Tuesday 29 November 2016

Naked POTUS, number 36: Lyndon B. Johnson

"Even the President of the United States must sometimes have to stand naked" - BOB DYLAN

Bum and balls flapping, it is the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973). This is all about him:


Born 27th August 1908, Stonewall, Texas
Died 22nd January 1973, Stonewall, Texas

Presidential Term 22nd November 1963 - 20th January 1969

Like his predecessor, Johnson was a decorated war hero: he won the Silver Star for gallantry while serving in the US Navy. Following his return to the USA, Johnson moved into politics.

Johnson won a seat in the US Senate in 1949. By 1955 he was the Majority Leader of the House, the youngest man ever to hold the position. He was the favourite for the Democratic Presidential nomination for 1960 but his refusal to leave the Senate to attend the  Primaries cost him dear: by the time of the Democratic Convention, John Kennedy enjoyed unstoppable momentum and support. Johnson was selected as the Vice President in order to appeal to the Southern States.

Upon Kennedy's death, Johnson became the seventh Vice President to be promoted to the top office. He had been two cars back from Kennedy in the Dallas motorcade and was sworn in as President on board Air Force One as it stood on the tarmac at Dallas Love Field airport.

Johnson's Presidency is notable for its social progressiveness as he continued the Kennedy administration's program of civil rights reform. In 1964 he signed the Civil Rights Act, making racial discrimination illegal in the USA.

Johnson was also responsible for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which made any techniques of voting suppression illegal, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which made housing discrimination on racial grounds illegal. Johnson was perhaps the most progressive US President since Abraham Lincoln, a century before.

Johnson's own initiative was The Great Society, an umbrella of social reforms that included Medicare, Medicaid and environmental protection laws, in addition to civil rights reforms and a declaration of war on poverty in the US. As with all of his crusades, Johnson used his exhaustive network of political contacts, friends and colleagues to barter them into existence.

The war in Vietnam, a program that had been supported by the previous two US administrations, began in earnest under the Johnson government. Following the Gulf of Tonkin Incident on 2nd August 1964, Johnson finally formally committed US ground troops.

Johnson refused to stand for a third term of office at the 1968 election, stepping down in a speech to the nation on 31st March 1968. This was variously attributed to public anger over the escalating Vietnam War, his personal rivalry with Robert Kennedy (who had declared his candidacy for the top office earlier in the month) and fears about his own health - both his father and grandfather had died of a heart attack at the age of 64, which would be his own age at the end of his office.

Lyndon Johnson died of a heart attack in 1973, aged 64.

The B stood for Baines. His wife (Lady Bird), daughters (Lynda Bird and Luci Baines) and dog (Little Beagle) all shared his initials LBJ, which was also how he was popularly known.

N.B. Some parts of the above image have been redacted by the CIA for reasons of national security. An unexpurgated version of all the naked Presidents will be made available at the end of the project.

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