John F. Kennedy: The Most Despicable President In American History

4 10 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Gannett’s USA Today began publishing its daily newspapers in Washington, D.C., and I have always been proud of the publication and have praised it.  I believed it was one of the finest newspapers in the United States, if not the world; and I have been pleased with its success.  I have encouraged friends, business associates, and acquaintances to read it because of what I believed was objective reporting, or certainly very close to it.

However, I was rudely awakened by its recent series of articles about John F. Kennedy and his family, which were a travesty and a lie.[2] Sadly, USA Today has become a participant in the deliberate distortion of history.  There was not merely one isolated article about the Kennedys, but it was an unprecedented series—which made matters far worse and even more irresponsible.  Whoever approved the series should be fired immediately.  Wholesale distortions of history by a mainstream publication such as this one warrant and, in fact, demand nothing less.

John F. Kennedy was a fraud, pure and simple. When he died, his “image” was frozen in time, but the truth is grotesque. To lionize him like USA Today has done is a crime, and unconscionable.  The once-excellent and seemingly objective USA Today has reached new lows by publishing this series about Kennedy—which is the moral equivalent of running a praiseworthy series of articles about Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin.

USA Today failed to mention that John F. Kennedy was possibly the most morally corrupt and reckless president in American history, who came tragically close to bringing about a “nuclear winter” that might have destroyed the United States and other parts of the world.  Also, he plunged America into the Vietnam war.  USA Today’s entire series would fall like a “house of cards” if the truth about Kennedy and his family had been told, instead of repeating the factual distortions that have been spun since he was assassinated in Dallas.

There have been two outstanding books written about Kennedy and his life, and that of his family: American historian Thomas C. Reeves’ “A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy”[3] and Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Seymour M. Hersh’s “The Dark Side of Camelot.”[4] First published in 1997, Hersh’s book is a companion to Reeves’ equally fine book, which was published in the same year.  To have two truly outstanding books introduced at the same time, on the same subject, is interesting unto itself.

Like Reeves, Hersh laid bare the myth of “Camelot” for all to see. The Kennedy family and its sycophants have attempted to perpetrate that myth since the day Kennedy was shot—as well as myths surrounding the entire family, which is surely the most dysfunctional family ever to achieve significant political power in American history. Indeed, after reading both books, one wonders whether there was anything decent or moral about the family, certainly the male Kennedys.

Unlike Reeves, Hersh does not mention Ted Kennedy’s culpability in the tragic death of Mary Jo Kopechne in 1969, just as she was about to celebrate her 29th birthday, and the ensuing Kennedy cover-up.  Similarly, Hersh makes scant mention of Marilyn Monroe, with whom both JFK and, after him, Bobby Kennedy had affairs, nor does Hersh discuss the possibility that she was murdered. Instead, he discusses JFK’s long-time relationship with Judith Campbell Exner, as well as his affair with an East German “prostitute” by the name of Ellen Rometsch.

Kennedy’s reckless affairs with women were only outdone by his irresponsible and dangerous relationships with mobsters such as Chicago crime boss Sam Giancana. These two character flaws merged when both Kennedy and Giancana had sexual liaisons with Exner, who was used as their go-between. Indeed, it is doubtful whether Kennedy would have become the president-elect in 1960 if the Mob had not helped him in Illinois and West Virginia—and Giancana claimed credit for that.  Kennedy was the son of a bootlegger, and the apple did not fall far from the tree, with respect to all three Kennedy brothers who entered national politics.

The thread that runs through the writing of Reeves and Hersh, and through JFK’s life, is utter recklessness—which not only endangered his life, but the lives of those with whom he came into contact, and every American. Perhaps the most vivid example is the “Cuban Missile Crisis” that Hersh documents in considerable detail, which might have been averted if JFK and Bobby had used their back-channel communications effectively with the Soviet Union’s Nikita Khrushchev and the Kremlin.

Instead, the two Kennedy brothers turned the crisis into a grand display of American military might—to further JFK’s political ambitions—which constituted recklessness that might have brought about a “nuclear winter.” Hersh states emphatically: “[Jack] Kennedy did not dare tell the full story of the Soviet missiles in Cuba, because it was his policies that brought the weapons there.”[5]

Those Americans who believed in JFK, as yours truly did[6]—and to a lesser extent in Bobby—were deceived and disillusioned with respect to almost every issue. The public perception bears almost no relationship to the actual facts. Indeed, thirty-four years after his death, the American people finally learned the truth about JFK (and his “hatchet man,” Bobby) from these two books and other sources. Even then, as Hersh describes in considerable detail, Kennedy operatives may have destroyed large amounts of historically-important documents.

