Lyndon B. Johnson gives 90-year old Rhode Island Senator Theodore Green “the treatment” in 1957.
I was complaining to Herbach the other day, after that Nobel speech, that I was really not enjoying watching Obama turn into LBJ over Afghanistan. Of course, I realize now that’s not totally fair to LBJ. Sure, Vietnam was bad, but look at the man’s legislative record: most monumentally, civil rights and Medicare/Medicaid, not to mention smaller accomplishments like the NEA and public broadcasting. All the stuff Kennedy gets credit for.
How did he get it? By being totally inflexible, basically. As he once said to Humphrey:
“Don’t ever argue with me [about health]. I’ll go a hundred million or a billion on health or education. I don’t argue about that any more than I argue about Lady Bird [Mrs. Johnson] buying flour. You got to have to have flour and coffee in your house. Education and health. I’ll spend the goddamn money. I may cut back some tanks. But not on health.”
I wish Obama would start acting less like LBJ in regards to Afghanistan, and more like LBJ in regards to health care.
For example, I heard Joe Lieberman on the radio this morning, saying in his Droopy Dog voice that he’d have “trouble” voting for that pathetic shell of a health care bill as it currently exists. Immediately, I imagined the response Lyndon Johnson would have had hearing about Lieberman’s “trouble”.
“You’ll have ‘trouble’ votin’, huh? You’re gonna have trouble walkin’, too, because Ah’m gonna put mah foot so far up your ass you’re gonna be tastin’ wingtips fer a month. Now you get back in there, and get your fuckin’ people together on this. We got sixty votes, and Ah will be god-damned if Ah’m gonna let this shit fall apart on me on account of Joe Fuckin’ Lieberman.”
I can’t quite imagine Obama leaning in like that.