Linda McMahon and the JFK Legacy

An ad by the Linda McMahon campaign for the Connecticut Senate seat, featuring John F. Kennedy promoting tax cuts, has raised the ire of the Kennedy Clan. Ted Kennedy, Jr., nephew of JFK and son of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, wrote a letter to Ms. McMahon, requesting she and her campaign pull the ad, which has been put out on YouTube.

In the letter, Kennedy writes that the video “distorts the legacy of President Kennedy in order to mislead voters into thinking that President Kennedy would support your position on tax policy.”

He goes on to state, “President Kennedy advocated for tax cuts primarily in order to help the middle-class. However, your policies are about enhancing the wealth of the richest 2% of Americans.”

But, JFK’s rationale for tax cuts in a recession was precisely to leave money in the hands of those in the top tiers…you know, the job creators! Although it is tempting to invoke President Kennedy’s “a rising tide lifts all boats” quote (to be accurate, he didn’t use it in reference to taxes), he was nevertheless clear in his view that economic activity is generated primarily in the private sector, and not by government.

Speaking to the Economic Club of New York, Kennedy said


We shall, therefore, neither postpone our tax cut plans nor cut into essential national security programs. This administration is determined to protect America's security and survival, and we are also determined to step up its economic growth. And I think we must do both.

Our true choice is not between tax reduction, on the one hand, and the avoidance of large federal deficits on the other. It is increasingly clear that no matter what party is in power, so long as our national security needs keep rising, an economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenues to balance our budget — just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits.

This was a different time, with different threats, but the principles remain the same: higher taxes are “restrictive” to economic growth.

One final point: this letter is especially offensive, in that the history and legacy of JFK does NOT belong to the Kennedys – it belongs to America and all her people! The time of the Kennedys has passed. So please…no more bullying, no more whining, no more using the Kennedy name…just let your uncle retain some degree of dignity. Don’t try to recast his legacy and put him on the wrong side of history.