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Forum Post: A call to the Vietnam War Protesters: what happened in 68?

Posted 6 years ago on March 25, 2012, 7:03 a.m. EST by factsrfun (8733) from Phoenix, AZ
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

As I remember it in 1968, a sitting President didn’t run for his parties nomination because a large group of Americans were calling attention to lies about a war. I think this sort of thing can be done again, but I think we should be smarter this time.

“Johnson's problems began to mount in 1966. The press had sensed a "Credibility gap" between what Johnson was saying in press conferences and what was happening on the ground in Vietnam, which led to much less favorable coverage of Johnson.[69] By year's end, the Democratic governor of Missouri warned that Johnson would lose the state by 100,000 votes, despite a half-million margin in 1964. "Frustration over Vietnam; too much federal spending and... taxation; no great public support for your Great Society programs; and ... public disenchantment with the civil rights programs" had eroded the President's standing, the governor reported. There were bright spots; in January 1967, Johnson boasted that wages were the highest in history, unemployment was at a 13-year low, and corporate profits and farm incomes were greater than ever; a 4.5 percent jump in consumer prices was worrisome, as was the rise in interest rates. Johnson asked for a temporary 6 percent surcharge in income taxes to cover the mounting deficit caused by increased spending. Johnson's approval ratings stayed below 50 percent; by January 1967, the number of his strong supporters had plunged to 16 percent, from 25 percent four months before. He ran about even with Republican George Romney in trial matchups that spring. Asked to explain why he was unpopular, Johnson responded, "I am a dominating personality, and when I get things done I don't always please all the people." Johnson also blamed the press, saying they showed "complete irresponsibility and lie and misstate facts and have no one to be answerable to." He also blamed "the preachers, liberals and professors" who had turned against him.[70] In the congressional elections of 1966, the Republicans gained three seats in the Senate and 47 in the House, reinvigorating the Conservative coalition and making it impossible for Johnson to pass any additional Great Society legislation.”

Here we see that main parties can indeed be split apart:

“Johnson was not disqualified from running for a second full term under the provisions of the 22nd Amendment; he had served less than 24 months of President Kennedy's term.[93][94] However, entering the 1968 election campaign, initially, no prominent Democratic candidate was prepared to run against a sitting president of the Democratic party. Only Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota challenged Johnson as an anti-war candidate in the New Hampshire primary, hoping to pressure the Democrats to oppose the war. On March 12, McCarthy won 42 percent of the primary vote to Johnson's 49 percent, an amazingly strong showing for such a challenger. Four days later, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy of New York entered the race. Internal polling by Johnson's campaign in Wisconsin, the next state to hold a primary election, showed the President trailing badly. Johnson did not leave the White House to campaign.

President Johnson meets with Republican candidate Richard Nixon in the White House, July 1968 By this time Johnson had lost control of the Democratic Party, which was splitting into four factions, each of which despised the other three. The first consisted of Johnson (and Humphrey), labor unions, and local party bosses (led by Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley). The second group consisted of students and intellectuals who were vociferously against the war and rallied behind McCarthy. The third group were Catholics, Hispanics and African Americans, who rallied behind Robert Kennedy. The fourth group were traditionally segregationist white Southerners, who rallied behind George C. Wallace and the American Independent Party. Vietnam was one of many issues that splintered the party, and Johnson could see no way to win Vietnam[71] and no way to unite the party long enough for him to win re-election.”

What went wrong? You may ask, IMHO they didn’t kill the republicans first so when they split the dems, the GOP just stepped in. If we do that again, what’s the worst that can happen? Watergate? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyndon_B._Johnson#Backlash_against_Johnson:_1966.E2.80.9367



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[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (8719) 6 years ago

The point is, we have to defeat the Republicans first.

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (8733) from Phoenix, AZ 6 years ago

Yes I don't normally like wordy, but I took this right out of wiki because I want to be "fair and balanced".

people tell me we are not large enough to do this but I remember what a victory it was when Johnson didn't run, and I remember how it truned out, then I thought Anderson in 1980, but got Reagan, by the time Nader came around I had learned my leason, but there was another generation, fooled by the lie "they are alll the same" and we got Bush, if the cycle continues, then we will always lose

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (8719) 6 years ago

Thank you! I remember every one of those left-wing mistakes, and I can still feel the burn.

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (8733) from Phoenix, AZ 6 years ago

I was young when I voted fro Anderson, so I do understand where the young people are coming from, and I can't blame them, after all it's all my falut, I voted Anderson.

[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 6 years ago

Vietnam was a politicians war.

Field officers and 'rear echelon' complained continually about politics getting in the way of 'operations'.

As one General put it, "My men fought for a week to take that piece of ground, some left limbs, some left blood and some didn't get to leave at all, now the want us to give the fuckin' hill back'.

Johnson liked 'yes men', he didn't like his word being challenged, he also liked the 'sure bet'. The hand writing was on the wall, a election win was not possible so he 'took his money and ran'.

This is the short form.

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (8733) from Phoenix, AZ 6 years ago

Do you feel the anti-war movement had an impact on that, I have people tell me we can't split something as big as the dems, so we have to work outside, I think if we make the R's weak enough we could push the D's it seemed that was a big part of why Johnson didn't even try. Problem was the R's were still too strong and we got Nixon, talk about frying pan into the fire

[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 6 years ago

Johnson wasn't a 'war' President, he had fixed ideas and expect it to get done. Things didn't go his way, so he walked.

The anti-war movement impacted society, people started asking 'Why?' When there are no answers to that question there is created a vote of no confidence...and that has an impact on Washington.

I'm not so sure we want the R's weak nor to push the D's. What I do think is that we need to look closer at who's running for office before we make our decisions, and we need to look at a wider picture than if this or that one agrees with us as individuals. I won't vote my morals, because they are mine and might not be good for others.

Public Service...that's what serving in office used to be, a public service...it hasn't been that for a long time, it's a career, it's power, it's anything but service to the public. We have a few who at least appear to be serving the public, their constituents, and even fewer who can do so while not trying to damage the rest of us.

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (8733) from Phoenix, AZ 6 years ago

The "who's running" is important, in AZ we replaced the guy who wrote SB 1070 with another republican, because the district was so red that was the only way, some people even talked the dem that had considered a run not to so we would win, the first time in history a sitting state leader had been recalled, now that's smart activism, in AZ we have a huge “sports team” problem with the GOP, people love’em because daddy did. We voted in clean elections in 1998, almost everybody has gotten public money since 2000 and still because we have so many Republicans in office we still get SB 1070 and this crap:


And this:


[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 6 years ago

That's just it, who not party.

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (8733) from Phoenix, AZ 6 years ago

yeah but 99% of the time the least desirable one is the Republican

[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 6 years ago

So it appears...so it appears...sad isn't it?

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (8733) from Phoenix, AZ 6 years ago

It makes it easy to identify, lots of people remind me of the dems that are just no good, or the bad things Obama does, some of them are even sincere, most are just trying to save the GOP.

I should post the letter I wrote after he signed the Bush tax cut extension, damn am I p** about that one. Truth is I just don’t think we can afford my high moral ground right now, what if we flipped this to Romney for eight years; I mean he would have NY and CA sharing a voting machine if that’s what it took to get re-elected. Anyway, you make good points on Johnson; I can’t speak to him on whole, but was thinking that the anti-war effort did affect things back then.



[-] 1 points by factsrfun (8733) from Phoenix, AZ 6 years ago

This went up, "way too early".