November 9, 2004

PUTTING THE SOCIETY BACK IN GREAT SOCIETY:

Second Wind: GWB may be the GOP's LBJ. (BRENDAN MINITER, November 9, 2004, Wall Street Journal)

With a historic electoral victory at his back, George W. Bush is now being compared to some pretty consequential presidents. Lincoln and FDR--as war presidents--immediately come to mind. But there is another, more obvious, comparison that strikes to the heart of why the left hates this president with such intensity. GWB may be the Republican LBJ.

This isn't meant with any disrespect to Mr. Bush. Nor are the two simply comparable because they both came from Texas, came to power after each man's party prevailed in a narrow electoral victory (LBJ served out the term John F. Kennedy barely won over Richard Nixon in 1960) or because both were faced with a protracted war abroad while their party controlled both houses of Congress.

The two presidents are comparable for the place they share in their respective political movements. Today we cannot be sure what place JFK would have in history had he lived. But we do know that upon assuming the presidency and then later launching his Great Society welfare programs, LBJ delivered a second wave of liberal ideas that propelled the progressive movement well into the 1970s--which isn't bad for a political philosophy based on the faulty economic assumptions that high taxes, price controls and expensive government handouts could deliver a booming economy. Without LBJ, it is conceivable that FDR's New Deal ideas of the 1930s and '40s would have run out of steam in the 1960s--continuing to roll on through Social Security and other established programs, but no longer pushing forward public policy prescriptions for new and emerging problems.

Today President Bush represents a similar second wave of fresh ideas for a political movement that came of age a generation before he became president: the Reagan revolution.


There's a plausible argument to be made that Lee Harvey Oswald was one of the most influential Americans of the 20th Century.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 9, 2004 3:05 PM
Comments

"that Lee Harvey Oswald was one of the most influential Americans of the 20th Century"

I don't know about that, but it does show how well the Marines train their riflemen.

(in shooting not political theory)

Posted by: h-man at November 9, 2004 4:50 PM

Today, a professor was referenced on Praeger who said poverty is correlated to political freedom and not economic status.

Posted by: Perry at November 9, 2004 4:56 PM
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