Still searching for JFK

When presidential candidates posture as the new JFK, do they realize he was more a dove than a hawk?

Topics: Books,

I’m glad to be back in the pages of Salon, where I’ll be blogging on my new book, and offering some related political observations over the next few weeks. The book explores the tumultuous inner life of the Kennedy administration and chronicles Bobby Kennedy’s secret search for the truth about the murder of his brother. I hope it will stir a new debate about the Kennedy legacy. That’s why I started Salon back in 1995 with a band of like-minded journalists — to raise questions that the media gatekeepers were avoiding. It seems a particularly relevant time to reexamine the Kennedy saga, as the Democratic Party once again begins the search for a candidate who can electrify the nation. Every four years, the party — and the nation as a whole — inevitably asks, Where’s the next JFK? But Kennedy’s legacy is still hotly debated. What is the real meaning of the Kennedy presidency, beyond the gauzy Camelot mythology — and the more recent counter-myths of a reckless playboy and a Cold War hawk? These are far from dusty, arcane squabbles — they bear on the future of the Democratic Party and on the country’s foreign policy as we prepare to dig ourselves from the wreckage of the Bush reign. The world that John F. Kennedy dared to imagine — a world no longer divided into enemy camps, Us vs. Them, hovering on the brink of destruction — is just as inspiring today as when he first articulated it.

David Talbot

David Talbot, the founder of Salon, is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years.” He is now working on a book about the legendary CIA director Allen W. Dulles and the rise of the national security state.

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