Recently I wrote a blog here about author Jim Pierson's view of why America's far left liberals believe that Americans have no good reason to feel pride in their country's past or optimism about its future. Daniel Pipes has just a superior article on this same subject with additional superb research material.
President Kennedy was assassinated by a New-Left-style communist. Kennedy, in brief, died because he was so tough in the cold war. Liberals resisted this fact because it contradicted their belief system and, instead, presented Kennedy as a victim of the radical right and a martyr for liberal causes.
The additional research that Pipes provides is how the American liberals took two bold steps to alter the course of American liberals.
Step 1. They characterized Lee Harvey Oswald as a right-wing extremist. They started spinning in varying degrees a giant conspiracy in which Oswald was a dupe of the mafia, the Ku Klux Klan, anti-Castro Cubans, White Russians, Texas oil millionaires, international bankers, the CIA, the FBI, the military-industrial complex, the generals, or Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson.
Step 2. They blamed the assassination not on Oswald the communist but on the American people, and the radical right in particular, accusing them of killing Kennedy for his being too soft in the cold war or too accommodating to civil rights for American blacks.
The final summation by Daniel Pipes is excellently written
In this "denial or disregard" of Oswald's motives and guilt, Piereson locates the rank origins of American liberalism's turn toward anti-American pessimism. "The reformist emphasis of American liberalism, which had been pragmatic and forward-looking, was overtaken by a spirit of national self-condemnation."
Viewing the United States as crass, violent, racist, and militarist shifted liberalism's focus from economics to cultural issues (racism, feminism, sexual freedom, gay rights). This change helped spawn the countercultural movement of the late 1960s; more lastingly, it fed a "residue of ambivalence" about the worth of traditional American institutions and the validity of deploying U.S. military power that 44 years later remains liberalism's general outlook.
Thus does Oswald's malign legacy live on in 2007, yet harming and perverting liberalism, still polluting the national debate.
I have disagreements with Republican candidates for POTUS 2008, but at least they are pragmatic and forward thinking compared to the 'blame America first' stable of candidates for POTUS 2008 in the Democratic Party.