The Uncensored History of the Three Most Destructive Presidents in History: Lyndon B. Johnson
Samuel Valk, Politics Contributor
This is part 3 of a series. Click for Part 1 or Part 2.
OPINION - Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lyndon Baines Johnson are the three most destructive presidents in American history. This is the final part of three installments about these three men, focusing on Lyndon Johnson.
Many Americans remember November 22, 1963 as the day that President John Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. However, that was also the day that Lyndon Johnson, Kennedy’s Vice President and a progressive-segregationist Democrat from Texas, was sworn in to the office of the presidency. He was on Air Force One while the oath of office was administered with a widowed Jackie Kennedy still in her blood-stained death standing next to him. America was looking for unity after the loss of their young president, but the months and years to follow proved to be tumultuous, all beginning with Lyndon Johnson’s handling of Vietnam.
Vietnam had been in a raging civil war since 1950, with the United States providing some military aid to the South. U.S. involvement in the war was simmering for years under Eisenhower and Kennedy. Johnson, however, put us right into the center of the war - the only war the United States had lost, at least in a foreign policy sense. Numerous factors contributed to the political loss; however, Johnson started our greater involvement in the war by using the U.S. military in the waters of Vietnam to exchange fire with the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin. Furthermore, he most likely fabricated the second incident in the Gulf entirely to get the U.S. into supporting the war in Vietnam. However, the conflict in Vietnam was not the only war Johnson lost control of.
Johnson declared a “War on Poverty” in his 1964 State of the Union Address. Poverty rates have only stagnated since the policies for the War on Poverty were able to take. Before this point, the rates of poverty were consistently dropping. The most far-reaching of the programs Johnson introduced were his “Great Society” programs. However, the programs only increased the size and scope of the government, especially for the impoverished by making them reliant on the state. The programs effectively replaced the poor father with the state. Finally, these programs disproportionately affected African Americans and poor and unskilled immigrants coming into the United States in the program’s destruction of self-reliance and the replacement of the father with the state.
Finally, one of the biggest myths about Johnson was his civil rights record. While it is true he signed the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act during his tenure, he had a record of opposing such measures while in the Senate. Johnson, known for doing many major things for his own political expediency, would use bills like the Civil Rights Act to divide his constituents. While it is unknown if he said the infamous “I’ll have those N****** voting Democrats for 200 years,” what is known is that Johnson most likely signed the bill solely for political purposes.
This type of behavior, of signing bills that he completely disagreed with while simultaneously tarnishing the character of Barry Goldwater, a man with a history of conservative values and a civil rights champion, just for disagreeing with one title of the bill, is unacceptable. Lyndon Johnson’s behavior in office was absolutely atrocious. The effects of his presidency, especially that of his “War on Poverty,” can still be felt today in many negative fashions. His type of progressivism achieved what progressives like Wilson and Roosevelt wanted: to have the government in control over our lives, in more aspects of our lives and operating solely for political purposes.
You can follow the author on Twitter: @SamDemands
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