“A President’s hardest task is not to do what is right, but to know what is right” – LBJ

 January 4, 1965 – President Lyndon Johnson delivers the first nighttime televised State of the Union Address.  The election of 1964, in part due to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, was a Democratic Party landslide.  The Congress was perhaps the most liberal since the Great Depression and the New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  During his speech, Johnson outlines many of the programs that would be known as his Great Society whose aim was the elimination of poverty and racial injustice.  Two surviving programs are Medicare and Medicaid.  Johnson, a southerner, was a staunch liberal having grown up dirt poor in Texas.  But he soon realized that he was not among the poorest.  After college he took a job teaching and in 1965 remembered “”I shall never forget the faces of the boys and the girls in that little Welhausen Mexican School, and I remember even yet the pain of realizing and knowing then that college was closed to practically every one of those children because they were too poor. And I think it was then that I made up my mind that this nation could never rest while the door to knowledge remained closed to any American.”  Newly elected Minority Leader  Gerald Ford of Michigan responded to the address: “We expect to support him when we believe he is right and offer alternatives when our consciences so demand.”  Hmmm.  Does that sound familar?


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