Talk:John F. Kennedy

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"crisis" should read "Cuban Missile Crisis", please.

Not Fair

It is not entirely fair to lay the blame of the failure of the Bay of Pigs squarely at JFK's feet. There was a lot of urging from the CIA and the military NOT to go ahead with American military itervention on behalf of the insurgents. Considering the atmosphere of the world at that time, I can't say listening to them was a horrible idea. Regrettable that the operation was botched, but the reasons why it was botched are not 100% of JFK's doing.

And it's quite interesting that the hawks in his administration that urged him NOT to intervene in Bay of Pigs are the ones who the author of this article quite cleverly insinuates are the reason why Kennedy kept us safe through the Cuban Missle Crisis, as if without them Kennedy would have been inept. If you're looking for the slightest reasons to praise the hawks in his administration, even if it is to just lessen JFK's abilities as an individual, you could have made mention of the hawks being the driving force behind not intervening in Bay of Pigs, and thus applauded them for it in the process (when keeping in mind that not risking such a blatant and overt challenge to the USSR that would not have been necesary and risked TERRIBLE reprecussions...). But it looks like the author of this article was too concerned with finding anything to blame on Kennedy, and thus missed their opportunity to render more praise unto the conservative hawks. Jros83 02:30, 25 June 2007 (EDT)

To add to the Bay of Pigs discussion, the CIA under Eisenhower actually made the plan, it was recomended to Kennedy once he took office. The way this page reads is as though he is 100% totally at fault for everything. I think he was a do-nothing president that is only popular because he was assasinated, but seriously folks, lets calm down the rhetoric. ALSO: I changed the reference about him being the "youngest president". He was the youngest person ever ELECTED president, but Teddy Roosevelt was actually a year or two younger than Kennedy when he took office. I didn't want to re-write the whole section, but I figured I'd throw in a minor correction. JamesBenjamin 18:54, 29 June 2007 (EDT)

Sordid personal life

Okay, I've tried twice to include something about how Kennedy was a sex fiend and twice they were scrubbed right away. I expect this lionizing nonsense from Wikipedia but I thought the point of this was that conservatives could actually post relevant information about entries of importance without having it waxed by Marxist Wikipedia editors. If I'm missing something, then please tell me why Billdozer

Show us solid, verifyable evidence from official sources that Kennedy was such a man, and we'll include it. Karajou 22:38, 11 March 2008 (EDT)

What's a solid, official source? There isn't an official source that says Bill Clinton was, um, serviced by an intern in the Oval Office, but everyone in the world knows it to be true. Similarly, there were no shortage of witnesses who could attest to JFK's ravenous sexual apptetite. Billdozer

Witnesses came out within weeks testifying as to Bill and Monica's indiscretions; plus there's past indiscretions all over Arkansas, such as Paula Jone's and others lawsuits. These, at the least, made the newspapers at that time. I want to see similar patterns for Kennedy, reported in the newspapers at the time he was a U.S. senator, as well as when he was a U.S. president. Karajou 05:47, 12 March 2008 (EDT)

There are other reliable sources than newspapers. The newspapers wouldn't even have printed Clinton's misdoings if the Drudge Report hadn't forced the case into the open. The press was well aware of what JFK was really like but they protected him, as the press tends to do for left-wing presidents. But good luck finding a JFK biography, even a glowing one, that doesn't at least acknowledge some sort of pattern of sexual misconduct. Billdozer

new material added

! Part of this article was copied from Conservapedia but the copied text was originally written by me, RJJensen (under the name Richard Jensen) and does not include alterations made by others on that site. Conservlogo.png
RJJensen 19:03, 22 November 2008 (EST)

JFK a conservative? What?

I take issue with the two sentences, "JFK, like his family, was middle-of-the-road on domestic issues and conservative on foreign policy" and "The Kennedy family represented the conservative wing of the Democratic party"

Since when did the Kennedys represent the conservative wing of the Democratic party? All of them are liberal stalwarts. As for his foreign policy, it was his idea to pull out of Vietnam, among other things. As far as domestic policy, he was definitely liberal; his civil rights plank, championing of a Medicare-type program, Peace Corps, etc.

