L.B.J., whenever I thought of him during his administration, he had Vietnam hanging around his neck. It was the only thing I actually associated him with: the expansion of the war and the bombing. Perhaps it was because I was coming up on 18 years of age and would face the draft. It could have been the nightly news of the war and it being fresh in my mind.
But there was far more going on involving Lyndon B. Johnson. The Civil Rights bill, the Fair Housing bill and the Voting Rights bill, along with Medicare. Years later after finally realizing all he had done, he [Johnson] was a far greater President than I would have imagined, or realized at the time. Bad on me, for what he did far and away outweighed his association with a war he had inherited. It took a toll on him too, as he put it, to “give the South to the Republicans ” which also meant it took a toll on the Democratic Party. But at the time I did not notice it or think about it.
FDR, foresaw the threat of the Nazis to the point he pulled a G. W. Bush or perhaps Bush pulled an FDR. Roosevelt wanted the American Nazis and those expressing either sympathies or anti war ideologies to be wire-tapped. This was at a time when we were not at war and did not look to be going to war against the Nazis. The Supreme Court refused to allow FDR’s wiretap, so FDR simply told his A.G. to go ahead and order the wire-tapping on the authority of the Office of the President.
Who does not think of FDR as a great President or knew at the time he willfully violated the orders of the Supreme Court and the Constitution? As it turned out, he was right in his suspicion of the Nazis and otherwise was justified in his actions. But still it is alarming to find out he did not hold up to the law.
As of yet I am not so willing to give G.W. Bush the benefit of the doubt as to his presidency. But it does give me pause, to wonder what will come out in ten or more years that will give far more insight then I had during his administration?
Perception and reality of a Presidency often are not the same, it would seem.