Giuliani dates Obama’s present disloyalty to his formative influences, in particularly an African-American friend of Obama’s grandfather named Frank Marshall Davis, who in the 1940s worked with communists to fight racism. A Kennedy hater wouldn’t have to look as far: He could start with Kennedy’s own father. When it came to America’s wars, Joseph Kennedy Sr. wasn’t exactly a Giuliani-style patriot. As Edward Renehan notes in his book, The Kennedys at War, Joe Sr. dodged World War I, which he called a “sucker’s game.” And he did everything in his power to keep America from entering World War II. During his two-year stint at America’s ambassador to Great Britain in the late 1930s, Joe Sr. not only advocated appeasing Hitler, he all but sympathized with him. “As much as I dislike saying it,” he declared in 1937, “Germany is really entitled to what she is asking for.” The following year he met secretly with Germany’s ambassador to London, warning him that pro-war Jews were influencing Franklin Roosevelt.
JFK’s older brother, Joe Jr., was enamored of Hitler too. Hitler’s “dislike of the Jews,” he wrote in 1934, “was well-founded.” In 1939, Joe Jr. travelled through Civil War Spain, writing letters to his father that brimmed with admiration for the Fascist side. In 1940, with Nazi soldiers already in Paris, Joe Jr. cofounded Harvard’s Committee Against Military Intervention in Europe.
Such were the attitudes of the most influential men in John F. Kennedy’s young life. And for Kennedy-haters, the reason for their sympathy for America’s enemies was clear: Catholicism. After all, they noted, it was Joe Sr.’s Irish heritage that made him hostile to the English cause in both world wars. And it was Catholicism that made the Kennedys sympathetic to Franco’s Spain. “Do we want to get frightfully aroused by the treatment of the Jews,” wrote Joe Jr. to his father in 1941, “when Cat[holics] and others were murdered more cruelly in Russia and in Republican Spain and not a word of protest came.” If Giuliani thinks Obama’s upbringing was subversive, in other words, he’d have had a field day with Kennedy’s.
Then there’s Kennedy’s connection to “anti-colonialism,” which was arguably stronger than Obama’s. In 1951, a 34-year-old JFK travelled to India, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, Singapore, Thailand, French Indochina, Korea and Japan. “If one thing was bored into me as a result of my experience in the Middle as well as the Far East,” Kennedy declared upon returning, “it is that communism cannot be met effectively by merely the force of arms.” Upon entering the Senate in 1953, Kennedy told his colleagues that, “The single most important test of American foreign policy today is how we meet the challenge of imperialism.” Not communism, but imperialism. This in the midst of the Red Scare.