I motion that the first sentence be revised to "JFK, like his family, was liberal on domestic issues and middle-of-the-road on foreign policy" and that the second sentence be dropped entirely. ChuckR 19:28, 17 October 2009 (EDT)

Joe Kennedy was always one of the main leaders and financiers of the conservative wing of the Dem party, and was a main supporter of Joe MvcCarthy; Bobby was an aide and supporter of Joe McCarthy. They were all strongly anti-communist and very critical of labor unions (which were much more powerful in those days). The Peace Corps was the main "liberal" achievement, though conservatives have not opposed it. It was JFK who sent forces INTO Cuba and Vietnam to fight Communism. His civil rights plank in 1960 was just about the same as the GOP plank. He did not champion Medicare. The surviving Kennedys turned left after JFK was killed and the father had a stroke. RJJensen 17:18, 2 November 2009 (EST)
I know that the Kennedys were staunch anti-communists, but I've never heard JFK--or the Kennedy family--described as conservative. Any citations you could make? Also, as for Cuba and Vietnam, one, Cuba changed his opinion on foreign policy. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy's foreign policy went from being center-right to being center-left, and his calls for peace and negotiations replaced hawkish rhetoric. Secondly, Kennedy actually wanted to pull out of Vietnam, and had started the motions to do so before he was assassinated. Johnson reversed it, and escalated it. ChuckR 21:55, 2 November 2009 (EST)
sending combat forces into both Cuba and Vietnam to stop Communism is pretty dramatic example of a conservative foreign policy, not to mention forcing the Russians out of Cuba. In domestic policy he took many conservative positions: he opposed unions (esp Teamsters), opposed deficit spending, and supported tax cuts. He never supported abortion in any form, or gay rights. And (in 1960) he moved the country to acceptance of Roman Catholicism. Finally, he was opposed by the major liberals of the day (E. Roosevelt, Humphrey, Stevenson); for his VP he picked Johnson, considered a conservative at the time. The Kennedy family was known for leading the support of Joe McCarthy in 1950s. As for what people say, try Googling "jfk" and "conservative" and look at the 2 million hits.RJJensen 22:54, 2 November 2009 (EST)

Well, first of all, if you Google "FDR" and "Conservative" you get 9,510,000 hits. I guess this makes Old Man Roosevelt the greatest conservative of all time then, eh?

Anyway, let's take a walk through history, shall we? Here's a list of some of Kennedy's liberal traits.

First of all, JFK supported the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam. Not only is this confirmed by Robert McNamara in his film "The Fog of War," but an audio recording of then-Vice President Lyndon Johnson referring to this plan of Kennedy's is also shown. Also, consult Kennedy's National Security Action Memorandum 263, from October 1963, which called for the removal of 1,000 armed forces personnel to be removed by the end of the year.

Yes, Kennedy was--for a long time--a foreign policy hawk. No question. But by the last year of his life (post-Bay of Pigs), he was moving in a more dovish direction. He negotiated the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and gave a famous speech about world peace at American University on June 10, 1963.

Secondly, John F. Kennedy's tax cut was a demand-side tax cut, not a supply-side cut; Ronald Reagan he was not. You could argue whether a present-day liberal would institute such a measure (probably not), but no conservative would either. A good article about this.

Your talk of Kennedy not supporting civil rights seems to neglect the entire last two years of his life. Kennedy deployed federal marshalls in 1962 to allow James Meredith to enroll in his first class at the University of Mississippi. Furthermore, after George Wallace infamously blocked the doorway of University of Alabama, John F. Kennedy gave one of his most famous speeches, his civil rights speech, on June 11, 1963. In it, he proposed what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You can find a transcript here: It is startling to me that you don't know of this. Also note that John, along with brother Robert, helped secure Martin Luther King's release from prison

Your claim in the main article that Kennedy never claimed to be a liberal is false. One of his most famous quotes is this, from September 1960, in accepting the New York Liberal Party nomination: "If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."" Also note the mention of civil rights.

