Friday, July 22, 2011
Inevitably in a free society, those in power become targets of comedians, comics, cartoonists and caricaturists. In the sixties, we started with the idealistic, heroically caricatured Kennedy and we ended with the increasingly disrespected new guy, Richard Nixon. In between, in the Golden Years of that most volatile decade, we had LBJ.
Lyndon Baines Johnson was an old school politician, a Texas cowboy and a rich source for comedians everywhere. His obsession with his own initials (given to his daughters!), his wife's name (Ladybird!), his hangdog face and weird habits such as lifting up his dog by the ears and greeting reporters while in the bathroom. If Kennedy had not been assassinated, Vice President Johnson---whose name still is sometimes linked to that crime---would most likely never have been elected on his own. He wasn't the best President we ever had and he wasn't the worst. His social and civil rights initiatives ares till praised today but at the end of the day, his policies on Vietnam and his refusal to bow to the will of the people brought him down.
Still, above all the wonderful pop culture of 1966, he was our President! Here's an excerpt from LBJ's State of the Union address from January of '66.