By now you've probably seen the interview on NBC or read the news about JFK's affair with a 19 year old intern named Mimi Alford. Ms. Alford, who has written a book about the 18 month affair, says that Kennedy never kissed her, but was quite playful, especially when they shared baths together.
Of course NBC put on three people who'd written books about JFK at the end of the interview to give the liberal icon his props. All three were liberal partisans and said this would not make a dent in JFK's legacy. A prof. interviewed during the program, however, said the event which involved JFK's coercing her to have oral sex with Powers went beyond just having a mistress and made Kennedy, in his mind, a much diminished figure.
One wag on the Mail Online comment thread said that instead of Camelot, they should call the JFK White House "Came-a-lot."
All joking aside, I've always liked JFK as a politician. He was president when I was young and just beginning to make my way in the world. He had a sense of humor and "vigor" and didn't seem like all the other older guys who'd been president before him. He was a liberal in the older, more traditional sense. He was a WWII vet, patriotic, a little more cautious (read conservative) about taking huge socially altering steps that his progressives descendants later, oblivious to the consequences, would have no hesitation to take. I think his assassination forms a dividing line down the history of the U.S. Everything seemed to change after that. Liberalism itself. Politics. The music, the movies, the whole damn culture. People say America's in decline today because we've stopped believing in ourselves. If that's true (and I'm not sure I agree that it is), our self doubt began 49 years ago right after JFK's assassination.
As I watched interview and later read a little more about Ms. Alford's expose, I had a couple of thoughts. First, Newt Gingrich. Am I wrong or do the details of JFK's affair make Newt's escapades seem like small potatoes? Poor guy can't catch a break. He's finishing second in everything lately. Meanwhile, Democrats seem to definitely like them young. Monica was only 22 when the approximately 50 year old Clinton taught her how to smoke a stogie. Ms. Alford says she was a virgin until Kennedy took her up to his wife's bedroom in the White House.
Then I said to myself, there's probably a good country song out there that can amplify all of this, kind of help put it in perspective. But before I could think of a country tune, I thought of one of my all time favorite blues songs, Muddy Waters' "She's Only Nineteen Years Old."
The speaker in Muddy's song says he's got a good thing going but he does seem a bit worried about "keepin' her satisfied." And man, does Muddy work that slide during the break. He's happy with his sweet young thing, but those wailin' and cryin' strings tell you what kind of worries are messing with his mind.
Since Muddy first recorded this in 1958, I wonder if JFK possibly listened to this sometime during his affair. He was the most powerful man in the world at the time. Even though he was about 25 years older than Ms. Alford at the time, I doubt he had the same worries as the speaker in Muddy's song.