For them, his conservative dimension is an inconvenient truth. Ira Stoll, in "JFK, Conservative," tries to prove too much but assembles sufficient evidence that his book's title is not merely provocative.
A Look magazine headline in June 1946 read: "A Kennedy Runs for Congress: The Boston-bred scion of a former ambassador is a fighting-Irish conservative."
Neither his Cold War anti-communism, which was congruent with President Harry Truman's, nor his fiscal conservatism changed dramatically during his remaining 17 years.
Visitors to the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum here, on the salt water across which his ancestors came as immigrants and on which he sailed his yacht, watch Kennedy press conferences, such as that of Sept. 12, 1963, when, responding to a question about Vietnam, he said his policy was to "win the war there" — "That is why some 25,000 Americans have traveled 10,000 miles to participate in that struggle." He added: "We are not there to see a war lost."
His answer was consistent with a 1956 speech calling Vietnam "the keystone to the arch, the finger in the dike," adding: "This is our offspring — we cannot abandon it."
A few years later, with the war going badly, several Kennedy aides claimed that he had been planning to liquidate the intervention. But five months after the assassination, Robert Kennedy told an oral history interviewer that his brother "had a strong, overwhelming reason for being in Vietnam and that we should win the war in Vietnam."
Will basically argues that Kennedy would today be considered the George W. Bush of his time: a scion of a wealthy New England family, a war and tax cut hawk, and a "compassionate conservative" who reached out to minorities.
Will is old enough to have been through Kennedy's presidency, and ought to know better than to overlook his stance on civil rights, the United Nations, nuclear proliferation, which got him labeled as a traitor by right-wing extremists. Since 50 years later these are the folks now running the Republican party, I'm thinking JFK would be even less welcome there.