In the decades that followed, along with the horrors (from Vietnam to 9/11), there would be positive developments (above all, the defeat of Soviet Communism) and certainly better presidents than the internationally adored JFK. But scarcely anything – not even the very best things – would remain entirely untouched by such toxic, illiberal post-JFK phenomena as political correctness, multiculturalism, and the culture of victimhood. JFK himself, an essentially conservative politician who had been killed by a Communist, would likely have rejected these phenomena outright, but no matter: many of their adherents did their best to turn him into a symbol of them.Bawer says that but for that fateful day 50 years ago, there would likely never have been a President Carter or a President Obama:
The thoroughly appalling Jimmy Carter, for example, would surely not have won in 1976 if his palpably bogus Everyman act hadn’t appealed to millions of media-age voters in the wake of the overblown debacle of Watergate. It was Carter’s fecklessness, and his evident (and dangerous) discomfort with the idea of America as the Fortress of Democracy, that made possible the 1980 Reagan victory, and it was Reagan’s revolution that saved America, and the free world, from the Carter retreat (and, moreover, helped bring about the Soviet collapse).
After the Carter nightmare, more than thirty years had to go by before it was possible for a new generation of voters (for whom the Carter years were ancient history) to elect, and even re-elect, another man who was even less fond than Carter of his own country and who, in addition to making war on constitutional liberties and on the economic system that had made America rich, stood for an even more extensive, and more damaging, U.S. withdrawal from superpower responsibilities – all of which, barring the arrival on the scene of a new Reagan, may yet succeed in unraveling the American miracle.A miracle that, what with the fallout from ObamaCare and the Senate opting for a "nuclear option" (not to mention a soon-to-be nuclear Iran), is unraveling at an alarming rate.