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Reagan-jfk Smackdown

Regarding my Reagan-Kennedy item below, Ramesh Ponnuru snarks:

Jonathan Chait explains that conservatives' reverence for Reagan is nothing like liberals' reverence for Kennedy, because the former has philosophical content and the latter is entirely about stylistic matters. He seems to think that this is a point in liberalism's favor.

Well, I'm not saying liberalism lacks philosophical content. I'm saying that its philosophical content does not consist of latching onto an old president, glossing over the reality of his record, and trying to recreate all of his actions whether or not they have any bearing upon the circumstances of the present day.

The liberal attachment to the Kennedy mystique is a pretty harmless form of nostalgia. If liberal policy debates were dominated by by the assumption that re-imposing former JFK legislative achievements and RFK campaign promises held all the solutions to the worlds problems, I submit that would make liberalism less rather than more intellectually vital. The "philosophical content" of Reagan-worship is a cult-like process for circumscribing original thought.

--Jonathan Chait