There’s a quote conservatives love to use, believing it shows a former President of the United States racism and paternalistic attitudes toward blacks.
LBJ to Kennedy in 1962: If only [John] Glenn “were a negro”
Few ever cite the quote, but it comes from Ronald Kessler’s book Inside the White House: The Hidden Lives of the Modern Presidents and the Secrets of the World’s Most Powerful Institution.
The entirety of the quote is important. Some would say it shows Lyndon B. Johnson’s hateful view of blacks, but considering he did everything to enshrine them as a protected class (a permanently endangered species), it’s hard to take those people seriously:
Johnson, like other presidents, would often reveal the motivations in asides that the press never picked up. During one trip, Johnson was discussing his proposed civil rights bill with two governors. Explaining why it was so important to him, he said it was simple: “I’ll have them niggers voting Democratic for two hundred years.” (p. 33, Kessler)
People love to quote LBJ here, but it’s not the true quote, which helps to define not only the actual character of the man, but also your die-hard white liberals as well.
Disingenuous White Liberals, that is.
That blacks vote for their self-interest is reasonable (how in the world would black people survive in the free market world – a still egalitarian free market world – the Koch Brothers wish to make America is never explained, except with people saying something about welfare being a modern-day plantation. Me thinks the blacks like this plantation…)
Their actions, in the short-term, might impress the press and earn accolades from academia and celebrities; but in the long-term, their actions are so perilous it’s not an impossible statement to claim they are fatal.
An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917 – 1963, by Robert Dallek, contains a statement by LBJ that dwarfs his observations on blacks and Democrats:
Worries about Johnson extended to his management of the space program. Despite the success of Alan Shepard’s suborbital flight in May 1961, by February 1962 NASA had still not matched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s orbital success the previous April. Bad weather and technical problems had aborted ten televised U.S. planned launchings between May and February. But on February 20, John Glenn’s spaceship orbited the earth three times in just under five hours before a pinpoint landing in the Atlantic near Bermuda, where helicopters from a nearby U.S. cruiser waited to life Glenn and his capsule from the ocean.
The White House was jubilant, especially because it knew that problems with the capsule’s heat shield had brought the mission close to disaster. Another successful flight by Scott Carpenter in May gave Kennedy – in contrast with the steel price conflict, stock market downturn and Estes scandal – something to cheer about. (If only Glenn “were a Negro,” Johnson told Kennedy, who laughed at what became his favorite example of Lyndon’s constant preoccupation with political calculations.) (p. 501 – 502)
A “constant preoccupation with political calculations.”
Does this statement not accurately describe how white liberals (and those white conservatives fawning at the thought of a 2016 RNC ticket with some combination of Dr. Ben Carson and Lt. Col. Allen West) have used blacks to their advantage?
“If only Glenn “were a Negro,” Johnson told Kennedy, who laughed at what became his favorite example of Lyndon’s constant preoccupation with political calculations.”
There’s nothing funny about this statement; it’s a sick indictment of a country devoted to the cause of perpetuating democracy, as opposed to the cause of perpetuating the actual country.
At the time America was knee deep in a Cold War and a space race with the Russians, Vice President Johnson’s main wish was John Glenn having been born a negro…