Vast numbers of documents are still held by the Kennedy Library with respect to both JFK and Bobby, which have never been made available to the public.  This is a scandal unto itself.  Not the least of these are medical records about JFK’s health, which have only been reviewed by a handful of Kennedy “sycophant-like” writers.  Almost 50 years after Kennedy’s death, the full extent of his life-long medical problems is still being withheld from the American people and conservative scholars, and Reeves recounts many of those problems.

The failed “Bay of Pigs” invasion of Cuba, where Fidel Castro humiliated JFK and “the Kennedys,” led to almost 50 years of enslavement for the Cuban people, and repeated attempts by the two Kennedy brothers to have Castro assassinated. This fiasco has potential relevance today—with respect to the presidency of Barack Obama—because, as Hersh describes, there was a “prevailing sense that Kennedy could do no wrong.”[7] In fact, the Kennedy brothers ignored advice from the CIA and the military; and like Lyndon Johnson vis-à-vis later stages of the Vietnam war, they ran the “show” themselves and then tried to blame others when it failed colossally.

Ample mention has been made of JFK’s perpetual “thirst” for women.  Indeed, the three Kennedy brothers, Jack, Bobby and Ted, trashed what was sacred in their Catholic religion, such as the sanctity of marriages.  For them, nothing seemed sacred, ever.  Hersh uses statements from Secret Service agents to describe the president’s penchant for prostitutes, and how they and other women were “procured” by Dave Powers and some of Kennedy’s other “New Frontiersmen.” Jackie Kennedy’s travels were carefully monitored so that she would not return to find the president and women “frolicking” in the White House swimming pool or in the family quarters.

What went on in hotels and private homes, wherever JFK traveled, is described as well. The book also discusses JFK’s venereal disease(s)[8]; and the risks that he and Powers took by cavorting with women who had been waived through routine Secret Service checks without prior clearances, and who might have carried weapons, listening devices, drugs or something similar.

There is no question that Kennedy launched this nation into Vietnam; and his secretary of defense, Robert McNamara, was the architect of that lost war and the enormous suffering that it produced. Almost 60,000 brave Americans died, some of whom were my friends; and it impaled this nation’s honor on the horns of a tragedy that still haunts policy makers and citizens alike. What was not known generally until Hersh’s book is that JFK “had a chance in 1961 to disengage from an American involvement in South Vietnam.”[9] Instead, he chose to go to war, and to spend the blood of young Americans. Hersh states, again emphatically: “Whatever Jack Kennedy’s intentions were, Vietnam was his war, even after his death.”[10]

Hersh describes the constant pressure especially on CIA operatives, which was brought by JFK and Bobby, to have foreign leaders such as Castro killed.  Mob operatives were used with Bobby’s knowledge and involvement, even though as the U.S. Attorney General he was ostensibly prosecuting the Mob. The family patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy’s ties to the Mob are detailed, as well as his ruthlessness and penchant for women.  JFK’s first marriage to Durie Malcolm is also described, and his father’s efforts to expunge the record.

Hersh discusses how Bobby and Jackie believed that JFK was struck down by a “domestic conspiracy,” probably involving Mob boss Giancana or others.[11] However, Hersh states: “Robert Kennedy did nothing to pursue the truth behind his brother’s death [in 1963]. . . . The price of a full investigation was much too high: making public the truth about President Kennedy and the Kennedy family. It was this fear, certainly, that kept Robert Kennedy from testifying before the Warren Commission.”[12] Aside from prostitutes and other women, and close Mafioso ties and health issues, and the presidential election in 1960 that was stolen from Richard M. Nixon, Hersh details “cash payments” that JFK requested and received—which monies were ostensibly used to buy Ellen Rometsch’s “silence.”

A footnote in history, perhaps, but a very important one is that JFK hurt his back cavorting in a West Coast swimming pool. He was “forced to wear a stiff brace that stretched from his shoulders to his crotch.” As Hersh concludes: “The brace would keep the president upright for the bullets of Lee Harvey Oswald.”[13] Hence, JFK’s sexual escapades may have contributed to his tragic death.

Today, Kennedy is not someone to look up to, much less deify, as many of us thought when he was president. That conclusion was reached reluctantly by lots of Americans, years ago, with a sense of sadness rather than anger.  Like the potentate in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the myth about Kennedy and his feet of clay have become clear for all to see with the passage of time.[14]

Greatness is often achieved in times of war, and Kennedy never won the war with Cuba, much less the Vietnam war that he started, nor did he win the Cold War—which Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush won.  Kennedy was a tragic Shakespearean figure who may be forgotten and consigned to the dustheap of history, in no small part because of the question of character that both Reeves and Hersh described brilliantly in their terrific books.

