We all need role models—people we can look up to, people who will show us the way as we develop and learn. Presidents are no different. When he took office, Barack Obama had available to him some excellent role models he could have chosen to emulate. Ronald Reagan comes immediately to mind. Unfortunately for America, the president he chose to emulate is a bad example: Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ).
As president, LBJ just wanted to be loved. Assuming the presidency in the aftermath of a highly-popular president’s assassination, LBJ was driven by feelings of inferiority. He wanted, some might say needed, to be loved by the American people and he wasn’t above dipping into the federal treasury in an attempt to buy that love—a strategy that failed miserably. Although he enacted more government entitlement programs than any other president in our nation’s history except FDR, LBJ left office reviled by those whose love he craved.
Barack Obama is following LBJ’s bad example of using the federal treasury to buy what he craves as president—not the love of the American people in his case, but power and perquisites. President Obama has no vision for America beyond his own personal vision of remaining in office so he can continue to exercise presidential power and enjoy the luxurious perquisites of being president. LBJ wanted to be loved by the American people. Barack Obama wants to rule them, not as their elected president but as their king.
As American presidents go, Obama and LBJ are practically twins—entitlement twins—when it comes to methodology. LBJ used government entitlements in a failed attempt to buy the love of the American people. Barack Obama is using government entitlements in an attempt to buy the votes necessary to retain the power and perquisites of the most powerful office in the world. LBJ’s problem was a Texas-sized inferiority complex. Obama’s problem is arrogance.
Stinging from the growing criticism he faced over an unpopular war in Viet Nam War, LBJ tried to get back in the good graces of the American people by ramming his Great Society program through Congress. Consisting of more than 100 bills—all establishing new government entitlements—the Great Society program was unparalleled in its size and cost, that is until Barack Obama came along. Johnson hoped his Great Society program would redeem him in the eyes of the American people. Commenting on his domestic legislative program Johnson said: “Deep down I knew—I simply knew—that the American people loved me. After all that I had done for them and given to them, how could they help but love me.”
Barack Obama cares little about what Americans think of him. Like the kings of old European countries, he is driven by arrogance. President Obama thinks he can do what he wants in office unimpeded by public sentiment. Actions he cannot convince the representatives of the American people in Congress to take are simply enacted by executive order. Laws he cannot convince Congress to eliminate, he simply refuses to enforce. Facts that do not suit his purposes are simply ignored. When his abysmal record is placed before the American people, he simply lies about it. LBJ would probably be proud of Barack Obama, but I for one am not.