One of the accepted wisdoms of the 1960 presidential election is that Joseph Kennedy delivered Illinois for his son, John, through the former’s close connections to organized crime. We believe that this fable is long overdue for reconsideration.
This legend of the 1960 election rests upon the notion that Joseph Kennedy was a rum runner who was consequently in cahoots with the mafia and thus in some way beholden to them. With these close connections to the underworld, Joe pulled a few chits and bribes in Chicago to get the Daly machine, also beholden to organized crime, to deliver the state of Illinois to Kennedy, if by a hair.
The problem with the theory is an absence of facts. We have previously reported scholarship which shows that Joe Kennedy was not a rum runner, and we would extend the thesis that connections to organized crime were slender.
The Kennedy brothers made a name for themselves in the 1950s as being tough on organized crime, with Bobby involved in Congressional investigations into the matter. This did not sit well with FBI chief J Edgar Hoover who was in fact a pal of the crime lords. Hoover was quite a corrupt of official, even having cheated extensively on his income taxes.
If Joe were such a friend of the syndicate, then surely he would have helped his friends by calling off his attack dog sons from their pursuits of the criminals in organized crime – especially Jimmy Hoffa. As Attorney General, Bobby Kennedy was even more ardent in his attempts to retire the corrupt union leaders and to undermine their involvements in crime.
In fact Bobby published a book on the subject of organized crime in the 1950s in an attempt to warn Americans of its lethal dangers. The problem is that organized crime has penetrated every element of American society and government, in large measure due to the CIA who uses it for many of its criminal operations.
It is a fallacy of history to say that J Edgar Hoover was a foe of crime. He was its patron saint who often looked the other way as it slimed its way through American business. The plutocrats control American business and the CIA of whom the Kennedys ran afoul when they went after organized crime, a transgression which cost both of them their lives.
Thus it seems highly unlikely to us that the mob delivered Illinois to Kennedy. It was Nixon, in fact, who had the close ties to labor and crime as his followers included Jack Ruby, George Meany, Bebe Robozo, Robert Vesco and others in and around the crime scene. The establishment was greatly behind Nixon whose loss was something of a shock.
Copyright 2013 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.