Pretend for a few minutes that JFK had never been elected; that he is now a young Senator from Massachusetts. Pretend that Lyndon Baines Johnson was elected the thirty-fifth President of the United States in 1960.
Young Senator Kennedy is handsome. He is engaging, smart and brilliantly articulate. He has a broad smile, quick wit. His wife is beautiful and captivating. He has friends in Hollywood and Las Vegas. He served as a Naval officer during war, was injured, and a book has been written about his heroism.
Senator Kennedy has been making the rounds of Sunday morning talk shows. He has been making speeches in front of all the right groups. He has a loosely organized group of advisors and fund raisers who are encouraging him to run for President in the 2016 election.
What we know about him:
Kennedy favors a strong military defense.
Kennedy supports reductions in the Federal income tax rates to help the economy grow and can eloquently explain why that is good for everyone, including the rich.
Kennedy is a devout Catholic and probably pro-life.
Kennedy has bold dreams for America and Americans.
Kennedy wants America's allies around the world to know that they can depend on America to defend them against hostile nations.
Kennedy hates communism and the threat of communist countries' expansionism.
Kennedy believes that Americans should become more reliant on themselves and each other, and less reliant on the Federal government.
Kennedy supports federal employees' right to unionize, but not to bargain collectively or to strike.Pretend that Camelot never happened. Forget the half-century of Kennedy myth-making. Could Senator John F. Kennedy win the Democratic Party's nomination next year? And could he win the presidential election in the America of 2016?
Or would his beliefs render him an outsider?
I'm asking you to transport the JFK of 1960 to the present day, with his beliefs intact, and imagine him making a run for the presidency in 2016. Could the Kennedy of the 1950s and 1960s be a contender in the presidential primary and general election of 2015-2016? Or would the beliefs he held then not fit with today's Democratic Party?
John F. Kennedy's 1960 inaugural speech.