Oh, Lyndon!

I already knew this because I read it straight from Doris Kearns Goodwin herself:

“Lyndon B. Johnson had “give-away” items in the Oval Office like this electric toothbrush set stamped with the Presidential seal. Rumor has it, Doris Kearns Goodwin amassed several during her tenure as a White House intern, and finally asked LBJ, “Why toothbrushes?” LBJ said, “I want people to think of me right away when they wake up and right before they go to bed.”

Our Presidents

14 thoughts on “Oh, Lyndon!

  1. Who wouldn’t want a presidential toothbrush?
    I found this when I went looking for my favorite LBJ story when he said the correct way to take a nap during the day was to change into your PJ’s because you couldn’t fool your body into believing it was time to sleep without them: “Aides were as likely to see Johnson in his bedroom in boxer shorts as they would in the Oval Office immaculately clad in custom-tailored suits, which he changed after daily afternoon “naps” that often turned into horizontal work sessions. Even Richard Nixon recalled a 1966 meeting in the private quarters of the White House in which Johnson lounged in bed in his pajamas and Mrs. Johnson, entering late in her dressing gown, greeted Nixon warmly before climbing in bed with her husband for the remainder of their conversation”. http://alcalde.texasexes.org/2012/02/cruel-to-be-kind-lbj-behind-the-scenes/

  2. Although as a P.S., I am similarly obsessed with the JFK assassination, and have read practically every book written on the subject, even though I didn’t care for JFK personally. For the record, Suzette, I don’t think Lyndon had anything to do with it.

    • Well, now here is why I’m partial to LBJ. Not for his polices but for the intensity of his belief in the principles behind what he was putting forward as policy. I honestly believe that he was driven by personal conviction to implement them. Yes he was primarily driven by acquisition of power, but once he had the power, he used it to accomplish his interests.

      He was colorful and brash to say the least but he could deploy a delicacy and referential consecration when he wanted to or to further his plans. He knew how to win people over -when he wanted to. During the time that the awful Kennedy snots were treating him like an invisible hick, he was a huge international diplomatic success. He never forgot his small town/rural origins and could relate policy to the people’s needs as he learned them in East Texas.

      Lady Bird, though. She was the one. I’m reading “Lady Bird Johnson: A White House Diary” now. I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn than she was far more genuine in her grace than Jackie and more of a true partner to her husband than Jack and Jackie ever were. Jackie was elegant and cool; Lady Bird was gracious and warm.

      Interesting tidbit: Mamie Eisenhower was a bitch to Jackie when she came to visit the WH before moving in.

      “Jackie spent two weeks in the hospital after John Jr.’s birth. Although she was still weak, she met outgoing First Lady Mamie Eisenhower for a two-hour tour of the White House. Mrs. Eisenhower, who had assumed she would be passing the White House on to her close friend Pat Nixon, was polite but reserved. Told of Jackie’s fragile health, Mamie refused to offer the use of a wheelchair, even though there was one in a nearby closet, unless she was asked. Jackie toughed it out, later admitting she was too embarrassed to ask. The exertion and bitter cold of the wintry day left her exhausted and disgruntled.”

      Lady Bird, I dare say from the little I know about her, would not have been disgruntled.

      • Yes, I kind of felt sorry for him over the treatment by the Kennedy “boys.” And I admired him for making the decision not to run again. I also blame him a lot for the sorry welfare mess we’re in.

        I finally started the first volume of the Caro biography. One commenter somewhere called it a slobbering pro-LBJ biography but I am not finding it so. It seems your man was quite opinionated at the early age of 18 months. Gotta love that.

          • You mean like this? “On washdays, clothes had to be lifted out of the big soaking vats of boiling water on the ends of long poles…the farm filth had to be scrubbed out in hours of kneeling over rough rub-boards, hours in which the lye in homemade soap burned the skin off women’s hands; the heavy flatirons had to continually carried back and forth to the stove for reheating, and the stove had to be continually fed with new supplies of wood.”

            Not to mention cooking 3 huge meals a day for 20 people during the “threshing.”, carrying in wood for the wood stove and carrying in water by hand in buckets.

            I’m exhausted just reading about it. I went and hugged my Maytags. ;-)

            I know the men probably worked very hard as well, but it seems the women were never “off.”

            • Yes! And the bread baking and canning over a wood burning stove in the heat of the summer.

              I always think of those passages whenever I am not motivated to do a little cleaning up around here with my army of electrical tools and appliances.

  3. I remember one of the daughters, Lucy Baines or, Lucy Bird, telling that their mother only cooked one meal for them that they ever remembered. She warmed up canned tomato soup for them when bad rainstorms had washed out the bridge and no household help could get to the ranch house.,

  4. I’m not surprised to hear about no cooking. Lady Bird was a very rich woman when LBJ married her. She did know the southern hospitality and warmth, but it seems household tasks were not on her radar.

  5. Yes, i remember what I was doing when JFK was killed and when JackRuby shot LeeHarveyOswald. I actually bought and read the WarrenReport on the assination.

    NO WAY did Oswald act alone. (Also, NO WAY did JamesEarlRay kill MLK without help.)
    .

    • Agree, srdem65. The Warren Commission was a whitewash from the word go. And who can forget the late, non-lamented, Arlen Spector’s delightful “single-bullet theory?”

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