As I was reading Dallas 1963, I was struck by the similarities between today’s political world and that of the early 1960s. Today the conservative right hates the President with an unreasoning venom, and they have hated him from the day he was elected. In the early sixties, the radical right hated Kennedy in the same way. At both times, it has been a type of hatred resistant to any reason or logic. Kennedy was hated for being a communist or a socialist. Obama is also called a socialist, although since the Cold War is over, I think much of what is behind the right’s hatred is racism.
Kennedy put forward a Medicare bill that was resisted with the same arguments that faced Obamacare. The right even talked about death panels in the early 60s even though they were just as nonexistent then as now. Here is what Hubert Humphrey, as quoted by the authors, said in 1963: the “extreme right . . . still see the world in total black or white . . . They are still substituting dogma for creative thought. They are still angry, fearful, deeply, and fundamentally disturbed by the world around them.” The right is no different today except that what was the “extreme right” in the early sixties is now a major faction in the Republican Party.