We’ve blogged about how the movie Selma villainizes Lyndon Johnson, even though he was the president who pushed through the Civil Rights laws that Martin Luther King was marching for. The movie shows LBJ ordering the FBI to spy on Dr. King to collect dirt on him. But, as (liberal) columnist Richard Cohen points out, it was Attorney General Robert Kennedy who gave that order during his brother’s administration! [Read more…]
The movie Selma will be released next weekend and is already receiving great acclaim and Oscar buzz for its portrayal of Martin Luther King’s crusade for Civil Rights, centering in the demonstration he organized in Selma, Alabama.
But narratives, even apparently factual movies, like to have a villain, so Selma turns President Lyndon Baines Johnson into King’s nemesis. But historians are disputing that characterization, pointing out that LBJ was the president who proposed, pushed through, and implemented the Civil Rights laws. In fact, he even proposed the tactics to sway public opinion that King used in Selma!
I was 12 years old when I watched Lyndon Johnson’s campaign ad that showed a little girl picking daisies followed by the mushroom cloud of a nuclear blast. Even at the time, I understood the message: Don’t vote for that extremist Barry Goldwater! He will start a nuclear war!
Yes, the ad, if you thought about it was utterably lame (a little girl? daisies?), but it had to have contributed to LBJ’s landslide victory. Drew Babb analyzes the political commercial, which aired as a paid advertisement one time only on September 7, 1964 (after that, it was endlessly re-run by the three networks who covered the ad itself as a piece of news). He calls it the “mother of all attack ads.” [Read more…]
How the left hated Lyndon Baines Johnson back when I was in college! “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids have you killed today?” A version of Macbeth—Macbird, I believe was the title–accused him of killing Kennedy among other vile deeds. He was hated because he waged the Vietnam War. And yet LBJ was the most liberal president in the post-war era, having passed more social programs than just about anyone since FDR, including the Civil Rights Bill, the various measures that constituted the War on Poverty, and the ambitious government initiatives designed to create the Great Society.
But now LBJ is back in fashion among Democrats and others on the left, nostalgic for the way he could pass social programs. [Read more…]
You know about how Nixon taped everything that went on in the White House, a bit of historical preservation that blew up in his face with the Watergate scandal. Well, it was his predecessor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, who first wired the Oval Office. Now the LBJ tapes are coming out, and they have some explosive revelations.
The biggest one is that Richard Nixon, while he was running against Vice President Hubert Humphrey, feared that the Paris Peace talks, which were making progress, would end the Vietnam War, thereby hurting his election chances. So he secretly intervened, getting the South Vietnamese to pull out of the talks because they would get a better deal if he were elected. The talks collapsed, thousands more died, and because LBJ did not reveal what he knew, Nixon was elected president. See the details (so far being ignored by American media for some reason) from the BBC after the jump. [Read more…]