February 22, 2017

"His office conversation was permeated by sexual imagery. 'Take that tie off,' he would tell one of his male staffers. 'That knot looks like a limp prick.'"

"Standing in the middle of the outer-office desks, he retied the tie in the Windsor knot, wider and more shaped than the traditional four-in-hand, which was becoming fashionable in 1949, and then stepped back to admire his handiwork. 'Look at that!' he said. 'He’s got a man’s knot now, not a limp one.' And assignments to his staff were sometimes made in the same tone. When, during his presidency, a woman reporter wrote critical articles about him, he would tell White House counsel Harry McPherson, 'What that woman needs is you. Take her out. Give her a good dinner and a good fuck.' And, McPherson would learn, the President wasn’t kidding. Joseph A. Califano Jr., to whom McPherson related the incident, writes that 'Periodically the President would ask McPherson if he’d taken care of the reporter. Every time she took even the slightest shot at the President, he’d call Harry and tell him to go to work on her.' Lyndon Johnson was never kidding when he gave such instructions."

From "Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson III" by Robert A. Caro, quoted at the suggestion of John Henry in the comments to my post about the NYT op-ed about Donald Trump's necktie.

Imagine if Donald Trump had talked about female journalists like that. 

60 comments:

Scott said...

We're back to ties again. Dear God.

EDH said...

Just two words that may change the entire thrust of that story: Helen Thomas?

Oso Negro said...

Ah, LBJ, one of the four horsemen of the progressive apocalypse.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Imagine if Donald Trump had talked about female journalists like that. "

Imagine if he said he wanted to grab Rachel Maddow's' pussy.

Because Rachel Maddow is a lesbian. In case you didn't know that.

That would add another layer to the potato.

I am Laslo.

tds said...

Is Johnson #1 from the previous blog post "Trump haters imagine..."?
Who's #2?

Unknown said...

He also made staffers watch while he shitted.

gspencer said...

Most presidents wind up being killers after they become president. LBJ was one well before his turn as POTUS happened. His victims included his predecessor in office.

bagoh20 said...

Going to work is like walking on stage and giving a performance. Everybody is playing a part in "The Office". Then you go home and perform in a different sitcom. You are only really yourself in your dreams.

tds said...

Looking at Harry McPherson's photos, I really don't get how LBJ expected him to give a reporter 'a good f**k'. This could be more about tormenting Harry, than a real instruction.

Andrew Pardue said...

So would LBJ say that President Trumps necktie looks like a limp prick as well. What's with the neck tie obsession today?

Robert Cook said...

LBJ was a pig.

Sharc 65 said...

Never considered the phallic implications, but a full Windsor is a superior knot.

MikeR said...

'Is Johnson #1 from the previous blog post "Trump haters imagine..."?
Who's #2?' Exactly. My reaction to the post is visceral disgust.

AReasonableMan said...

This comparison would have some weight if there weren't fifty years separating their presidencies. A lot has changed in that time.
LBJ was a pig and was rejected by his own party.

Big Mike said...

Thanks for reminding me that Donald Trump is not the first rude and crude President of the United States we've had in our lifetimes, Althouse. Based on vague recollections of the Watergate tape transcripts, he's not even the second. Like LBJ and Nixon, Donald Trump is loathed by the press. Unlike them, modern technology lets him talk right past the media directly to the American people so they are less relevant than ever before. The playbook of the 1960s isn't working 50 years later.

Laslo Spatula said...

Althouse does posts about Scott Adams' essays frequently.

Scott Adams used to draw Dilbert with his tie continually curling and pointing upward.

Adams has hinted that it had sexual reasons -- that the tie would lay flat if Dilbert ever got lucky. Supposedly did a series of strips concerning this, but it didn't make it past the editors.

How would Adams draw Trump's tie?

I am Laslo.

J2 said...

Imagine if his tie had made comments like that about female journalists.

dreams said...

It's also a different era.

Henry said...

The Tie post reminded me of Caro's books as well. There are photos of Lyndon Johnson in a short wide tie. Caro points out that Johnson wore the short wide tie when campaigning in rural Texas. In Washington he wore tailored suits and long narrow ties.

CJ said...

Lyndon Johnson did quite a lot of harm to this country. Republicans would be wise to undo as much of his legacy as they can.