USA Today’s series of articles extolling the virtues of Kennedy and his family are shameful, and constitute the gross distortion of history.  Indeed, they seem to represent yet another attempt by America’s discredited Left to glorify its politicians, regardless of how corrupt and immoral they may be.

Few young Americans even know who John F. Kennedy was—or care about him—because less than a handful of his positive accomplishments had any lasting significance.  Like former President William McKinley before him, the fact that an assassin cut short Kennedy’s life and presidency might be all that Americans recall about him 50 years from now.[15]

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g., http://www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com

[2] See http://specials.usatoday.com/jfk/

[3] See http://www.amazon.com/Question-Character-Life-John-Kennedy/dp/0029259657/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0 and http://www.amazon.com/Question-Character-Life-John-Kennedy/product-reviews/0029259657/ref=cm_cr_dp_synop?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending#R2SDUMI20EEA8Z

[4] See http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Side-Camelot-Seymour-Hersh/dp/0316359556 and http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Side-Camelot-Seymour-Hersh/product-reviews/0316359556/ref=cm_cr_dp_synop?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending#R3Q8NBIYKP5W01

[5] See Seymour M. Hersh, “The Dark Side of Camelot,” p. 343.

[6] Although I was not old enough to vote for him, I was in the Los Angeles Coliseum and watched while he delivered his acceptance speech at the close of the Democrats’ convention in 1960.  Also, despite growing up in a “devoutly” Republican family, I registered to vote as a Democrat when I was able to do so, largely because of him.

After law school at Berkeley—where I had walked out of one of my classrooms to learn that he had been shot in Dallas—I spent two years at the Pentagon and had an excellent offer to return thereafter to a wonderful law firm in San Francisco, for which I had worked briefly before entering the Army.  Instead, I went to work on Capitol Hill, in no small part because of Kennedy and the call to government service that his words engendered (e.g., “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country”).

In short, Kennedy had changed the course of my life, which is why the truth about his life—and the fraud that was “Camelot”—needs to be exposed, not covered up or papered over as USA Today has done so irresponsibly.

[7] Id at  202.

[8] Id at 230.

[9] Id at 265.

[10] Id at 437.

I know an outstanding reporter with impeccable, world-class credentials who is based in Washington, D.C.  This person covered the Vietnam war and other wars up to and including the present day.  I admire and respect the person’s experience, opinions and judgment greatly.  In an e-mail message that I received on July 29, 2010, the person wrote:

Tim, [w]e won the Vietnam war – and Congress lost it.

Let me explain.

Last US soldier left Vietnam March 29, 1973.

Saigon fell April 15, 1975.

ARVN – South Vietnamese army – did very well on its own for two years with US military assistance, but no US soldiers, not even as advisers to ARVN.

Then Congress, in its infinite wisdom, cut off all further military aid to Saigon.

ARVN saw no point in continuing to fight, stabbed in the back by the US Congress.

Gen. Giap, in his memoirs, says Hanoi was taken by surprise by what Congress did because they thought that taking Saigon would not be within their reach for two more years.

So Giap improvised an offensive – and Saigon fell without a fight.

I have no reason to believe that this person’s assessment is inaccurate in any respect.  I will not disclose the person’s identity while he or she is alive, certainly without permission to do so.

[11] Id at 450.

[12] Id at 456.

[13] Id at 439.

[14] See, e.g., http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Emperor’s_New_Clothes

[15] See also Timothy D. Naegele, “Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy: A Question of Character”—https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/ronald-reagan-and-john-f-kennedy-a-question-of-character/





Jefferson, Lincoln And America

22 03 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Three books are worth reading about Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and America: the “Domestic Life of Thomas Jefferson,” which was edited by his great-granddaughter, Sarah N. Randolph[2]; “Lincoln” by David Herbert Donald[3]; and “A History of the American People” by Paul M. Johnson.[4]

Jefferson was a giant, and the first book chronicles his extraordinary life through his letters and the letters of others, lovingly assembled and edited by Randolph.  At various points, the book is moving and tearful; elsewhere it is joyous and humorous. At all times, Jefferson’s seemingly-unlimited talents and brilliance, as well as his qualities as a decent human being and his erudition, shine forth.

The greats of American history come alive through their correspondence and Jefferson’s letters to George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, Patrick Henry and Alexander Hamilton, to name just a few—along with the Marquis de Lafayette and Napoleon Bonaparte of France.  We witness firsthand the American Revolution, this nation’s founding, Jefferson’s years in Paris, the French Revolution, and his presidency.

