U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson Pros and Cons of Presidency Part 1

About the U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, a list of pros and cons in the history of his presidency.

36th President

LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON

PRESIDENCY

His 5 Years, 59 Days as President:

PRO

No other American president has been as skillful as Johnson in handling Congress, and LBJ used that skill to compile an amazing record of legislative achievement. Among the key measures successfully championed by Johnson were bills guaranteeing voting rights to southern blacks; ending racial discrimination in public accommodations; providing federal aid to education for the first time; creating the Medicare system to help America's hard-pressed senior citizens; establishing the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, the Model Cities Program, the Office of Economic Opportunity, and the job corps; and setting aside millions of acres of new parkland and wilderness. Johnson's celebrated "War on Poverty" directed national attention to the stubborn problem of hunger and want in the midst of plenty. This country boy from west Texas brought about the first large-scale federal commitment to halt the process of big-city decay. As black novelist Ralph Ellison pointed out: "No one has initialed more legislation for education, for health, for racial justice, for the arts, for urban reform than Lyndon Johnson."

CON

Many of Johnson's grandiose domestic programs were hastily conceived and poorly administered. They created vast, impersonal federal bureaucracies that ignored the genuine needs of communities and individuals. Johnson's poverty programs in particular were riddled with corruption and inefficiency, and money intended for the poor lined the pockets of opportunist administrators and political appointees. Moreover, Johnson seldom followed through on his bold domestic initiatives. In terms of its level of funding, the War on Poverty was little more than a skirmish. As LBJ poured billions into the Vietnam War, many of his domestic programs withered on the vine; the demands of the military clique in Saigon were given precedence over the needs of America's poor and downtrodden. The net effect of Johnson's inflated "Great Society" rhetoric was to push the frustration of American blacks past the breaking point. The destructive ghetto riots of the middle and late 1960s were largely the result of broken promises of Johnson's administration.

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