The Myth of JFK

Bill Richardson mentioned in response to a question about whether or not "relative youth" is a detriment in Presidential politics that JFK was his idol. Among Democrats of a certain age, this seems to be an incredibly common sentiment. Barack Obama's campaign often likes to invoke JFK. And in The Washington Monthly, Ted Widmer complains that Obama is no JFK.

But from where I sit JFK, um, wasn't a very good president. His signature accomplishment was . . . the Peace Corps? Basically, boomers seem to have taken the Kennedy/Johnson years, attributed all of the Vietnam stuff to Johnson even though Kennedy initiated the policy, then attributed all of the popular domestic stuff to JFK even though almost none of it passed while he was president, and then you get a lot of hand-waving. At some point, can't we act like grownups and let this drop. The Republican hagiography of Ronald Reagan is embarrassing but the JFK business is even more detached from reality.