Perhaps three things stand out most of all: the depth of his love for his family and the meticulous care with which he nurtured each family member; his love for Monticello and his desire to return there and be rid of the burdens of public office; and his relationship with Adams that, once breached, is finally restored at the end of their lives.

Remarkably, both presidents died on the 4th of July, 1826.  To paraphrase the words of Jefferson, two “Argonauts” sailed on, leaving this country forever changed and better because they had passed here.  “I steer my bark with Hope in the head, leaving Fear astern,” Jefferson wrote to Adams in 1816.  From being Secretary of State and Vice President to two terms in the presidency, involving the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Jefferson never lost his love for or his belief in this great country.

He was a farmer, scholar, scientist, diplomat, a leader and a politician.  He was an accomplished horseman who was faithful to his belief in the need for at least two hours of exercise each day.  He was a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather; and he loved music, birds and his gardens in Albemarle County, Virginia.  And he was an American.

In the second book, “Lincoln,” Donald writes brilliantly, and truly spans Lincoln’s life and gives one a sense of being there.  Perhaps most striking is how the tide of events carried Lincoln and changed his views (e.g., with respect to the slavery issue alone, from colonization to emancipation).  Also, Donald describes Lincoln as a master, very calculating politician, not unlike the politicians of today.  He was certainly not the folksy backwoods caricature that often is presented, although he used that to his advantage (e.g., to disarm opponents and garner support).

Despite being wonderfully researched, and spreading out the facts for all to see, one gets the sense that what truly made Lincoln “tick” was unknowable, from a deeply personal standpoint.  Having worked on Capitol Hill, my sense is that most senators are that way, possibly because they have been compromised again and again to reach high offices, and to be all things to all people.

Also, it was interesting how Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman “saved” Lincoln politically, while many of his other generals were either indecisive or utter buffoons.  Lincoln knew that changes were needed, but he was often hesitant to “rock the boat” and make them.  After his reelection in 1864, he seemed much more self-confident, which was cut short by his tragic death.  The reader is left to wonder what he might have accomplished during his second term.

When the book ends somewhat abruptly, one’s interest has been whetted.  It is only too bad that Donald did not do an appraisal of “what might have been.”  There is no question that Lincoln was brilliant, and he was really maturing as a political leader when he was killed.  What a remarkable four years might have followed.  Also, with essentially no protection at all, it is surprising that more leaders of that time were not killed by the John Wilkes Booths of this world.  Lincoln, God love him, was fearless and a true fatalist—or at least that is how Donald depicts him.

One is led to think about Lincoln’s law partner, William Herndon, who was so important in Lincoln’s life, and his thoughts about Lincoln’s life and death.  Also, Grant’s memoirs—which are said to be the finest done by an American president—are wonderful to read, along with books about Reconstruction, the diaries of Lincoln’s two male “secretaries,” etc.

Years ago, I read an article about how one could only understand the Southern “mentality” by appreciating how conquered peoples—or the vanquished—have been able to survive throughout history under the rule of the victors; and Donald’s book sets the scene for that to take place.  Also, one cannot help but be impressed by what a monumental struggle the Civil War represented, and the human carnage that it left as well as the deep scars that remained.  This book is truly fascinating, and Donald provides a brilliant “birds-eye view,” which is well worth reading.

The third book is “A History of the American People” by Johnson.  For all of us whose ancestors came from distant shores, or however we ended up as “Americans,” this book is rich in details, events and trends that have been woven together to describe our history and what it means to be an American.  This reader gained a new sense of pride in what America is and how our history has evolved, and where we are apt to go as a people in the future.

The United States is a melting pot, or a rainbow of different colors, religions and ethnicities, and therein lies its soul, strength, creativity and diversity, and yes tensions.  Johnson’s weaving of minute facts into a tapestry that is “us” deserves to be read and reflected on by all.  We may not agree with each and every observation or conclusion, but we cannot help to be impressed by the sweep of history that Johnson chronicles and how he methodically marshals the facts into a remarkable and coherent whole, of which each of us is an integral part.

I only hated to see this book end—which was true of the other two books as well—and I wished that that I could read about the next 100 years of this “grand experiment” called democracy, but those pages are being written in history with each passing day, month and year.  While it took the arrival of a new millennium for Johnson to share this monumental undertaking with us, let us hope that similar brilliant works are forthcoming.

