Joseph Califano is a politician, educator and public servant with decades of experience. He was Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, he was with the Defense Department, and he was–and still is–one of the champions of the anti-drug crusade.

But he may be known most for his time working alongside President Lyndon B. Johnson as his top domestic aide. He wrote a magnificent account of his time with LBJ in his acclaimed book, The Triumph & Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson: The White House Years. This insider’s account goes a long way to dispelling many of the myths about Johnson, and casts light upon this giant of the American presidency. Johnson was a remarkable man in many ways. Much of the landscape of the federal government came from his presidency. This account with Milt was remarkable for its historical value and the portrait of the man Johnson at work.

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  1. Israel P. Inactive
    Israel P.
    @IsraelP
    • #1
  2. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    The SOB wanted to get me killed in Vietnam.

    • #2
  3. rod Inactive
    rod
    @rod

    I think I get it: LBJ was god. Califano is an apologit of the first order.  I laughed out loud when he claimed that LBJ swore he would rid the language of the word ni**er.

    • #3
  4. Atavist Member
    Atavist
    @Atavist

    Mr. Califano stated that “blacks couldn’t buy a house” before LBJ and his crew came along. By that time there were no statutory restrictions whatsoever on the ability of African-Americans to acquire, develop and dispose of real property of any kind, including housing, anywhere in the United States of which I am aware. He probably refers to the ability of property owners to refuse rental accommodation on the basis of race or national origin, which is a matter of the longstanding freedoms of private contract and association, liberties which have been pretty much abolished in the U.S.A and much of the Western world. If he means housing covenants, those were rendered unenforceable by the Supreme Court in the late 40s, when Califano was in grade school.

    What a perfect example of liberal blarney and overstatement. At least Sen. Goldwater was around to contradict this nonsense back in the day, but who would do so today? Ann Coulter perhaps?

    • #4
  5. Derringdoo Inactive
    Derringdoo
    @Derringdoo

    A very enlightening interview.  I am glad Milt decided to challenge the hagiographic theme of the book somewhat.  The overall sense I get of that administration is one of decisiveness in domestic affairs and indecisiveness everywhere else.

    Whatever you might say about Johnson, he was enormously effective in manipulating politicians.  Unfortunately for the country, he did not seem to understand that he would not be at the helm forever, and lacked insight into what others would later do with his handiwork, particularly within his own party.

    I did not serve in Viet Nam, though my father and brother did.  I think that Joe’s main purpose in discussing it was to emphasize that it wasn’t his idea.  The more I learn about how it was conducted, the more I am amazed that we did as well as we did with such feckless leadership at the top.  I don’t buy that it was unwinnable and I don’t buy that it was anyone’s fault other than Johnson’s both in getting us so deeply involved and conducting it in such a craven fashion.  Too bad the North Vietnamese weren’t as supine as Everett Dirksen or Johnson could have talked us to victory

    • #5
  6. BuckeyeSam Inactive
    BuckeyeSam
    @BuckeyeSam

    Thanks, LBJ, for all the Third World immigrants.

    Multicultural society for the worse.

    • #6
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