Thursday, August 10, 2006

President Johnson --- Again

I had a some what heated discussion today. I said that LBJ was really a neo-conservative. My opponents said no he wasn't, he was a big-spending liberal.

NeoCons are not against big spending --- if it works (Beware of The Law of Unintended Side-Effects.)

But LBJ was for civil rights, help for the poor (he doubled Social Security payments from $50 a month to $100 a month (not inconsiderable when cost-adjusted) and so much more.

Many of his programs were distorted by vastly expanded Congressional Staffs, a judiciary branch almost out of control and McGovernites of stripes and sizes. (McGovern once told me --- on the air --- that he wasn't a McGovernite!)

Johnson fought the war in Vietnam for idealistic and realistic reasons. The friend of my enemy is my enemy, and the USSR and "Red China" were supporting the North Vietnamese. The USSR could wipe out America, and the world.

LBJ (influenced by the FBI's very strange director J. Edgar Hoover) bought some of the premise that there were "commies under every bed."

As I understand it, liberal icon I.F. Stone, still venerated on the Left, was getting a monthly retainer.

The Venona Papers verified much of that.

LBJ was, by my lights, a great, if flawed, man.

He knowingly took on the two toughest issues of his time: Desegregation and a very difficult "land war in Asia. The recorded tapes of LBJ show he knew it was a tough go.

It was my first job in Washington.

What a way to begin!

Ben

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