I have never been a fan or a hater of Lyndon Johnson nor have I been persuaded that he had any role in the assassination of JFK. In fact, I have viewed such suspicions a natural extension of suspicions that surrounded the assassination, disdain towards his Southern heritage, and his unpopularity with the 1960s anti-war movement. That is, “Hey! Hey! LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?” But if LBJ so hated Jack Kennedy and so wanted to be the President of the US that he would participate or orchestrate the assassination, then why did Lyndon Johnson continue and realize all of Kennedy’s programs, from Apollo program, the Civil Rights Act, to the Vietnam War? Why did LBJ go even further than Kennedy, with not only good budget but also progressive reforms? And if power was LBJ’s motive, why did he give it all away in 1968?
Why, LBJ? Why?
As opposed to LBJ’s power and influence during his tenure in the Senate, his personal vengefulness has been overrated by the public. Yes, had a temper. Yes, he would even send away untrustworthy Senators before critical votes. Yes, he commanded the people around him and sometimes bent them to his will with “The Treatment.” Yes, he attacked and throttled Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. However, he was direct.
LBJ was always in someone’s face. He didn’t need messengers or intermediaries like the Jack Kennedy. All LBJ needed was LBJ, and if he really hated either Jack or Bobby Kennedy, he would’ve beat them up or killed them himself. But LBJ didn’t and probably never thought of revenge, let alone murder, despite how much the Kennedys hated him for his modesty and his gruffness or how much he hated the Kennedys for being flashy and immoral.
JFK and LBJ were political partners, necessary partners, but partners nonetheless. And they remained partners even after Jack Kennedy’s assassination. What is considered JFK’s legacy today would not have happened without LBJ. In fact, it is arguable that JFK’s popular legacy was actually LBJ’s all along.
Regardless, these men held a common vision that’s why I simply don’t believe he could be an accessory to murder.