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I thought the liberal giants of my youth were usually mistaken, but I never doubted their intelligence, their good intentions, or their patriotism.

Those of us who are or were in Army Special Forces will always be grateful to Jack Kennedy for giving us the Green Beret. And what red-blooded all American boy doesn’t admire a guy who shagged both Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield?

No politician has been a more effective defender of America’s national security than Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson, D-Wash, for whom I would have voted if Democrats had nominated him (instead of that pious fraud Jimmy Carter) for president in 1976.

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-NY, the premier sociologist of his time, was a “social scientist” who was really a scientist. What a concept!

Sen. Hubert Humphrey, D-Minn, was a passionate advocate of equal rights at a time when the only other politicians who were, were Republicans. Then the mayor of Minneapolis, he fought so hard, and so effectively, against the segregationists at the Democrat national convention in 1948 he prompted the Dixiecrat walkout. Humphrey was the chief sponsor of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The “Happy Warrior” was renowned more for his exuberance than for his intellect. I remember covering a speech he made to farm reporters. Speaking of agricultural subsidies, Humphrey said: “Ten thousand bushels of wheat. Ten thousand bushels of wheat. You know what that is? That’s peanuts!”

Humphrey was a U.S. senator for 22 years, and LBJ’s vice president for four, but (unlike most long-serving Democrats today, and many in his), he never tried to cash in on his “public service.” He may often have been mistaken about how best to do it, but Hubert Horatio Humphrey was in government to help others, not himself.

Like Voltaire who said: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it,” Kennedy, Jackson, Moynihan and Humphrey were defenders of free speech.

They fought hard for what they believed, but they played by the rules. They understood how critical to liberty and democracy is the rule of law.

These liberal giants of not so long ago treated political opponents with dignity and respect. When they served in the Senate together, Jack Kennedy and my first political hero, Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz, were good friends. Had they run against each other in 1964, the race would have been civil, and edifying.

To get an idea of how much better things used to be than they are now, read Allen Drury’s Pulitzer prize winning novel, “Advise and Consent” (1959).

Not a single Democrat in high public office today resembles Jack Kennedy, Scoop Jackson, Pat Moynihan or Hubert Humphrey. Most are in government to help themselves, not others. Calling Republicans names is their idea of “debate.” In their efforts to suppress the speech of those who disagree with them, they’ve trashed the rule of law.

“Liberal” is an appellation derived from the word “liberty.” Most Democrats today aren’t liberals. They’re fascists.

Little illustrates this more clearly than their reaction to the shocking videos of Planned Parenthood’s ghoulish trade in the body parts of aborted fetuses. The videos reveal that PP opposes bans on late term abortions chiefly because they get higher prices for the livers and kidneys of fetuses nearing viability.

Jack Kennedy, Scoop Jackson, Pat Moynihan and Hubert Humphrey would have been horrified by the videos, would have joined with Republicans to deny PP federal funds.

Few Democrats today are disturbed by Planned Parenthood’s ghoulish trade in body parts. Pat Moynihan coined the phrase: “defining deviancy down.” He’d be amazed at how far down Democrats these days define it.

What today’s Democrats object to is disclosure of PP’s ghoulish practices. House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi has written to Attorney General Loretta Lynch to demand an investigation of the Center for Medical Progress, which made the videos.

And New York’s Dem Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has gone down to the very bottom of the deviancy barrel by issuing a fund-raising letter in support of Planned Parenthood’s depravity.

There’s just one word that describes, accurately, politicians who would issue such letters. That word is “evil.”

Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret, and was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force during the Reagan Administration. He is the national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.