By saying that Kennedy never supported abortion or gay rights, you're creating a false strawman. Abortion and gay rights were not issues in the 1960s; by this measure, you could just as easily claim that Nixon and Goldwater were liberals because they didn't (between 1961 and 1963) speak out against those two issues. Fact of the matter is, abortion didn't become a major political issue until Roe v. Wade. Had Kennedy lived, and opposed abortion through the 1970s, you may have had a point. The Democrats didn't introduce a gay rights plank to their party platform until 1976; the Republicans didn't introduce one in opposition until 1992.

But while we're talking about modern issues, here's President Kennedy arguing for universal health care in May of 1962

Kennedy signed Omnibus Housing Bill 1961, which proposed spending $3.19 billion on a massive government housing program for the working poor. It also called for the creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Urban Affairs.

Kennedy opposed the quota system for immigration, saying it had "no basis in either logic or reason." He said to Congress on July 23, 1963: "It neither satisfies a national need nor accomplishes an international purpose. In an age of interdependence among nations, such a system is an anachronism for it discriminates among applicants for admission into the United States on the basis of the accident of birth." (Kennedy, John F., Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1964, pp. 594-597.)

Kennedy signed HR5143, which abolished the death penalty for first-degree murder in Washington DC.

As for Kennedy and FDR, read "Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America." Franklin Roosevelt was one of Kennedy's heroes. His "Ask not..." quote and "New Frontier" were efforts to mimick FDR's "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" and "New Deal," respectively

It's also funny that you claim that the Kennedy family represented the conservative wing of the Democratic party; Joseph Kennedy Sr. strongly opposed the Lend-Lease Act and indeed, any aid to Great Britain at all. In 1940, he famously proclaimed "Democracy is finished in England. It may be here." He supported Chamberlain's policy of appeasement; read "The Dark Side of Camelot" by Seymour Hersh for more. So yes, the elder Kennedy did oppose FDR, but from his LEFT, not his right.

John F. Kennedy Kennedy established the President’s Commission on the Status of Women to examine issues of women's equality. Who chaired this group? Eleanor Roosevelt, whom you claim he opposed.

It's ashame that you felt the need to lock the page, enshrining your uncited and biased new article as "fact," and stifling what should be a robust debate and exchange of ideas. It also upsets me that you think I should "read more and think more," when clearly you aren't aware of (or simply chose not to mention) a great deal of what Kennedy believed or what policy directives his administration took. You do bring up good points about areas of his conservatism; he was a hawk for a while, he was tough on crime, etc. I don't mean to demean those points at all; you make them eloquently. But as I've clearly shown, he was quite liberal in many areas as well. My guess is, if he were alive today, he would probably be a Democrat in the mold of Joe Lieberman, or perhaps Evan Bayh. Hopefully, we can resolve this, and re-write the passage together to find a better balance, and more accurately show that Kennedy worked in both conservative and liberal directions in his long and illustrious career. ChuckR 13:30, 5 November 2009 (EST)

Addendum: In reviewing what I wrote, I realized I left out an important component: Medicare. You claimed that Kennedy "Never championed Medicare." This is incorrect. In fact, he championed it during both his campaign and his presidency, and was one of the individuals who actually popularized the moniker "Medicare." Review these links: President Kennedy explains importance of Medicare bill to Congress Candidate Kennedy defends Medicare Madison Square Garden debate with Medicare opponent Dr. Edward Annis

On December 7, 1961, Kennedy said at the opening of the AFL-CIO Convention: "Those who are "too old to work and too young to die" must be protected through Social Security system against the staggering costs of medical care. The time has come, in this next session of the Congress, to face the fact that our elder citizens need these benefits-that their needs cannot be met in any other way-and that every member of the Congress should have an opportunity to vote this bill up, or vote it down and tell the people why."