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years.  See, e.g.www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles

[2] See http://www.amazon.com/Domestic-Thomas-Jefferson-American-Classics/dp/0804417598/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

[3] See http://www.amazon.com/Lincoln-David-Herbert-Donald/dp/068482535X/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

[4] See http://www.amazon.com/History-American-People-Paul-Johnson/dp/0060930349/ref=cm_cr-mr-title





Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy: A Question of Character

20 03 2010

With the passage of time, America’s greatest presidents prior to the 21st Century are apt to be viewed as Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.  Gone from that list most certainly will be John F. Kennedy. Today, few young Americans even know who he was—or care about him—because less than a handful of his positive accomplishments had any lasting significance.

Reagan will be remembered, while Kennedy may be forgotten. This conclusion will surely offend those Kennedy disciples who are still pushing the myth of Camelot until its last gasp. Like William McKinley, the fact that an assassin cut short Kennedy’s life and presidency might be all that Americans recall about him 50 years from now.

It is striking how the death of Reagan . . . made one realize how great he was, and how small and inconsequential Kennedy’s accomplishments were. Aside from some flowery words—mostly written for him by Theodore Sorenson—and what remains of the once-vibrant Peace Corps, Kennedy’s legacy is almost nonexistent today.

Reagan was lucky and blessed to have survived an assassin’s bullet only 69 days after he took office on January 20, 1981, and America and the free world are fortunate that he did.  More than 40 years after Kennedy’s death, the full extent of his life-long medical problems is still being withheld from the American people and conservative scholars; and it is doubtful whether he would have lived to accomplish anything approaching what Reagan achieved.

Kennedy launched this nation into Vietnam; and his secretary of defense, Robert McNamara, was the architect of that lost war and the enormous suffering that it produced.  More than 50,000 brave Americans died, and it impaled this nation’s honor on the horns of a tragedy that still haunts policy makers and citizens alike.

Even before Vietnam, Kennedy was responsible for the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, where Fidel Castro humiliated him completely. This led to more than 40 years of enslavement for the Cuban people. The Cuban Missile Crisis, or Kennedy’s confrontation with the Soviet Union, might have given rise to a nuclear winter.

Reagan is remembered for having brought down that “Evil Empire,” as well as the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, and for freeing the people of Eastern Europe. Today, America’s friends in “New Europe” are its partners in NATO and its allies in the EU—as free men, woman and children who are no longer enslaved by communism.

Reagan’s marriage to Nancy was special and they were blessed with love. There was no hiding of mistresses by the Secret Service, which took place during Kennedy’s presidency. His reckless affairs with women were only outdone by his irresponsible and dangerous relationships with mobsters such as Chicago crime boss Sam Giancana.

Reagan was a doer who had style. Kennedy had style; however, the bloom has even gone off that rose. His serial womanizing, relations with Mafioso figures like Giancana—through their sexual liaisons with Judith Campbell Exner, who was used as their go-between—and other serious character flaws marred it.

Reagan was elected and reelected by landslides, while it is doubtful whether Kennedy would have become president in 1960 if the Mob had not helped him in Illinois and West Virginia—and Giancana claimed credit for that. Kennedy was the son of a bootlegger, and the apple does not fall far from the tree.

The discrepancy between Camelot and the man himself has been laid bare; and there is a stark difference between the hype of Kennedy acolytes and the truth. Perhaps the debunking of his myth is similar to what happened to this country after Vietnam. Maybe Kennedy and America’s invincibility before that war both shared a similar fate, and this country’s naiveté somehow ended.

Kennedy was not someone to look up to, much less deify. Many of us came to that conclusion reluctantly, years ago, with a sense of sadness rather than anger. Like the potentate in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the myth about Kennedy and his feet of clay have become clear for all to see with the passage of time.

In a recent Discovery Channel poll, Reagan was chosen as the “Greatest American,” edging Lincoln by a small margin. When he left office, Reagan had fulfilled his 1980 campaign pledge to restore “the great, confident roar of American progress and growth and optimism.” Also, greatness is often achieved in times of war, and Kennedy never won the war with Cuba, much less the Vietnam War that he started, nor did he win the Cold War—which Reagan won, as he implemented the policy of “peace through strength.”

Reagan will be remembered as one of America’s greatest presidents and a man of character. Kennedy was a tragic Shakespearean figure who may be forgotten and consigned to the dustheap of history. Perhaps this contrast between Reagan and Kennedy—this question of character that Thomas C. Reeves described in his terrific book about Kennedy—is what separates the men and underscores their differences, and ultimately will define their respective places in history.

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years.  See, e.g.www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles

[2] This article was published first at MensNewsDaily.com on August 1, 2005.  See http://www.naegele.com/documents/ReaganJFK.pdf