Sunday, February 23, 2020

Quote for the Day

People are aware that Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973), commonly referred to as LBJ, 36th President of the United States from 1963 to 1969, often had a particular, crude and crass turn of phrase. 

Erroneously attributed to him, in respect of the policy of winning hearts and minds during the war in Vietnam, is the quotation:

 “If you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.” 

Correctly attributed to him are these sample quotes: 


Johnson outlining the degree of loyalty he expected from those around him, in the context of discussing a prospective assistant:

“I don’t want loyalty. I want loyalty! I want him to kiss my ass in Macy’s window at high noon and tell me it smells like roses. I want his pecker in my pocket.” 

(Quoted by D Halberstam in The Best and the Brightest [1972] ) 


Commenting on future president Gerald Ford: 

“He can’t fart and chew gum at the same time.” 

The US media self censored and reported the quote as: 

“He can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.” 


The above is by way of a segue to another quotation of LBJ’s that I came across last night that I had not previously read. 

The following item is from The Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson, by Eric Goldman, at: 

Pres. Johnson was never hostile and rarely indifferent to international organizations for peace; he genuinely recognized the usefulness of the UN and of the battery of regional bodies created since WWII. But his cardinal doctrine--the necessity for America to move decisively to protect American interests--did not encourage him to worry long over the opinion of other nations. His spread-eagle patriotism, his disdain for the irresoluteness of group diplomacy, and his delight in barnyard language combined to build few bridges between him and diplomats assembled in international organizations.

Of the Latin American regional group, the Organization of American States, LBJ said on an occasion when he knew his words would be repeated, 
"It couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel." 

The OAS had been notoriously indecisive and ineffective, but one OAS diplomat remarked that it "made us think that your President does not consider us too important." 

Source: Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson, by Eric F. Goldman, p.382 Mar 1, 1974

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