The blogosphere is all atwitter about Mimi Alford and her allegations that the late John F. Kennedy bamboozled her into an affair when she was a 19-year-old intern at the White House. A site called Rock Center has an interview with her, which you can read for yourselves.
Regretably, JFK's many marital infidelities are so well-documented that no one - not even the most ardent of Kennedy devotees, doubt them. So when someone like Alford comes along, a common reactions has been to automatically assume that she is telling the truth. I'm not willing to blindly jump on that bandwagon, and I find it most disconcerting that some otherwise sensible Catholic bloggers seem to be doing precisely that. They seem to forget that the existence of a general pattern of misbehavior does not constitute evidence of the same misbehavior in specific instances.
As you read through the Rock Center piece, you'll notice her allegations of being passed around from JFK to Ted Kennedy to aide David Powers. All these individuals are now deceased, JFK being dead for over 40 years. Obviously none of these men are able to refute Alford's allegations and tell their sides of the story.
Ms. Alford has written a book called Once Upon A Secret: My Affair With John F Kennedy And Its Aftermath. She stated in the web piece her difficulty in talking of the affair - but writing a book? What proof will she offer that this affair occurred? What irrefutable evidence will she present? In a word, why should we believe her? I'm not saying it didn't happen, but I'm not prepared to ascribe to her credibility. Think about it. She's coming forward almost 50 years later. All of the accused are dead, conveniently unable to contradict her charges. This smacks of detraction, if not calumny.
Again, JFK's established patterns of 6th Commandment violations do not constitute substantial corroboration for Alford's allegations. Will any evidence be offered in the book? Who knows? I certainly will not be dropping one penny to find out. I regret that too many people will plunk down their hard-earned cash to satify voyeuristic impulses. What a waste.
And now to address some points raised by someone who commented on the Matthews post at 6:17am today: The Alford "revelations" and the Clinton investigations are not at all equivalent. At the time the Clinton scandals broke, he was the President - not merely someone who had already been dead for decades. The investigations and impeachment occurred because there was concern that he not only had, but was currently (at the time) abusing his office as President of the United States to subjugate women to his whims, and the idea was to stop ongoing crimes. Of course Clinton had every opportunity to answer his accusers - as is proper in any real pursuit of justice. The accused in Alford's case lack such opportunity as they are quite voiceless. I don't know why you said she has a "duty" to spill her guts (assuming she is telling the truth in the first place). What good is being served? Who benefits? What crimes are being prevented (now that the "criminals" are long dead and buried)?
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