dismisses that preposterous claim with historical facts.
And here's a fact that is not in John Kennedy Schlossberg's article: JFK's conservative haters in Texas distributed on that fateful day in Dallas a poster calling JFK traitor. This is the same tactic a number of conservatives have used during Barack Obama's presidency.
Now comes another Texan, Ted Cruz, trying to pass himself off as someone who intimately knows to which political party JFK would belong were he alive today. He's wrong, of course, since in 2008, JFK's closest relatives, his daughter, Carolyn Kennedy Schlossberg, and his brother, the late Senator Ted Kennedy, wholeheartedly supported Barack Hussein Obama for the presidency.
Ted Cruz has spent the better part of his career as a U.S. Senator denigrating and demonizing President Obama and his administration. It is laughable in the extreme that he now tries to use JFK's memory to claim kinship with the TeaPublicans.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Ted Cruz is a sleazebag for sullying JFK's memory with the idea that he'd be a TeaPublican today.
JFK's grandson explains why:
Senator Ted Cruz invoked President John F. Kennedy's name and legacy in a campaign appearance the other day, arguing that if he were alive today, Kennedy would be a Republican. Specifically, he said Kennedy “would be tarred and feathered by the modern Democratic Party.”
As Kennedy’s grandson, and as a student of his life, legacy and administration, I find this notion—and the suggestion that Ted Cruz is somehow taking up his mantle—absurd. Were my grandfather alive today, he’d be excited about how far we have come as a nation since 1963, he would feel a sense of urgency about the challenges that lie ahead and he most certainly would not be a Republican.
The contrast is stark. Kennedy gave science and technology the highest national priority with his expansion of the space program. Most of the Republican Party denies climate change and has fought all efforts to address it.
Kennedy believed in religious liberty and the separation of church and state. He did not believe in the right of elected officials to impose their religious views on others. He was the first Catholic ever elected president, and he spent much of the 1960 campaign defending his religion and assuring voters he would not take orders from the Vatican. As someone whose faith was seen as a “hazardous risk” to his campaign, he would be horrified by the attacks made against Muslim-Americans by leading Republican candidates for president.
He championed legislation to ensure that all Americans could exercise their right to vote. He did not spend his time devising ways to disenfranchise certain segments of the population.
As a senator and president he supported immigration reform that would welcome more hopeful men and women to America’s shores. He did not try to close our borders, demonize foreign nationals or separate families by deporting parents with American children.
His steady leadership and restraint prevented a nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He didn't substitute bluster and bombast for statesmanship and resolve. He said that America would never start a war. He imagined an attainable peace and an evolution in global institutions. He did not propose a perpetual war footing or unilateral displays of force.
In fact, Kennedy's rational and earnest diplomacy led to a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union. He didn't decry diplomatic achievements as catastrophe, negotiation as weakness and cooperation as betrayal.
We just witnessed an historic deal with Iran, the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba and an international climate agreement. Each was the result of sustained, disciplined diplomatic efforts—the kind that Kennedy would admire. Kennedy believed government could help organize the best of America's energies and skills. He created new federal programs with ambitious goals, such as the Peace Corps. He did not spend his years in the House and Senate devoted to obstructing the opposition.
He certainly did not lead an effort, as Cruz did, to shut down the federal government to score political points and deny health insurance to millions. Cruz described the Kennedy campaign as one for tax cuts, limited government and tough talk against the Soviets. And yet, accepting the nomination of the Democratic Party in 1960, Kennedy said this:
“There may be those who wish to hear more—more promises to this group or that—more harsh rhetoric about the men in the Kremlin—more assurances of a golden future, where taxes are always low and subsidies ever high.” But he admitted he wasn’t that candidate. He outlined his vision for a New Frontier—a platform of challenges rather than promises, an appeal to public interest over private comfort.
Clearly, Cruz hasn’t read that speech. Today, my grandfather would be 98 years old. He'd have no idea how to use a cell phone, and he'd be shocked by just how far the Republican Party has lost its way. He inspired a generation of Americans to believe in their country and their responsibilities as citizens. And his life symbolizes what America can achieve and all the work left undone.
He isn't alive today, but he lives on in everyone who hopes for a better future, in everyone who asks what they can do for their country, and in the Democratic Party.
Unlike the mean-spirited haters who wish to see the Kennedy family wiped out, we hope to see young Jack Kennedy Schlossberg fulfill his ambition and enter politics.