PERCEPTIONS AND REALITY OF A PRESIDENT

I really hated President Bill Clinton, no really I had a hatred for him. I would have believed him capable of any ill and most certainly guilty of every allegation.  That was over a decade ago.  Now he was not that bad, looking back. My perception at the time was not supported by the reality of the time.  But that seems to happen a lot more then I realized, watching a program on the History channel really brought that home.

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.

15 Comments

Filed under George W. Bush, History, memories

15 responses to “PERCEPTIONS AND REALITY OF A PRESIDENT

  1. fnord

    What an interesting post, tstb!

    Yes, looking back does give one a better perspective.

    It also reminds me that we don’t hear (partly because we don’t listen) all sides of the story when we’re in the present. Maybe there are redeeming qualities to GW BUSH, and the decisions his administration made. Right now I can’t see them. But, it’s easier for me to see both the good and bad of Obama. It’s easier for me to identify those who won’t look beyond their hatred and biases. Probably just as it was easier for them to identify me as a bush hater!

    How do we become Americans first? How do we set aside preconceived notions and actually take a critical look at the whole vs what we’ve decided to see?

    • indypendent

      My first thought would be – let Rick Perry of Texas lead the other Republicans into secession from the country.

      That move right there will save the real taxpayers alot of money.

      I hear Afghanistan has alot of barren land – maybe JesusLand can be set up there?

  2. indypendent

    Lyndon Johnson was thoroughly despised for a long time but I always thought he was a good man. He was rough and caustic but that was what made him a good politician.

    Johnson did give the South to the Republicans when he pushed through his Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Medicare and Fair Housing.

    That is why I have to cringe when I hear the current Republicans boast about how much they care for the lower class, middle class and minorities.

    Who are they trying to fool?

    These are the same once-Southern Democrats that wore those famous white sheets with those funky hats and had an unsatiable thirst for starting fires.

    • tosmarttobegop

      Who are they trying to fool?

      the lower class, middle class and minorities.

      LOL you kind of answer the question!

      • lilacluvr

        Yeah, but are they succeeding in fooling these people? Maybe the simple-minded lower class Southern white voters. But minorities are not running in droves to the GOP.

        With the statistics of minorities overtaking the white population, is that really the best boat the GOP can hope to be in?

  3. fnord

    Has ‘the south’ always been where the most prejudiced bunch of people live? Think back and also recognize the current atmosphere. Those who are most anti everything — minorities, gender equality, respect for all religions — the list is long of what they are intolerant of. And who are the poster children for all these anti movements? Are they southerners? If so, why?

    • tosmarttobegop

      In the Documentary about LBJ, the greatest outrage from his bills were from the Northern White about the fair housing bill.

      Another point is what my friend told me, where he was working.
      A Black man from Mississippi started working there, one day the man blew my friend’s mind.
      The statement was made that the Black man had not seen such racism in Mississippi as he saw in Kansas!

      • lilacluvr

        The fair housing bill brought out some very ugly hidden racism. While it was seen as wrong to be against blatant racism such as the KKK was doing, when it came to being happy about having blacks buy the house next to your own, that is when the real problem of racism started chipping at the core.

  4. Monkeyhawk

    I may have mentioned this before, but it seems as if the Tea-Baggers are doing their touchdown dance on the 40-yard line.

  5. fnord

    Good analogy! Yes, they still are a regional party with inadequate electoral votes to be relevant at the national level.

  6. Zippy

    Reality is messy. Lyndon Johnson, a man who won his Senate seat supporting racial segregation in 1948, came to support the first major civil rights legislation in 1957 and, of course, was a major force for both civil rights and the reduction of patrician economic oligarchy in this country.

    More specifically, before the enactment of Great Society programs, starvation was common in the United States. There are conservatives–and they are quite vocal, as you know–who’d love to return us to those “good old days.”

    Johnson also tricked the nation into an unnecessary war, and was in bed with Brown and Root, a defense contractor that later became Kellogg, Brown and Root, and Eventually a subsidiary of Halliburton.

