Thursday, October 28, 2010
Democrats Need Another LBJ
When he was elected a couple of years ago, I had hoped that President Obama would be a president in the mold of strong Democratic presidents of the past -- presidents like Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman or Lyndon Johnson. He is like a past president, but sadly, he is more like the corporate and Republican-appeasing Bill Clinton.
Instead of standing up to the Republicans and doing what he knows is right, he has tried to get along with them and water-down his proposals in the hopes that he can get Republican support (which will never happen). He acts like he's afraid he's going to make someone mad and spends far too much time trying to please too many people. In short, he needs to learn how to play political hardball.
The unadulterated king of political hardball was Texan Lyndon Baines Johnson. If it wasn't for his mistakes in Vietnam (a mistake Obama seems intent on repeating), I believe Johnson would have been lauded as one of our greatest presidents. In spite of heavy opposition (much of it from members of his own party), Johnson was able to get some great legislation passed and signed into law -- Voting Rights, Civil Rights, Headstart Program, War on Poverty, and Medicare to name a few.
President Johnson knew he couldn't please everyone so he just did what was needed regardless of what others wanted. And he had the political knowledge and muscle to get it done. President Obama could learn a lot from the example of Lyndon Johnson.
I'm not the only blogger who feels this way. The inimitable Karen Zipdrive over at Pulp Friction also misses the can-do and will-do attitude of Lyndon Johnson. Here's some of what she has to say (and I urge you to go over and read her full post):
"After John F. Kennedy was assassinated, he left several major, controversial projects on his desk in the Oval Office.
Johnson, who most people outside of Texas considered an oafish, redneck clown, went all-in and forced the passage of Medicare and civil rights legislation that forever changed the fates of elderly people and minorities for the better.
And by "forced the passage," I mean he literally approached defiant Senators and threatened to ruin them and their careers if they didn't vote his way. And by God, LBJ had the clout to do it.
The Republican bullies and teabaggers of today would have been tamed like Pit Bull puppies by Johnson, through diplomacy, threats or whatever means required to shut them the fuck up. Johnson was a mean, calculated bastard when it came to getting his way.
Unlike Obama, Johnson would never have dreamed of entering office with an aim to Kumbaya the Republicans. He hated Republicans because they stood for the same kind of shit they stand for now.
If LBJ was president now, crooks like Tom DeLay would be dancing with the convicts. Bill Frist would be working as a volunteer at some free clinic in the boondocks. Newt Gingrich would be a castrati singing in a boy's choir. As for Sarah Palin, first Johnson would have fucked her on the Oval Office desk, then exiled her to Wasilla for life. For all his backwoods oafishness, Lyndon Johnson was a brilliant politician who knew exactly how the game was played, and how to work the odds to his favor.
As a Democrat, I am adamant in saying we need another strong Democratic bastard or bitch in the White House, who wants to serve the people and not the Republicans, the military industrial complex or the corporate suits whose greed is insatiable."