Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Foulness In The Oval Office

You don't have to like President Trump, but even the Canadians (via the National Post) view Lyndon Johnson as "the most vulgar American president ever":
So, exactly how repulsive was Johnson? He was horrid enough that the way he said things was almost as bad as what he said. Anyone who came into contact with him was at risk of encountering a spectacle of burping, farting, nose-picking and crotch-scratching. Congressman Richard Bolling, who witnessed some of this, told Merle Miller: “I wouldn’t say Johnson was vulgar — he was barnyard.” Worse, Johnson had no sense of personal space and treated conversation as a creepy hands-on affair. Miller learned from Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee that, “You really felt as if a St. Bernard had licked your face for an hour, had pawed you all over.”

For women, the ordeal was even worse, and Bradlee claimed that Johnson groped Katharine Graham and was “bumping” up against the breasts of Washington Post writer Meg Greenfield. (In her memoir, Graham says nothing of this and is suspiciously quiet about almost all of Johnson’s peculiarities. She does admit he kissed her on the cheek at least once.)

A truly unlucky few even got to see Johnson relieve himself. Reporter Sam Schaffer toured Johnson’s Texan ranch and was stunned when Johnson urinated right in front of him, in the open. Arthur Goldschmidt, a friend and United Nations official, was in the Oval Office with Johnson when the latter suddenly headed for the washroom, “took a crap, then shaved and showered, all the while continuing his conversation as though what he was doing was the most normal thing in the world.”

As for what Johnson was actually saying during all the above, he was known for folksy aphorisms that were crude, sometimes racist, and often weird, including “it was raining as hard as a cat pissing on a flat rock,” “as straight as an Indian shits,” and the importance of fighting an opponent “till he’s shitty as a bear.” These became more disturbing in his retirement years, when UPI reporter Bill Theis was told by him that subsequent White House economic policies were “the worst thing that’s happened to this country since pantyhose ruined finger-f(***)g.” (That quote apparently was passed around as insider gossip until it got to Miller via Richard Bolling.)...

And then there was the N-word. Although Johnson styled himself as a civil rights crusader and did make progress on race relations, he still presided over a United States torn by racial violence. His public and private statements showed that he never realized he himself may have been part of the problem. For example, Robert A. Caro says he referred to the manual labour of his youth as “n—-r work.”
At least he didn't tweet, though, right?


Mike Thiac said...

I've finished the first book of a five volume series on Johnson, written by Robert Caro. Book one is his family history until he enters the Navy in 1942. I'll say this, I only thought he was an a&*hole, then I read this book. Good lord.

Anonymous said...

Canada’s right wing mouthpiece casts LBJ as more vulgar than DJT? My timbers are not shivering.

Darren said...

What constitutes "right wing" in Canada?