Friday, April 07, 2006

Conversations With Lyndon


"The Johnson Treatment," by George Tames (hat-tip to spork)

So last night I dreamed that I had a brief conversation with Lyndon Johnson, who was still alive and in good shape, puttering around and giving environmental presentations in the enormous $1.5 billion planetarium complex he purchased in 1965 (the dream was unclear as to whether it was staffed by his complimentary ex-president Secret Service detail).

Unfortunately, the details of my dreams tend to evaporate very quickly, so all I can remember at this point is that he said that the current crop of Dems "needs muscle," and they never consult with him on anything. Then I got chased around for a while and ended up hiding under a hedge, clutching a safety pin that Malcolm McDowell gave me. It's amazing how insightful dreams can be.


The fact is, the Dems could stand to take some advice from Lyndon Johnson, who, while flawed, was also forceful and determined. He actually sacrificed votes for principle, signing the Civil Rights Act while acknowledging it would lose the South for a generation (we should be getting it back soon, right?). Who knows, he might even have some good what-not-to-do advice on how to get out of Iraq...

The Democrats, on the other hand, are actually sacrificing votes through lack of principle. For several months now, we've been accusing the Democrats of poll-driven calculation. This is not really an accurate criticism. Assuming they've been reading the same polls I have, their error has been poll-ignoring calculation. The polls are saying quite clearly that everyone except the Republicans is thoroughly fed up with Bush and the Republicans, yet the Democrats continue to make excuses and do nothing. The Dems are not just missing an opportunity to improve their stature at the Republicans' expense, they are in fact hurting themselves by ignoring the public mood and failing to oppose a very unpopular regime.

Now the latest really big shoe has dropped in the Plame investigation, and it appears to finger the president (can shoes finger?). Worse yet, there is evidence floating around that the Plame leak was part of a larger coverup to conceal the President's knowledge that the case for war was bogus, at least until the 2004 election was safely over. If (and this is a big if) these two stories can be tied together in the public mind - "The president authorized a damaging leak to obscure the fact that he blew up Iraq and killed 2300 Americans for no good reason" - I think we're going to see a groundswell in support for impeachment. I've been lukewarm on impeachment because I believe it's a mistake to impeach when there's no public support for it. But it's an even bigger mistake not to impeach when there is public support for it. Sure, it'll piss off Republican voters, but they're already a lost cause. Give the rest of us something to root for and vote for, I'm begging you.

2 comments:

Lizzy said...

OK, I am back from my school imposed exile and have 10 days off, so I can come and leave you annoying comments, Eli.

Blue Gal said...

Excellent pics. Really captures Johnson's overbearing personality, which, of course, pushed through all of the civil rights legislation of the '60's. The shadow of Vietnam has eclipsed Johnson's greatness in the civil rights arena for far too long.