Obama Is Not Kennedy But The New LBJ, We Are In Trouble Because of It
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Is Obama the New LBJ?
Don Surber has in interesting post comparing Barack Obama to LBJ:
While Obama sees himself as a black JFK — and anymore, he rides on his race in a way he did not 4 years ago — and some of us pegged his enemies list as Nixonian — Obama is more like a mini-LBJ.
Obama’s casual entry into the Libyan War — he barely interrupted his vacation to start it — is similar to Vietnam, except for the part about getting congressional permission. As awful as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was, it at least gave constitutional authority to the presidnet to bomb the crap out of a Third World nation. We made two mistakes in Vietnam: Going in and pulling out.
LBJ, too, was hard on the opposition press.
Johnson too interfered with private enterprise.
But it was the expansion of government — Public Broadcasting, Medicare and Medicaid, in particular — that marked the Johnsonian presidency. (The EPA, OSHA and other agencies would be added under Nixon.) Our nation is still crippled by the expense of Medicare and Medicaid. Indeed, Medicaid crushes many a state budget as well as the federal budget.
There is something to this, but Surber misses the core essence of what Obama is all about. To understand Obama, we need to see what is missing from the Obama-LBJ equation: left-wing protestors.
The hippies, yippies, anarchists, flower children, SDS, the Weathermen, and even many civil rights workers of the 1960s hated American society, the American culture, and the American political establishment. Growing up in the conservative 1950s, they remembered the era of Jim Crow and McCarthyism. Afterwards, they were inspired and then heartbroken by John Kennedy. Given this, they readily observed the hypocrisy of their parents and the establishment, and they despised what they saw.
In truth, they were on to something. There was a lot of ugliness lurking under the sunny conformism of the 1950s. It pretended to be a moral decade, but even some of the most religious of Americans were at best only Sunday Christians. Many Americans were not even that–they practiced a civil religion which spoke of God, but they did not live under any real moral standards in their business and personal lives.
This is what the leftists were on about. Yet, they failed to see their own hypocrisy. They failed to see that the problem was the evil of the human heart–an evil we all share. To the leftists, they and they alone were good. On the other hand, the greatest evil in America was LBJ, because to them he represented everything they thought was wrong with the US. He is hated by many of them even today.
There was no logic to this hatred, as LBJ stood for nearly all of the things they stood for, and his policies were policies passed down to him by Kennedy, their great hero.
From a visceral standpoint, LBJ reminded them of their parents and of the conformity of the 1950s–the very things they hated most. At the same time, the protestors had been co-opted–actually, duped–by Marxist professors and academics. These communists were not so concerned with capitalists, as they believed that capitalism would flounder under its own weight, and ultimately give way to communism. Instead, their worst enemies were the liberals and the socialists, as they would keep capitalism afloat through compromise.
Hence, LBJ was hated and protested, and the 1968 Democratic convention was disrupted, while Nixon and the Republicans were pretty much ignored. Humphrey lost the 1968 election by a whisker, simply because he was associated with LBJ. This was an election that Humphrey would have won, if it were not for the left.
Barack Obama’s mother was one of those leftists. He was weaned not on the liberalism of LBJ or Humphrey, but on a hatred of American life.
But Obama is in fine company here. In the 1970s, the leftists went mainstream and took over the media, academia, and even quite a bit of the business in the US. They wore suits and ties, but kept their old tie-died tee-shirts in a box in the closet along with their photos of Woodstock, and a few left-over joints and a roach clip “just in case”.
Some of these people came to their senses and have realized that America–with all of its hypocrisies and contradictions–is a pretty good place to live, and those communist and socialist states they once admired were, are, and will always be, failed states that can only survive through repression and the limiting of debate.
Others keep the faith. They still have not come to grips with their own hypocrisy and their own compromises: They hate others too much to look in the mirror and see what they themselves are. In many ways, they are like Robespierre–no matter how excessive they become in their thoughts and actions, they still believe in the bright future they profess, and will continue to do so even when their compatriots lead them to the guillotine. They have not come to grips with the evil that is in man’s heart–the evil that is in their own heart.
Certainly, Obama cannot be thinking of himself as the new LBJ. Everything he has uttered suggests that he views himself in Marxist terms–he is part of the vanguard reshaping America, making it in his eyes “less evil”. His own hypocrisies and contradictions are unnoticed by him and by those bitterly clinging to the leftist tropes of the 1960s. Since these people are not “the man”, objectively they must be good and what they are doing is always for the best. And like all true believers, no amount of evidence will ever convince them otherwise.
They–and he–have become what they despise the most.