Sixty years ago today, November 22, 1963, America was shocked by the assassination of our young, handsome president. Thanksgiving Weekend 1963 was collectively miserable for all Americans except the new president, Lyndon Baines Johnson. He had obtained his lifelong dream! President John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been assassinated in Johnson’s home state the Friday before and had been buried the Monday before Thanksgiving Day.
First Lady Jackie Kennedy thought VP Johnson had her husband assassinated. This American agrees with her. Besides research of the assassination itself, this article is based on wide-ranging research of Lyndon B. Johnson, the man.* I had originally set out to learn more about why/how he got America into the Vietnam War, which slaughtered and maimed so many young men of my generation. When I learned of his lifelong obsession, an obsession bordering on madness, I changed course.
John F. Kennedy could not stand his vice president, but he knew he needed him in 1960 to win the southern vote. JFK was on his way to being re-elected in 1964 with a different running mate, probably Senator Stuart Symington, a Democrat from Missouri.
This writer has researched LBJ’s entire life and concludes that either 1) JFK’s death was EXTREMELY fortuitous and timely for LBJ, or 2) LBJ arranged the assassination.
OBSESSED WITH POWER & CONTROL
Long before Johnson was first elected to the US House of Representatives (1936), he set his sights on becoming president, by hook or by crook, before age 60. He literally sacrificed & sacrificed & sacrificed for thirty years the White House.
Beginning as a toddler (literally), adults and children alike noticed that little Lyndon had to be the boss and had to be in control of everything. If he could not be the boss of whatever game he was playing with other children, he would go home. This trait continued throughout his entire life. At meetings during his 25 years in the House and Senate, Johnson was known to close his eyes and lower his head while anyone else was talking, lifting his head only when it was his turn to talk. He wanted everyone in the room to know that he wasn’t interested in what any of them had to say. If he wasn’t the center of the discussion, he didn’t care what others had to offer.
OBSESSION ALMOST COST JOHNSON HIS LIFE, TWICE
During his 1936 campaign for election to the US House from his home state, Texas, Johnson endured gut-wrenching pain for weeks. At times, he could barely stand up. During stump speeches, he hung onto something so he could stand straight, while audiences wondered what was wrong with this strapping young man. He became thinner and thinner, paler and paler. His aides told him he must see a doctor. “No time,” he said. He thought even taking time out for a doctor’s appointment might cost him the election.
The very night he was elected, he went to the hospital, where doctors discovered that his appendix was about to burst. Before antibiotics were developed in the 1940s, a burst appendix was guaranteed to put you in a pine box because it spread infection throughout your body. He was 28.
During his campaign to be a US Senator from Texas (1948), Johnson had a severe re-occurrence of kidney stones. He knew what was causing the pain, which had plagued him for years. He also knew that, if he did not have surgery, it would develop into kidney failure and he would die. Johnson also knew that the surgery necessary (in the days before laser and microsurgery) would require about two months of bedrest. That would end his Senate campaign and his dream of becoming president before age 60.
After weeks of excruciating pain, sweats, and fever, Johnson’s traveling aide and Lady Bird conspired to trick him into seeing a doctor. He refused surgery but did finally agree to being transferred to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for an experimental procedure. There, doctors repeatedly tried a new procedure to remove the kidney stones without surgery. On the third try, it worked! LBJ immediately flew back to Texas and resumed campaigning. He was 40.
USING ROOSEVELT TO BOOST HIS PROFILE
Johnson, a Democrat, became a member of the US House during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s second term. He saw Roosevelt’s popularity with Americans, so he latched onto him in numerous ways to portray the image that he was FDR’s “golden boy.” And it worked quite well. He came up with ways he could get into the same photo with FDR, which he then used in his campaigns. He obsequiously asked FDR for advice and fawned all over him.
Because Roosevelt was referred to by his initials, Johnson started insisting that everyone refer to him as LBJ.** This self-branding continued for the rest of his life—almost four decades. By the time FDR passed away (just weeks into his fourth term, in April 1945), Johnson had insinuated himself into FDR’s presidency in numerous ways.
JOHNSON TRANSFORMED THE SENATE
The Democratic Party owned Texas. Lyndon B. Johnson’s accomplices literally “stuffed the ballot box” with fake votes*** to get him elected to the U.S. Senate in 1948. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? He immediately went to work, transforming the Senate from a body that drafted very few bills and accomplished virtually nothing other than preventing and thwarting the president’s plans into a political powerhouse. He did it through subterfuge.
Prior to Johnson’s arrival in the Senate in January 1949, the majority leader had little power. No senator wanted to assume the role of majority leader, so they usually had to be drafted. Due to a lack of power and authority, other senators ignored the majority leader. Johnson volunteered for the job of Senate Majority Leader and transformed it into something of a Senate Dictatorship. Through stealth and subterfuge, he maneuvered himself into power and control over the flow of legislation, which gave him power and control over all other senators, especially Democrats.
Johnson saw how popular Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower was with Americans. Therefore, he maneuvered to pit Senate Democrats against the president so he could “save the day” as Senate Majority Leader and thereby gain public recognition.
