The Guardian

Why Lyndon Johnson, a truly awful man, is my political hero | Jack Bernhardt

Yes, LBJ was a crude warmonger. But in today’s climate, a leader who also declares war on poverty comes over as an inspiration
President Lyndon Johnson in 1968, the year his reputation was ruined. Photograph: Bob Daugherty/AP

I wish I had a normal hero from history. Maybe , or Rosa Parks, or the person who set the getting punched to the tune of Never Gonna Give You Up. But I don’t. I have an irrational fascination with Lyndon B Johnson, the 36th president of the United States. He is my ultimate problematic fave: obnoxious, crude, responsible for the escalation of the Vietnam war and the death of thousands of innocent civilians – and yet also the architect of so much of the modern (now crumbling) American welfare state. Johnson died 45 years ago today, and it’s hard to know what reaction is appropriate – commemoration, condemnation, or

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