Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Dog Politics: Barry Goldwater vs LBJ

Campaign politics is, to some degree, the art of distraction. The professionals are too good to make too many big mistakes, while the amateurs distract so the public does not notice the lack of experience, well thought out position papers, and answers to basic policy questions. What's Donald Trump's position on the Middle East? On Social Security and Medicare? Remember when the GOP criticism of Barack Obama was that he had only been a U.S. Senator. Now they've embraced a candidate made famous by a scripted reality show! No political experience at all!

 It has always been thus. Back in 1964, when Lyndon Johnson was running for the first time, he famously lifted one of his young beagles up by the ears. It did no harm, but the dog howled and the press corps got a picture and wrote it up. As fast as you can say "Bob's your uncle," the Goldwater campaign was on it, with supporters parading around signs "Beagles for Barry."

Goldwater posed with a posse of carefully recruited young people (all white) who were given "Goldwater glasses" and beagles for the photo opportunity.

Goldwater, of course, lost the campaign.  No one wanted to give him the code to the "Nuclear football."  

Can you imagine Donald Trump with the nuclear codes? This is a man without the emotional mettle to cope with an inquiring Fox News reporter or a mildly-rude Mexican-American journalist! Successfully face down Vladimir Putin or deal with Boko Haram?  Not likely!

For the record, Johnson did not have his beagles for long. The dogs, named Him and Her, were born on June 27, 1963 and Johnson doted on them. "Her" died at the White House in November 1964, after she swallowed a stone. "Him" died in June 1966, when he was hit by a car while chasing a squirrel on the White House grounds.

1 comment:

Rick said...

But LBJ always had a soft spot in his heart for dogs: