Ladies and Gentlemen.  We are convened here today to consider the similarities and differences between John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a deceased U.S. president and self-described liberal, and Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, a self-described conservative, and a current candidate for president of the United States.

You will recall that last week I vented my anger on Cruz for trying to don John F. Kennedy’s mantle, strip him of his self-determined personae as an American liberal, and rebrand him a conservative Republican of today...much like Ted himself.  (Yes, the bile rises in my gorge whenever I hear the claim, or I hear a phrase or a paragraph or an idea that Cruz has cherry-picked out of context to advance his sophistry and trumpet himself as the messenger bringing all revealed truth. His pious treacle turns my stomach and sends me rushing for the Tums.  No, I just can’t see Ted, as he seems to see himself in his self-adoring delusions, as a hero in some Miltonian or Shakespearean drama.  Talk about pathos devolving into bathos!  Maybe, after his crash to earth this November, his punctured vanity will settle for a Fox biopic on the small screen.   Maybe he can get Adam Sandler to play the title role. Oops, I see I have strayed from my fair and balanced inquiry addressing the similarities and differences between Kennedy and Cruz.  My apologies.)

Let us then proceed with the compare and contrast process. 

Kennedy was a war hero in World War II, saving the lives of 11 crewmen after his PT boat (PT-109) was rammed by a Japanese destroyer in the Solomon Islands in 1943; he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corp Medal for gallantry in action.  Cruz never served a day, but has a plan to carpet bomb Isis.

Ethnically, Kennedy was all Irish, the extensive family firmly planted in Massachusetts.  Cruz, with a Cuban father and an Irish-Italian mother, was born in Calgary, Canada, but now lives in Texas, for which he is the junior U.S. Senator.

Kennedy was a Roman Catholic.  Cruz is a Southern Baptist   While relations between the two beliefs have seldom been cordial, Cruz has taken a public stand in protecting the religious liberties of the Little Sisters of the Poor... it has to do with the federal government forcing nuns to pay for birth control in their health insurance plans.

Kennedy was athletic, fond of touch football and sailing.  Cruz prefers more cerebral exercises, like marathon readings of Green Eggs and Ham to his Senate colleagues.

Kennedy was popular among his fellow senators, even those who were thought to be his ideological opposites, like Barry Goldwater.  Cruz, not so much.  Senator Lindsay Graham (R, South Carolina) said, “if you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was held in the Senate, you wouldn’t be convicted.”

Kennedy was an original and eloquent speaker.  Cruz agrees, and has decided that rather than develop a voice of his own, he will quote JFK often...though sometimes he gets John confused with his brother Robert and makes a fool of himself.

Kennedy was celebrated for his sharp wit.  Cruz, a collegiate debate champion, is far more serious, concerned with advancing the absolutist dogma of the religious far right.

Kennedy and wife Jacqueline moved socially in the international jet-set circle, numbering many international artists, intellectuals and diplomatic social fixtures as friends.  Ted and wife Heidi are not invited to traditional Republican white folk socials for the rich and powerful, for some reason.   But they are very popular at Tea Bagger barbecues where they prefer country music to rock because it is more patriotic.

Kennedy was widely considered handsome.  Cruz is a Squidward Tentacles look-alike.

Enough of these generalities.   Let’s now close in on specific beliefs and policy differences between the two.  We pretty much know where Kennedy stands or would stand on issues that have become prominent since his death; just re-read his definition of, and belief in, liberalism in the previous blog entry.   Then infer.  What about Cruz?

Oops again.  I see I have run over my time and space.  So there will have to be a third part to this entry, coming up later this week, that will address such major issues as global warming, foreign policy, health care, gay marriage, and, of course, taxation.

See you then.