In September 1961, he wrote to the Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging: "I consider the proposal to provide health insurance for the aged under Social Security one of the most important measures I have advocated."

The Politics of Medicare is a good read. However, a Google Books search of "John F. Kennedy" and "Medicare" nets many more similar quotes to what I posted, as well as news reports from the 1960 campaign concerning his advocacy for Medicare. ChuckR 20:02, 8 November 2009 (EST)

1) Kennedy sent the troops into Vietnam. He made the commitment. He did rotate units but there is no evidence he planned to end that commitment. That was wishful thinking by liberals who liked him.

2) the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty had both liberal and conservative elements (esp as a device to control China)
3) the tax cut was praised by Reagan and many conservatives in urging their own tax cuts in 1981.
4) the quote "If by a "Liberal" they mean ..." avoids almost all the main liberal positions of the day, re taxes, spending and labor unions, for example. He of course had to say nice things because he needed the Liberal party line in the election.
5) Kennedy enforced federal court orders but civil rights was low on his agenda and he was never a main supporter from 1948 till his death.
6) Kennedy did oppose the quota immigration system of 1924--as did most conservatives too.
7) Kennedy never supported abortion or gay rights, and always voted the conservative Catholic position on such issues.
8) he signed the death penalty repeal which was on the liberal side
9) Kennedy did admire FDR's political skills and rhetoric and tried to emulate them. As did Reagan.
10) the 1940 business is a bit complicated because it's not clear how much JFK agreed with his father. His father represented the conservative opponents of aid to Britain, including for example Taft and Lindbergh. The left (John L Lewis) opposed aid because Russia strongly opposed aid to Britain.
11) He needed Eleanor Roosevelt's support and appointed her. She was A CONSERVATIVE on women's issues and she strongly opposed the ERA.
12) Medicare: yest hat was a liberal position Kennedy took. The articles says that he had a mixed record on domestic issues.
13) "uncited and biased new article." if you call CP administrators names you'll get in trouble. I actually read all the books that are listed and I expect people to be familiar with come of them before they jump in. I you want to propose a paragraph, run it thrugh here first.RJJensen 20:37, 8 November 2009 (EST)

