“I’d rather my children red than dead,” President Kennedy told a young White House virgin whom he had summoned for sex, during the so-called Cuban missile crisis, according to the New York Post‘s account of a new book, Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath by Mimi Alford. Ms. Alford claims that she was a teen-aged intern who was invited to swim and expected to have sex with the President, Democrat John Kennedy, which she did, and that over the years of their affair she was also subjected to various forms of humiliation including being forced to consume what was probably amyl nitrate and asked to have sex with a Kennedy aide and a Kennedy relative (Ted). The book goes on sale this month.

None of this is surprising. As I recently observed, in posts about Richard Nixon and the Berlin Wall, President Kennedy, who has been sold as a great statesman, especially by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, was a shifty character and seriously deficient president who was an advocate of government control of economics and communications. If Ms. Alford’s charges are true – and I suspect they are – they add to the evidence that Kennedy was a flawed American president.

According to a piece on Slate, Ms. Alford’s identity was first revealed in 2003 in Robert Dallek’s published portions of a 1964 oral history in which the liaisons were described. Slate – hardly part of a vast, right-wing conspiracy – reports that the New York Daily News then found someone who confirmed JFK’s affair with the teen-aged subordinate. Slate notes that Time magazine’s late White House columnist, Hugh Sidey, who covered the Kennedy administration, wrote in Time that “there was a Mimi,” adding that “there was also a Pam, a Priscilla, a Jill (actually, two of them), a Janet, a Kim, a Mary and a Diana I can think of offhand.”

Given what we know of the sordid history of the Kennedys – their backroom deals, crimes and affinity for fascism – not to mention countless indiscretions, it is long past time the press and their puppet-masters in politics and government stop ignoring and distorting the truth. They should drop the pretense that JFK was a great president and start accounting for his actions. Ultimately, historians will judge the Kennedy family’s legacy on the merits of their ideals in action: trying to force Hollywood moguls to remove Jewish names from film credits to placate Nazis, allowing Soviet construction of the Berlin Wall, refusing to enforce the law on behalf of Americans who are black, creating military disasters including bringing the U.S. to the brink of nuclear war, and creating socialized medicine and HMOs.

The record speaks for itself without new disclosures which confirm what the press already knew: that they also used power to take advantage of those without power. Better red than dead – the opposite of Patrick Henry’s Give me liberty or give me death! – was more or less the Kennedy presidency motto; that it apparently was confirmed by a 19-year-old who lost her innocence to a power-lusting president (who indiscriminately used his power for lust) ought not to shock anyone, least of all the media. Let’s not hear anymore of this Camelot nonsense, except as a warning against media complicity in propagating the government’s lies.