RFK Jr: You know, my uncle was also shot amid a climate of right-wing hate

Be sure to read the last post about Palin before you read Junior’s reminiscences or else you might not appreciate what a quintessential example this is of the left’s magical thinking about culpability. You want voodoo, you got it:

Uncle Jack’s speech in Dallas was to have been an explosive broadside against the right wing. He found Dallas’ streets packed five deep with Kennedy Democrats, but among them were the familiar ornaments of presidential hatred; high-flying confederate flags and hundreds of posters adorning the walls and streets of Dallas showing Jack’s picture inscribed with “Wanted for Treason.” One man held a posterboard saying, “you a traitor [sic].” Other placards accused him of being a communist. When public school P.A. systems announced Jack’s assassination, Dallas school children as young as the fourth grade applauded. A Birmingham radio caller declared that “any white man who did what he did for niggers should be shot.” As my siblings and I visited the White House to console my cousins John and Caroline, a picket paraded out front with a sign, “God punished JFK.”

Jack had received myriad warnings against visiting the right-wing Texas city. Indeed, there had been a sense of foreboding even within our family as he and Aunt Jackie prepared for the trip. Jack made an unscheduled trip to Cape Cod to say goodbye to my ailing grandfather. The night before the trip, Mummy found Jack distant and brooding at a dinner for the Supreme Court Justices. He was very fond of Mummy, but for the first time ever, he looked right through her…

Gabrielle Giffords lies in a hospital room fighting for her life, and a precious nine-year-old girl is dead along with five others. Let’s pray for them and for our country and hope this tragedy prompts another round of examination of conscience.

Nowhere in the post is Oswald mentioned, or his communist sympathies, or the fact that he had tried to kill an ultra-conservative general seven months before he shot JFK. Which, sadly, is not uncommon when an especially unscrupulous left-wing hack writes about Kennedy’s assassination. The “reasoning” here, I guess, is that because conservatives in Dallas hated Kennedy, the otherwise peaceful Oswald — an ideologue so devoted that he actually defected to the Soviet Union in the last 1950s — saw his mind turn from civil political opposition to Kennedy to murderous rage. The “climate” of anger affected him … even though his own political grievances were nothing like the Birchers’. That’s as coherent as I can make this argument, and in any case, I don’t think Junior’s concerned about coherence. He’s practicing voodoo here: Right-wing city –> ??? –> JFK assassinated. Fill in the blank yourself.

Tangentially, I was e-mailing with a friend yesterday about some of the coverage of the Giffords shooting, especially on political sites like Politico, and wondered what would happen if the left suddenly decided to advance the theory that Oswald shot Kennedy because Glenn Beck had traveled back in time and convinced him to do it. The political sites seem to take the view that as long as one side of the “debate” is making an argument, well, then that argument is a political fact of life and should be covered accordingly — even if there’s no evidence whatsoever for it. I might have missed it, but a quick skim through Politico’s stories on the shootings (of which there are now more than 100) reveals not a single piece devoted exclusively to the idea that the big “rhetoric” debate about Loughner’s motives is based on … nothing. They’ve mentioned that in the course of covering other angles to the story, like how the fallout will affect Palin’s chances in 2012, but as far as a standalone “Oh, by the way, the left made this whole thing up” piece goes, I haven’t seen one. Which makes me think, what would the headline at sites like that or at Hotline or at the Atlantic, etc, be if the left really did start pushing the “Glenn Beck killed Kennedy” narrative? “Liberals claim upper hand on ‘messaging’ in Beck/Kennedy killing”?

Jazz Shaw Jun 22, 2021 6:01 PM ET