No one is calling you any names, for one. It is a matter of solid fact that the revision you put into the new article has very few citations and many statements of opinion that wouldn't be found in any reputable encyclopedia, conservative or otherwise. A statement like "Kennedy was basically a conservative, but he had to appeal to a primarily liberal base, so he offered symbols for the liberals while following a conservative course in foreign and domestic policy" that doesn't have a citation has no business being there.
Re: your list:
1.) Re-read what I wrote concerning Kennedy and Vietnam, and watch The Fog of War. Kennedy made the commitment, but he also began taking the steps necessary to withdraw. In discussing this issue in the article, we should take steps to show that Kennedy became conflicted as the war dragged on. Take a look at this
2.) Any sources for this claim? If you can provide some, I'm willing to concede the point and agree with you. However, in all that I've read, I have never seen such treaties described as being conservative.
3.) Of course it was praised by Reagan; typically, when a president is trying to get a measure passed that has broad support within their base but little-to-none from the other party, they will invoke the memory of a president from the other party. Bush II did this with Franklin Roosevelt and Social Security. Candidate John Kerry did this with Ronald Reagan in talking about his foreign policy, etc. As I stated before, you're right, no liberal would pass a tax cut like this nowadays. HOWEVER, with it being a demand-side tax cut designed to benefit the working class (rather than a trickle-down tax cut), this is not something that many conservatives would enact either.
4.) Whether what Kennedy described also applies to today's liberals is irrelevant. My point in bringing it up was to show you that your claim in the article--"Kennedy refused to call himself a liberal"--is patently inaccurate.
5.) Your response here is simply inaccurate. Yes, Kennedy enforced court orders. And you're right, he was not a prominent supporter of civil rights for MOST of his life. But by 1963, this was changing. Again, I direct you to the speech he gave June 11, 1963. In it, he proposed what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You can find a transcript here:
6.) The sponsors of the Immigration and Nationality Act (which reformed the quotas)--Rep. Emanuel Celler and Sens. Phillip Hart and Ted Kennedy--were all Democrats. All opposition either came from Republicans or conservative Southern Democrats. I would describe this as a middle-of-the-road act at best. Kennedy considered this to be a matter of civil rights;
7.) I never disagreed with you here. All I did was state that these were NOT issues during the time Kennedy was active in politics (1948-1963). NO ONE supported gay rights or abortion at that time; neither were political issues. By that measure, FDR and Truman would both be conservatives, as neither of them spoke out in favor of either. You can't hold Kennedy to standards that didn't exist. Furthermore, your claim that he "always voted the conservative Catholic position on such issues" is also incorrect, as 1.) Those issues never came up in the senate, and 2.) There is no public record of John F. Kennedy's position on abortion or gay rights.
8.) I'm glad we agree
9.) More than admiring FDR's political skills, he also admired (most of) his policy decisions. Refer to Kennedy's speeches on Medicare, or again to "Ask Not" for more.
10.) Whether JFK agreed with his dad is irrelevant. My reason in bringing up Joe Sr.'s appeasement beliefs was to refute your claim that the Kennedy family "represented the conservative wing of the Democratic party." That was not true during Joe Sr.'s time, and it wasn't true during JFK, RFK, and Ted's time.
11.) Your statement here that Eleanor was a "CONSERVATIVE" flies in the face of what you said earlier (that she was one of the liberals that Kennedy opposed). Which is it?
12.) No disagreements here. This was, however, in response to your claim that Kennedy "never championed Medicare." Clearly, he did. At least you admitted you were wrong.

Have you really read the books I listed? Much less, viewed the speeches or other links I provided? Clearly, you still have some misconceptions about his record.

Also, I am not suggesting we revise the article to say that Kennedy was a flaming liberal. Of course he wasn't. But the way it stands now--with Kennedy being described as "basically conservative"--is simply inaccurate. Between Medicare, civil rights, $3.19 billion being spent on government housing, the promotion of the Department of Urban Affairs, the Peace Corps, his move to abolish the death penalty in DC, and reforming the quota system, clearly he was not "basically conservative." This article needs to take a more nuanced view, and reflect the fact that Kennedy held MANY liberal positions in addition to having some strong conservative stances as well.

As a final note, I would appreciate it (simply from a perspective of readability) if you could type more accurately and with less typos. As it stands now, your typos are frequent and egregious, and it takes me several moments to figure out what you mean. I don't mean this personally, it's just something that I'm struggling with; as a college professor, I'm sure you understand. ChuckR 21:20, 8 November 2009 (EST)

Addendum: Also, it's pretty funny that you said "I you want to propose a paragraph, run it thrugh here first." (Translation: If you want to propose a paragraph, run it through here first"). Clearly, you did not do this yourself; you abused your administrator privileges by unilaterally inserting your own edits (with NO prior discussion) and then locking the article when others who dared to disagree with you attempted to edit your contributions. ChuckR 21:26, 8 November 2009 (EST)

