Classics of Conservatism - Part XIX - J. Evetts Haley - A Texan Looks at Lyndon
Twenty-five years ago this month, I read my first truly conservative book. A Texan Looks at Lyndon was written in 1964, but I discovered it on the recommendation of a friend 18 years later.
There is an advantage to reading a political book that is already decades old. One learns to appreciate the issues of the past, compare them to the issues of the present and learn what issues or arguments endure the test of time.
So many political arguments focus only on ephemeral issues that don't really matter. But the issues from the Lyndon Johnson years run far deeper. Those issues involve power, abuse, big government, etc. Discovering how badly government programs can be abused can educate us as to the real problems with the all-encompassing, supposedly benevolent bureaucracy. The abuses of the Johnson administration are not unique to Lyndon Johnson or any one particular socialist politician.
While Robert Caro has written in great detail on the scandals of Lyndon Johnson, Haley was the first to assemble and disseminate these facts in one publication. He did it while Johnson was President and before it was too late to stop Johnson. The book received tremendous attention during the 1964 election and became one of the biggest selling political books in Texas history.
Haley wrote in detail about precinct 13 and the Senatorial election of 1948.
Haley's book also covered Johnson's relationship with Bobby Baker and Billy Sol Estes. In particular, this book makes it clear how those scandals were the result of the big government programs and class warfare that Johnson supported and nurtured during his years in power.
We don't remember those names today only because there was no "new media" or blogosphere to force the issue into the mainstream press during the 1960's. Mass distribution paperback books were the closest thing to the blogosphere or talk radio that existed at that time.
The MSM/DNC would have us believe that Johnson was just the man who supported civil rights at home while getting us into the Vietnam "quagmire" abroad. That is as far as the conventional wisdom goes. "A Texan Looks at Lyndon" will give you an idea how much more there is to the story beyond the conventional wisdom.