Sunday, November 21, 2010

History lesson

I really prefer my Presidential candidates to know more than I do about political history in this country.

Which brings us to Sarah Palin.

In her book, Palin reportedly comments on John Kennedy's relatively famous speech in 1960 about his religion. Kennedy told a Houston group, "I am not the Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic."

According to the AP story, Palin's response was that Kennedy "essentially declared religion to be such a private matter that it was irrelevant to the kind of country we are."


Anyone familiar with that campaign knows that there were worries that a Catholic President would be taking orders from the Vatican on any issue of interest. Remember, we had never had a Catholic President at that point; I believe it was a major issue when Al Smith won the Democratic nomination in 1928. I think the nutcases said there were plans to build a tunnel from Rome to Washington if Kennedy won the election. (I think their relatives are on Internet forums today.)

Kennedy needed to get the issue out in the open, and he did so in that manner. Obviously, it worked, as Kennedy won the election.

I'm always a little suspicious when politicians start playing to a religious base. It all sounds like an appeal to "God's law" is actually an appeal to "My God's laws ... and not your God's laws."

But I'm more suspicious when politicians can't understand a history book.

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