We recently commemorated the assassination of John F. Kennedy 50 years ago. This event was a national tragedy that set in motion two ensuing tragedies: the rise in power of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.
Johnson was put on the 1960 Democratic ticket to help JFK win Southern votes. John Kennedy and his brother, Robert, did not like Johnson, but recognized him as a necessary evil. Johnson couldn’t wait to get involved in the Vietnam quagmire. In fact, he tried to run the tactical operations of the war from the Oval Office. I suppose he thought his work in public relations for the Army Air Corps in World War II qualified him for the job.
Sensing that he would be defeated in the 1968 election, Johnson declined to run and sent Hubert Humphrey on a fool’s errand to run against Nixon. Johnson’s performance as president guaranteed the election of Nixon in 1968 and set the nation on a course for more years of war and eventually runaway inflation.
Nixon also started another war, the War on Drugs. It, too, has been a tremendous failure, imprisoning millions for personal behavior choices that harmed no one except possibly the drug users.
If Kennedy’s life had not been ended so early, our nation would have avoided the quagmire of Vietnam, Johnson’s arrogant incompetence and the evil reign of Richard Nixon.