on 1), there is overwhelming proof that Kennedy escalated the commitment in Vietnam by a factor of 20; there is no contrary evidence. Fits hawk position.
2) read a little more.
3) JFK's rhetoric on tax cuts sounds like Milton Friedman. JFK fits "middle of road"
4) read Leuchtenburg
5) most Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Bill--conservatives in the North approved it. for a liberal view look at Humphrey and JFK. JFK fits "middle of road"
6) The Dems controlled Congress and wrote most all the laws. But immigration reform in 1965 was bipartisan. The main opponents were Dems who controlled key committees. Fits "middle of road"
7) JFK followed the very strict Catholic line on these issues--how conservative would you like?
9) no. he rejected WPA-CCC-FERA model of relief of unemployment instead called for economic growth (esp Appalachia) and retraining as cure for poverty. Conservative here.
10) Conservatives split in 1940 but at least half opposed Lend Lease. JFK's position is unclear. (His father and brother spoke out against it but he was quiet uin public and privately advised his father to support aid to Britain for political reasons. See O'Brien)
11) Eleanor Roosevelt was normally a leading liberal but she strongly opposed the ERA, and that put her alongside the conservatives on the issue to which Kennedy appointed her.
12) on Medicare JFK was on the liberal side and I was wrong to say otherwise. (He failed to get anything passed, however, and was considered a weak advocate.)
the death penalty was not one of his issues. Public housing was still a bipartisan issue (Taft had coauthored the basic law.) he was mildly liberal on Department of Urban Affairs. In all, a mixed domestic record. As for foreign policy, he was strongly on the hawkish side and that included the Peace Corps as an anti-Communist agency. RJJensen 22:18, 8 November 2009 (EST)

You're still missing my point on several issues here, and either debating positions that I don't hold or creating strawmen.\
1.) I am NOT suggesting that JFK didn't escalate Vietnam. He absolutely did escalate the conflict, and as you said, this clearly fits in the conservative category. As I mentioned in one of my first comments, Kennedy was a foreign policy hawk for most of his career. What I was trying to point out was that, post-Bay of Pigs/in his final year, Kennedy began to grow warier of our Vietnam commitment. At the very most, he wanted to pull out; at the very least, he was reconsidering. "Fog of War" evidences this, the audio tape of Johnson evidences this, and the AP link I provided re: the Kennedy tapes also evidences this. His National Security Memorandum withdrawing 1,000 personnel from active duty is even MORE proof of this. A discussion of Kennedy's foreign policy should account for the fact that he was a hawkish conservative for most of his life, but by his final year, was starting to move in a more dovish, liberal direction. Read his speech at American University re: World Peace.
4.) I am NOT suggesting that the "liberal" that John F. Kennedy was describing equals the "liberal" of today. Of course it doesn't; as I have already stated numerous times, Kennedy would likely be a moderate or conservative Democrat today. The reason I mentioned this Kennedy quote is NOT to suggest that he would be a liberal of today's standards; I mentioned it because the article states that Kennedy "refused to call himself a liberal." This quote of his--where he quite literally calls himself a liberal--firmly proves otherwise.
7.) I am not saying that John F. Kennedy disagreed with the Catholic line. I am not saying he held liberal positions on abortion or gay rights. What I am saying is this: to use the issues of abortion and gay rights to judge whether John F. Kennedy--a 1960s politician--is a liberal is anachronistic, misleading, and inaccurate. Abortion and gay rights were not political issues in the early-1960s, for one. Secondly, MOST politicians on both sides of the aisle held anti-abortion positions. It wasn't until the late-60s and early-70s that abortion even became an issue. Thirdly, gay rights was not even discussed in the 1960s; it didn't even make a Democratic party platform until 1976. Fourthly, Kennedy didn't speak publicly on any of these issues anyway. In summation: to oppose abortion and oppose gay rights in the early 60s was a very mainstream political position. This does not make Kennedy conservative. It places him well within the mainstream of the Democratic party in the early 1960s. As I am sure you will agree, America has become more liberal over the last 45 years. To judge a 1960 politician by what's considered liberal today isn't historically accurate.
10.) Yes, JFK's position is unclear. I am not debating what JFK's position here was. The reason I mentioned this is in reference to the statement in the article that the Kennedys "represented the conservative wing of the Democratic party." For Joseph Kennedy to take liberal stances such as this one suggests that the Kennedys were not conservative stalwarts.

