I did not expect to find a conspiracy theorist within a presidential cabinet, but if you’re a liberal Democrat from Massachusetts with the initials “JFK,” maybe you’re obliged to believe that the truth behind Kennedy’s murder must be more epic than a lone nut picking him off from a window. In fairness to Kerry, this is the mildest, most benign theory of a “conspiracy” about the assassination that one can hold. He’s not claiming Oswald was a patsy; he’s not claiming there were other shooters; he’s certainly not claiming that American agents were involved. The conspiracy he’s talking about is the possibility of clandestine Russian/Cuban support for Oswald — and even there he’s cagey, mumbling about Oswald maybe having been “inspired” by someone or something at some point. Obvious question: If the Soviets were going to risk a world war by killing the president, wouldn’t they have preferred to recruit an American assassin who, er, hadn’t defected to the USSR a few years before? That’s an invitation for people to blame them, whether they had anything to do with it or not. And if they did recruit Oswald, why would they have authorized him to risk capture or death before the attempt could occur by having him try to kill Gen. Walker earlier that year? Spitballing theories about the Kennedy assassination is a national pastime, but maybe you don’t get to participate in that pastime if you’re … the chief diplomat of the United States, tasked with dealing with Russia and Cuba.
On the bright side, Kerry’s theory is admirably free of the Orwellian tendency among some on the left to blame the right for JFK’s death. And he is, to be sure, very much within the mainstream in doubting “the official story.”
As of 2003, 68 percent of Americans believed there was a cover-up to hide the truth of the assassination. The public’s gotten more credulous over the last decade, but only relatively: Today, 59 percent say they believe there was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy versus 75 percent a decade ago. With Boomers dying off in greater numbers, figure it’ll finally drop below 50 circa 2025.
In honor of a slow news Friday afternoon, feel free to use this thread to hash out all your JFK-assassination disagreements. If it finishes with fewer than a thousand comments, I’ll regard it as a personal defeat. Click the image to watch.