Two fairly distinctive noses - January 20, 1969


Johnson might have been an president that is awful but he ended it with more class than almost anyone ever. Everyone knew he wouldn't get re-elected, but most politicians would anyway insist on running. Alternatively ...



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  • Johnson may have been an awful president, but he ended it with more class than almost anyone ever. Everyone knew he wouldn't get re-elected, but most politicians would insist on running anyway. Instead he accepted his fate, even when it meant the potential destruction of his party. Only Polk and Washington compare.
  • Polk served one term and stepped down. Washington could have been re-elected indefinitely (there was no precedent after all) but resigned after two terms. Johnson had term limits, but could have run for re-election. The Democrats wanted Robert Kennedy and Johnson knew his time was up. In his own words (per Wikipedia) With America's sons in the fields far away, with America's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office--the Presidency of your country. Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President. When a president decides not to run for re-election, that's not a good sign for his party. If Obama wasn't running right now, do you think the Democrats would stand a chance? It's basically admitting that the other side won. So already Johnson was doing what I view to be the right thing, even though it hurt his party. Then Robert Kennedy was assassinated. The guy who was supposed to save the Democratic party (not to mention the nation) was no longer on the scene. Could Johnson have stepped back into the ring? Doubtful, but it was arguably the Democrats' only chance. And he didn't; he stuck to his word.
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