JOHNSON ALWAYS “KNEW” HE WOULD DIE BEFORE AGE 60
All the men on Johnson’s father’s side of the family developed heart problems and died rather young of heart disease. Johnson’s father, who was the spitting image of LBJ, had his first heart attack at age 50. He died of a heart attack just days after his 60th birthday. Johnson’s uncle died at age 57 from a massive heart attack. Another uncle lived to age 71, but spent his final six years as an invalid due to heart disease.
In 1955, when he was in the Senate, Johnson suffered a massive heart attack. He was only 46 years of age. He recuperated and continued his Senate duties, but he knew his time on earth was short. He ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 1956. He lost to Adlai Stevenson. Time was ticking away.
JOHNSON BECAME KENNEDY’S RUNNING MATE VIA A POLITICAL STUNT THAT BACKFIRED
Johnson ran again for the Democratic nomination for president in 1960 and suffered a humiliating loss to John F. Kennedy. As a Texan, Johnson had a lot of support in the southern states, and Kennedy needed their support to win the presidency. Kennedy asked Johnson to be his running mate, never expecting him to accept. Johnson’s ego was just too big to willingly become No. 2.
Kennedy’s gesture to appease Southern Democrats backfired! He was shocked when Johnson accepted. Once he was elected, Kennedy didn’t need Johnson, did not want Johnson around, and intentionally excluded him from the most important meetings and decisions.
The US Constitution gives a vice president just one duty: to break tie votes that occur in the Senate, which does not happen often. That is the sum total of vice presidential power. Additional duties and powers only come from the president. Some presidents assign many duties to their VPs; some don’t. Eisenhower, Kennedy’s predecessor, gave his vice president, Richard M. Nixon, many important duties. These duties not only gave Nixon experience but also put him in the limelight. In turn, this no doubt helped him win the Republican nomination for president in 1960. The Kennedy-Johnson ticket barely beat the Nixon-Lodge ticket in 1960.
Basically, the vice president is merely the president-in-waiting should the sitting president die, a rather ghoulish, boring assignment. Prior to accepting the VP nomination, Johnson researched how many vice presidents had become presidents due to the death of the sitting president and discovered that seven presidents (out of 33) had died in office, putting their vice presidents in the White House. That is better than 4 to 1 odds. Three had been assassinated, and four had died of (apparent) natural causes.^ This historical fact entered into Johnson’s decision to accept Kennedy’s offer to be his vice president.
Johnson accepted the nomination for vice president because he hoped the sickly Kennedy would die soon. Kennedy, age 43, had been given the last rites of the Catholic Church three times in his twenties & thirties because doctors expected him to die.^^ Senator Kennedy’s poor health was well known around and among the DC establishment.
TRAPPED WITH NO POWER: KENNEDY GAVE JOHNSON VERY FEW DUTIES
Nine years older than Kennedy, Johnson was jealous of and dismissive of him when they were both in the Senate. Johnson saw himself as the “master” of the Senate and had worked very hard to maintain his control of all other senators. He saw Kennedy, who was elected senator four years after Johnson and barely eight years earlier, as an ineffective, lazy, playboy Senator. [Many senators viewed Kennedy the same way.] Johnson was livid when the media began calling Kennedy “JFK.” After all, HE had cultivated HIS initials for 20+ years.
Kennedy never gave any authority to Johnson because he considered Johnson to be a power-hungry political threat. [He was right!] Behind his back, Kennedy aides called Johnson “Rufus Cornpone,” because he was an unsophisticated, ill-mannered, relatively uneducated, clumsy Southerner. Indeed, certain aides were assigned to placate and humor Johnson as best they could in order to keep him away from Kennedy.
Johnson manipulated and maneuvered and almost begged Kennedy to give him some power. He had given up his ironclad control over the Senate to become the powerless vice president. HE HATED IT! AND HE HATED KENNEDY!
JOHNSON CAME TO LOATHE KENNEDY
As 1961 became 1962 and 1962 became 1963, Johnson grew more and more frustrated with his lack of power and authority. And he grew to despise Kennedy.
As 1963 was drawing to a close, Kennedy was openly talking about his re-election campaign for 1964 and would most certainly get the Democratic Party’s nomination over Johnson. KENNEDY WAS ALSO TALKING ABOUT GETTING RID OF JOHNSON AS VICE PRESIDENT. He even had a certain senator in mind for his running mate, Stuart Symington, senator from another southern state, Missouri.
WITH A BAD HEART, JOHNSON WAS RUNNING OUT OF TIME
Johnson worried that his heart would not last until the 1968 election, which would be his next chance to run for president. He would be 59^^^ by then, just short of his “life expectancy.”
On November 22, 1963, John & Jackie Kennedy and Lyndon & Lady Bird Johnson flew to Texas for something of an early campaign visit to shore up Kennedy’s popularity with Southerners. They were well received and apparently thoroughly enjoyed themselves until 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time.
