“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” That phrase has been attributed to both Knute Rockne and Jittery Joe Kennedy. I’m going with Rockne; a more suitable phrase to attribute to Kennedy would be “when the going gets rough, I cower under a chair and pay off goons to do my dirty work.”
Jittery Joe Kennedy, patriarch of the Kennedy dynasty, was perhaps the single worst American of all time. Just how appalling a human being was he? Well, it is practically impossible to find anything even remotely admirable about the man. He didn’t kill babies, as far as anyone knows, so I guess he’s somewhat more admirable than a shocking number of Texas mothers. And yet he did effectively kill one of his own daughters. More on that particular aspect of Joe Kennedy’s disgusting personality later. Ah, heck, let’s get to it right now. JFK had a sister name Rosemary, whom most people today remember only as a woman with an IQ slightly above George W. Bush; a mental vegetable. In fact, Rosemary was born with only a lower than average IQ. She was able to talk and engage in social activities, though clearly not to the degree of her siblings. Well, of course, for good ol’ Jittery Joe Kennedy anything below average was equitable with embarrassment to the family. As Rosemary grew older she grew more assertive and even belligerent. Jittery Joe heard of this newfangled operation that could calm down the seething sexuality of a young, mentally disabled woman. It was called a lobotomy. Joe Kennedy sent his own daughter to be lobotomized and apparently was quite convincing in expressing shock that it all went horribly wrong. Guess all the time in the movie business paid off. Rosemary lived out the rest of her miserable life with the IQ of a four year old. The sins of the father had begun.
What were those sins that were perhaps, if you believe in such things and I’m sure most Catholics of Jittery Joe’s era did and probably still do, resulted in the string of tragedies to beset Jittery Joe’s children? Well, the man did make a mint as a bootlegger. He was also known to be quite ruthless in business dealings; meaning he cheated people, had his goons bully people, got involved with the mob, and flaunted his affairs in front of his wife and kids, including an infamous episode in which a young JFK saw his dad screwing silent film goddess Gloria Swanson and himself took a swan dive over the boat. Young Johnny was allegedly traumatized by the event, but he clearly got over that pretty quickly. Yes, Jittery Joe let it be known to his sons, though surely not his daughters, that a little on the side was all right for a man. More than all right. Joe Kennedy instilled in his sons the belief that cheating on your wife was the manly thing to do; apparently his kids confused cheating on your wife with cheating at everything else. JFK cheated to be named most popular dickhead at Harvard or some such honor, Ted Kennedy was kicked out of Harvard for cheating, and JFK won the 1960 election by rigging the election, courtesy of some well placed campaign advertising dollars on The Godfather Channel. Joe’s money to his mob friends turned the tide in the closest election of the 20th century; without a little help from guys with vowels at the end of their names, Richard Nixon would have been the winner.
Jittery Joe was quite the father, I tell you what. He adored his eldest son, Joe Jr., and was grooming him for the Presidency. People today love the Camelot image of JFK being born to become President; in fact, Joe pretty much ignored everything JFK did when he was younger. He wasn’t considered quite bright or charismatic enough by his dad to be worth the effort. Everything that Jittery Joe Kennedy did from the moment of his first son’s birth was dedicated to buying him the Presidency that he later was forced to grudgingly buy for the George W. Bush of the Kennedy clan, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. So why was America forced to endure a JFK Presidency in which that “J” stood for John rather than Joe? Because Joe Jr., was shot down during World War II. With his father’s clearly favorite son now gone, JFK knew it was time to pick things up a bit and quite being the lazy, not-too-bright frat boy he’d been. In other words, rather than allowing his son to choose his own life, Jittery Joe thrust politics upon him. Don’t you just love the man?
Funny thing about the Kennedys. They are always picked out as the symbol for liberal woolly-headedness. One can only assume the sins of the father were oppositionally responsible for this, since Jittery Joe was about as far to the right as imaginable. One of Jittery Joe’s great pals was none other than Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the mush-for-brains Wisconsin wacko responsible for destroying the lives of thousands of innocent people. You don’t get much farther to the right than McCarthy without becoming an outright fascist. Which brings us to perhaps the single greatest reason why Jittery Joe Kennedy should be voted the worst American of all time. Jittery Joe, as a Catholic, had no great love for Jews. It might be too much to call him an anti-Semite outright, but then again if the cheese smells, eat it. Jittery Joe’s correspondence shows, in terms that cannot even come close to being called ambiguous, that he looked upon Adolf Hitler as providing a welcome answer to the growing problems of not just too many Jews in the world, but too many communists. It is so hilarious to hear anyone call the Kennedys communists, since their father, Jittery Joe, was everything but a registered Nazi. The man loved Hitler and looked forward to his appearance on the world stage. In fact, such was Jittery Joe Kennedy’s love for Adolf Hitler than in one single misguided moment he utterly destroyed his own political ambitions forever. As Ambassador to England, Joe Kennedy sided with the wrong team. He denounced Winston Churchill’s warnings about Hitler, and instead linked arms with Neville Chamberlain, the great appeaser. Every word that Kennedy spouted about Hitler was glowing and he downplayed the threat of a Nazi regime. He effectively committed political suicide with his now infamous assertion: “Democracy is finished in England. It may be here.” Even as the German Blitzkrieg was cutting a bloody swath through Europe and bombs were falling from the sky over London, Jittery Joe Kennedy remained fervent in his belief, compounding his own idiocy by claiming that England was not fighting for democracy, but merely its own preservation. What a great guy. What a great, great guy.
By the way, you may be wondering why I refer to him as Jittery Joe Kennedy. Well, it appears that whenever Joe was busy extolling the merits of Hitler and one of his hero’s bombers would appear in the sky and the air raid siren would go off, Joe Kennedy was always the first to disappear and run for cover, often shivering in fear. A great father, a great husband, a great humanitarian and brave as well.