    Looking at any politician in that position–the most powerful in the world–it seems to me that one should neither withhold criticism nor ignore the positive. I know, in Obama’s case, I’m particularly frustrated that arguments that were won long ago are being treated anew, for political reasons, particularly when it comes to obvious rules dealing with spying on Americans or prosecution of criminal defendants.

    But then I see the vapid wasteland left in the wake of the Cheney presidency: unreasoning fear coupled with tabloid-media ignorance, and bolstered, in one instance, by a creepy decision by a top-secret FISA court (a concept actually created, in large degree, by the current VP, ironically, as a way, in theory, to check Executive branch abuses.

    Good under Bush? Well, let’s see. There was real AIDS assistance to ravaged populations in Africa. He nominated African-Americans to prominent positions (Colin Powell and Condeleeza Rice). And he used his “Texas tough”-style to reassure a nation that was reeling from 9-11.

    Then his crew proceeded to abuse to that very tragedy to invent a War Of Terrorism (as “Borat” put it), where the Executive Branch tried very much to apply the Unitary Executive theory, using that as an excuse, and in general sow fear among the public to increase the profits of the few.

    Nearly every president has done something worthy of a stiff punch in the face. But when I see the continuing damage from the Bush presidency, I can honestly say that not enough good was done to make the rest tolerable. It would have been better if he had not stolen the presidency and, while I did (and would) have had numerous issues with Al Gore (even voting for Nader, in Kansas I feel I must gratuitously add), there’s really no question as to which would have been better.

    Much good happened under Clinton, but some of the seeds of our destruction–NAFTA, outsourcing, the repeal of banking regulation–also happened under his watch (as did under Reagan, Bush I, and of course W.). That’s why I’m particularly wary of being “bipartisan” simply for its own sake.

    Bad things happen when a national consensus coalesces around an idea without proper debate. And it positively creeps me out that Larry Summers is an Obama advisor, even though, in statements , he seems to have learned his lesson (Clinton himself offered a more explicit caveat, something like “maybe the changes we in banking rules weren’t such a good idea”–no shit, Sherlock).

    In short, demonization serves no purpose, but sitting back and accepting the unacceptable–no matter who’s in the Chair–is never a good idea.

  7. fnord

    I want to say thank you — first, to tstb for this thoughtful thread header. Secondly, to Zippy who posts with a breath of fresh air amid the rancor that too often is blogging. Guys, I’m sure glad to get to ‘read’ you!

    And, lastly, to all bloggers here at PPPs who treat all other bloggers with respect!

    If people behaved as you all do, we would probably have much less anger turn to violence!

  8. lilacluvr

    I think the majority of people who know how to behave themselves and do not go for the jugular vein in politics.

    The problem is, as I see it, is there are too many influences of talk radio, partisan politics, wedge issues and those who benefit either politically or economically by keeping the American people fighting amongst themselves.

    The real trick is how do we get the majority to become the voices that is being heard above the other hate and divisive talk?

    The majorit of Americans are too busy working and trying to keep their homes and families together to be bothered with dressing up in costumes and parading for the cameras at the Tea Party or to sit and listen to Rush and fellow idiot talking heads for hours on end.

  9. tosmarttobegop

    Rush tends to be back ground noise for many, the radio is on at work and the like.
    A funny thing happen in that light, while working at the Middle school and it was about the beginning of the school year. We the custodians and the teachers who were there getting ready and each listening the radios

    And we were listening to G. Gordon Liddy, a ten y.o. called in with a problem he was being bullied out of his lunch money. Liddy said, “You know what testacies are right? Well the next time the bully tries to take your money. Grab him by his testacies and ring them out like a bunch of grapes till all the juice runs out!”.

    Suddenly from all over the building you hear, “Did you just hear what he said?”.
    The teachers was also listening to Liddy.

    But the problem is that it is often the only form of news and information that some get.