Given the "woke" era we live in, it’s hard to believe that there was a time when rough and tumble politics was the norm and not merely the domain of Donald Trump and his critics.
A Feb. 8, 2020 New York Daily News headline perfectly illustrates this preoccupation with the president’s unorthodox behavior and the bully brand moniker, "The GOP Godfather: Don Takes Care of Family Business in Friday Night Massacre."
Currently, most millennials, Gen Z crowd, and partisan talking-heads seem to see history beginning in 1999 and fail to imagine the world operating on a different set of political norms — too shocking to process.
The new criterion for assessing bullying doesn’t help the discussion.
In many ways, name-calling obfuscates what is really going on — good old partisan politics. The reaction depends on where one sits in the choir.
The nation's 36th president, Lyndon Banes Johnson (LBJ), a Democrat, pushed the limits in ways that many today would not believe. In the sacred Oval Office, he purportedly would defecate in front of his subordinates while discussing the issues of the day.
In addition to such outrageous behavior, he often thought nothing of physically "man-handling" legislators, grabbing them by their lapels and physically threatening them if they did not concede to his will.
This outrageous behavior is best documented in Robert A Caro‘s book, The Years of Lyndon Johnson Volume 3: Master of the Senate.
That book’s reviewer, Andrew Rawnsley, describes Johnson this way:
"Lyndon Baines Johnson was a monster. He was corrupt, cruel, callous, crude, a vicious user of women, a bully of men . . . He liked to pee in the washbasin in his office in front of female secretaries and then wave his member about. Inordinately proud of his sexual apparatus, Johnson was given to bragging: 'Jumbo had a real workout tonight.'"
" . . . He treated his devoted wife with abominable contempt. As Lady Bird (his wife) sat next to them, he would thrust his hand up another woman's skirt. He was a physical coward who went to great lengths to avoid combat service in World War II. He was a moral coward. Fearing to be on the unpopular side of public hysteria during the Red Scare, he could have, but did not, mobilize opinion against Joseph McCarthy before that fascist had blighted the lives of thousands of innocent Americans."
"Johnson's oceanic ego was expressed in his wardrobe. His initials were monogrammed on his belt buckle as they were on his shirts and on the gold cufflinks that bellowed 'LBJ' from each wrist."
So much for the decorum that we hear about from Trump critics who cite the need for White House civility.
And then there is beloved FDR who did plenty to flex the muscles of the presidency.
His order leading to the imprisonment of 120,000 Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II must be described even by Roosevelt apologists as simply beyond the pale. See "By Order of the President," by Greg Robinson.
Bullying was part and parcel of the Roosevelt brand. His attempt to increase the size of the Supreme Court to 15 so that his New Deal Legislation would be implemented is another example of his bully behavior.
In addition, to these outrageous behaviors, FDR’s use of the IRS to intimate his political enemies like Lousiana Senator Huey Long can't be overlooked.
Long bucked FDR and even toyed with running against him.
This generated an investigation and by 1935, the IRS began indicting lower-level and more vulnerable members of Long’s team. On Sept. 10, 1935, Long was assassinated.
It appears that the commentary has gotten out of hand and that we've had other presidents who were tough characters — and the Republic survived.
Dr. John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert, known as The Marketing Doctor. JT utilizes his doctoral skills in applied research psychology to analyze the issues and personalities of the day utilizing his marketing and branding lens. This provides his readers with additional insight needed to understand the “new normal” in politics, news, and culture. Dr. Tantillo is the OpEd writer for Political Vanguard. He is the author of "People Buy Brands, Not Companies,” and the Udemy course "Go Brand Yourself!" You can follow him on Twitter @marketingdoctor and at Facebook.com/dr.johntantillo. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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