Saturday, August 12, 2006

President Lyndon Baines Johnson

I am reading the quite interesting Presidential Leadership published Wall Street Journal books 2004-2005. It ranks American Presidents.

George Washington is #1. James Buchanan is last at # 40.

Just about smack in the middle --- #18 is LBJ, under the heading "average."

Now, President Johnson was lots of thing. Historian Robert Dallek's book is called Flawed Giant.

I don't think much of Robert Caro's books.

(Im trapped in italics again --- Help!)

But LBJ was not average; not even close.

He knowingly took on the two hardest tasks : 1- Extending Civil Rights, 2- Fighting in Vietnam (with some terrible advice --- but praise or blame the President). Both in my judgement were critically important. The North Vietnamese were allied with the USSR and "Red China." The USSR could have wiped us out. The friend of my enemy is my enemy.

He drove the Great Society legislation through Congress. Would you want to live in a country with no enviromental rules? Without some honest feminism or consumer protection laws? The radiclibs went overboard on every one but on balance they made sense.

Others think LBJ was just plain nuts. A young man visiting at my house called him a "maniac."

But "average" --- not on your life!

Ben

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