An Apology to Lyndon Johnson

picture-4370Like many people of my generation, I had a visceral dislike of Lyndon Johnson almost from the start. John Kennedy would have been a hard act for any politician to follow, but the contrast between the two men made that traumatic transition of power even more wrenching than it already was. The fact that Kennedy’s conspiracy-inspiring assassination took place in Lyndon Johnson’s home state only added to the built-in antipathy so many of us had for his distinctly uncool successor, a rube with an accent that seemed to many of us to have been the auditory equivalent of ignorance and bigotry. Where Kennedy had been emblematic of youth, Johnson was the spitting image of a high school principal. Where Kennedy spoke elegantly, and with wit, Johnson sounded like a clodhopper, in sentences that struck the ear as lumbering and insincere.

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