Shots rang out as Kennedy, the First Lady, the Texas governor, and the governor’s wife were riding in an open-air convertible on that sunny day in Dallas, Texas. Johnson and his wife were riding in another car, trailing the motorcade, as was customary for security reasons.
Kennedy was first struck in the neck by a bullet, which doctors believe he would have survived. Seconds later, another bullet tore off part of his skull. President Kennedy was alive when he arrived at Parkland Memorial Hospital but was pronounced dead at 1:00 p.m. Central Standard Time. He was 46 years old.
LEE HARVEY OSWALD IS ARRESTED, THEN ASSASSINATED
Lee Harvey Oswald, who worked in a building just yards from where Kennedy was shot, was arrested for the murder. Two days later, as he was being transferred by a number of policemen, Oswald was shot and killed in the garage of the police building on live television. Americans across the nation, including me and my family, watched as Ruby shot Oswald in the stomach. He died immediately, without saying a word.
The police had allowed Jack Ruby, with whom they were all familiar, to get just feet from Oswald. Oswald was assassinated before he had a chance to talk with reporters other than “I didn’t do it.” Was this police incompetence or a set-up to silence Oswald?
AT AGE 55 JOHNSON’S LIFELONG DREAM WAS FULFILLED!
Barely an hour after the doctors pronounced President Kennedy dead, Johnson is sworn in as America’s 36th president, ironically by a federal judge that he did not want appointed to the bench. Johnson had promised the appointment to a more powerful Texan. This underscored how little power VP Johnson had and made him furious.
JACKIE KENNEDY BELIEVED LBJ KILLED HER HUSBAND
President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy had two children, John Jr. (1960–1999) and Caroline. Caroline has possession of audio tapes wherein her mother, former First Lady Jackie Kennedy (1929–1994), said she believed Johnson arranged with several Texas tycoons to have her husband assassinated.
If Oswald was really acting alone, why was it necessary to kill him? This writer believes Oswald was murdered to keep him quiet, to prevent him from telling authorities the “why, what, where, when & how” and the “who” of this assassination plot.
Oswald had failed in everything he had tried to do. He was barely age 24, was not very bright and was incapable of successfully carrying out this assassination without help. Oswald had no history of mental problems or violence. Moreover, what did Oswald have to gain from Kennedy’s death? Did someone pay him to shoot Kennedy? Or, was he just a convenient patsy? “I am just a patsy,” Oswald shouted as he was being whisked away by Dallas police into several interrogations which were not recorded.
There was speculation that Cuba was involved because Oswald visited the Cuban Embassy in Mexico just weeks before the assassination. There was speculation that the American Mafia was involved because Ruby was allegedly a member of the Dallas Mafia.
Although America only had a few thousand troops there at the time, Kennedy was about to pull out completely and end all involvement in Vietnam. Some historians believe the military industrial complex, who always profits handsomely when there is war, was involved in the assassination. And Johnson was certainly their man! After he was elected in his own right in 1964, he went whole hog into war, as seen by these troops counts.
All these connections are possible both with or without Johnson’s involvement. Johnson certainly had a lot to gain from Kennedy’s death. And Johnson owned Dallas, Texas. He had many, many connections there. But, much like the rigged 2020 election and the January 6th non-insurrection, the Deep State & their PR Firm, AKA Big Media, crafted a false narrative and crammed it down out throats: “you will believe this or we will hurt you!” as discussed in Alex Newman’s article, “60 Years Later: JFK Assassination Misdirection.”
Originally published at America First Re-Ignited.
*My research took me to his presidential library at the University of Texas in Austin, his “Western White House” near his childhood home, his childhood home in Johnson City, Texas, and various other locations central to Johnson’s life. I have relied heavily upon historian Robert A. Caro’s 4-volume biography to write this article.
**Lyndon named his daughters Lynda Bird Johnson, born in 1944 and Luci Baines Johnson, born in 1947. First Lady Lady Bird Johnson was born Claudia Alta Taylor and acquired the nickname “Lady Bird” as a baby. [December 22, 1912 – July 11, 2007]
***Ballot stuffing: LBJ won his first Senate election thanks to the George Paar machine in South Texas. The Paar Machine literally created votes for LBJ, just like in 2020, only on a much, much smaller scale. He “won” the statewide Democrat primary for the US Senate by fewer than 100 votes.
^Assassinations: Lincoln 1865; Garfield 1881; McKinley 1901 – Natural Causes: Harrison 1841; Taylor 1850; Harding 1923; FDR 1945.
^^Kennedy was born May 29, 1917. Like they did when FDR was dying during his fourth presidential campaign, Big Media knew about, but did not report on, JFK’s poor health. It was well known among DC politicians & bureaucrats that this wealthy young man had numerous health problems. As president, Big Media portrayed JFK as young, vigorous & healthy. Yes, he was young, BUT he was, arguably, the sickliest president in American history, a fact that did not become publicly known until long after his death. Big Media has been covering for Democrat politicians, but not for Republicans, since AT LEAST the 1930s.
^^^Johnson actually lived until January 22, 1973, four years and two days after he left office. He was home-bound for months before he died of heart failure at age 64. [August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973.]