As for your other arguments:
2.) I've read plenty, and I've not seen the Nuclear Test Ban treaty described as "conservative." I've seen it described as liberal plenty of times, and I've also read it described as being a middle-of-the-road, pragmatic measure. But never "conservative." The burden of proof is on you, sir; you are the one making the assertions.
5.) Again, you are judging the 60s milieu by present-day ideological standards. To do and say the things JFK did with regards to civil rights--in particular in his June 11 speech--was most definitely a liberal move by 1963 standards.
9.) As you said, he did call for retraining and economic growth. As for him "opposing" the WPA-CCC-FERA, all of those organizations were disbanded by 1948, when Kennedy first became active in politics. Again, a strawman. ChuckR 00:26, 9 November 2009 (EST)

Addendum: The Peace Corps was not, is not, and has never been "an anti-communist agency." I'm not sure where you got that from. That's never been the general thrust of the Peace Corps, ever. ChuckR 00:27, 9 November 2009 (EST)

Joe Kennedy was pretty conservative on most issues--indeed that was a major reason so many liberals distrusted JFK. As for issues of morality, JFK always supported the most conservative moral position in his day as represented by the Catholic Church. On the Peace Corps see what the historians say: "The Peace Corps was not designed as an overseas antipoverty program; it was to be a weapon in the Cold War arsenal, one President Kennedy hoped would demonstrate to the world that "a new generation of Americans has taken over this country ... young Americans [who will] serve the cause of freedom as servants of peace around the world, working for freedom as the communists work for their system." quote from The Politics of the Peace Corps & Vista By T. Zane Reeves (1988). Page 20. RJJensen 01:25, 9 November 2009 (EST)
On unemployment remedies: that was a major issue in 1960-61 and liberals wanted a return to the New Deal solutions, whick Kennedy said NO. He instead picked the conservative options of growth and retraining.RJJensen 01:26, 9 November 2009 (EST)
on Test ban: JFK and his closest advisers not only seriously discussed but also actively pursued the possibility of a joint military action with the Soviet Union against China's nuclear installations in early 1963. In their quest for a limited nuclear test ban, Kennedy and his associates sought to aggravate tensions between the Soviet Union and China to a point where the Soviets might join with the United States in a military act against China. see the important article by Gordon H. Chang "JFK, China, and the Bomb" Journal of American History 1988 74(4): 1287-1310 RJJensen 01:31, 9 November 2009 (EST)

A few things
1.) I'm not denying that Kennedy adhered to Catholic doctrine re: morals. What I'm saying is this: it was not conservative to have such beliefs in the '40s, '50s, and early-'60s. In fact, it was quite mainstream. We can't use that as a litmus test for Kennedy's conservatism
2.) You've scored a point here; I've not read "The Politics of the Peace Corps & Vista," and I was unaware that he considered it as such. I hadn't read his November 4, 1960 speech in Chicago from which that quote came from (pretty surprising, seeing as I've read most of his speeches). So, apologies there.
3.) I was also unaware that there was a movement in the '60s to return to New Deal style programs of relief. However, does choosing the policies of growth and retraining make Kennedy conservative, or middle-of-the-road? Government-sponsored retraining especially seems like something that would either be considered moderate or maaaybe slightly liberal. So I would argue that, while Kennedy didn't align with liberals on this issue, he was more middle-of-the-road/moderate than he was truly conservative.
4.) I've read the Chang article, and it buttressed what I said earlier about how the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is frequently discussed as being moderate or pragmatic. It doesn't put forth any argument for the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty being a conservative measure. ChuckR 18:09, 9 November 2009 (EST)

thanks for your thoughtful comments. Some thoughts: The Catholic position on morals was highly controversial at the time--for example, strong opposition to divorce and birth control. 3) most Republicans, businessmen and conservatives wanted retraining and growth policies, the old liberals wanted a new WPA; Kennedy went with the first group. 4) Using the Test Ban to slow down Chinese nuclear threat seems pretty conservative to me. JFK made sure it would not slow down American nuclear weapons development.RJJensen 18:29, 9 November 2009 (EST)