The Democrats, I'm sure, will react characteristically - "WTF I love Lyndon B. Johnson now?!".

John said...

When I first learned to tie a full windsor knot, I was told that, just before you wrap the wide end around and tuck it back through, the knot should look like a pussy, V shaped.

It was not my father that taught me that. It was another 14 year old boy who probably had no more idea than I did what a pussy should look like.

So knot just a phallic symbol.

John Henry

LarsPorsena said...

Blogger AReasonableMan said...
This comparison would have some weight if there weren't fifty years separating their presidencies. A lot has changed in that time.
LBJ was a pig and was rejected by his own party.

You're joking of course. His policies are part of the DNA of the party. For Democrats, the War on Poverty, will never end.

Mac McConnell said...

"the knot should look like a pussy, V shaped." With a perfectly centered dimple it does look like a pussy.

Although I prefer the fore in hand, faster to execute, takes less length of tie, therefore no shorting of the tie.

Bay Area Guy said...

Althouse, for God's sake, stop having standards of behavior and stop applying those standards to presidential conduct.

LBJ was for civil rights, Trump is a lecherous pussy-grabbin' monster - we all know that!

AReasonableMan said...

LarsPorsena said...
You're joking of course. His policies are part of the DNA of the party.


You are confusing the man and his policies, which was the point of Althouse's original post.

mockturtle said...

LBJ was a hoot. I never tire of reading about him.

Jupiter said...

Robert Cook said...
"LBJ was a pig."

Four legs good, two legs bad!

Michael K said...

"LBJ was a pig and was rejected by his own party."

Vietnam was rejected. After the Democrats got us involved, of course.

Eisenhower turned the French down.

Johnson's domestic agenda is the Democrat agenda 50 years later. "I'll have those N****s voting Democrat for 50 years."

mockturtle said...

I think many women with sheltered upbringings, like Claudia [Lady Bird] Taylor, found his sort of brash talk strangely exciting.

Big Mike said...

@mockturtle, you wouldn't have thought that if you were a young man of draft age without a deferment back when he was in office.

Big Mike said...

(@mocker, reference is to your 9:03 post.)

mockturtle said...
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mockturtle said...
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mockturtle said...

Big Mike, I was referring to LBJ's personality not his policies or his presidency. My brother was in Vietnam. I was a protester: Hey, hey, LBJ! How many boys did you kill today? He was a mean, bullying SOB. I don't have to like someone to find them interesting to read about.

John said...

LBJ was probably one of the worst presidents ever, for a lot of different reasons and on a lot of different levels.

He is also one of the most interesting presidents ever. Perhaps because he was so awful.

He was not just hideous at one thing. He was like the Einstein of hideousness.

I did not think that when I was 1A and 18. I dodged the draft by going in the Navy. I did not like LBJ then and don't like him now. But when I started reading Caro and other books about LBJ as well as other presidencies, I did come to that opinion that he is fascinating. Kind of like a feast of snakes.

John Henry

Humperdink said...

LBJ sending someone else out to do the work on a female reporter. JFK would have done it himself.

DarkHelmet said...

Is a thread merger in order? LBJ is definitely a good stand in for Thought Experiment #1 and Thought Experiment #2 is a Romney/Pence hybrid.

Yes, most people of both parties are hypocritical regarding character issues, just as most sports fans are hypocritical regarding the character of players on their favorite team. Partisans of both left and right are symmetrical in that regard.

Here's the fundamental asymmetry: since the Left controls the media/entertainment commanding heights, every politician of the Right will be portrayed as both a monster in personal terms and horribly wrong on the substance of policy.

Exhibit A: W. Bush, an innocuous turn-the-other-cheek sort of fellow who was declared to be both Hitler and an empty-headed chimp controlled by Darth Cheney.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Lasso, this is the Dilbert strip you're looking for. It was meant to be ambiguous.

Now he wears the standard "business-casual" with ID badge that many large companies have today, so the tie thing's no longer an issue. Back when Dilbert started, engineers often still wore the white-shirt-and-tie combo.

JohnAnnArbor said...

"Laslo." Dammit, autocorrect.

Freeman Hunt said...

The tie is such a strange article of clothing. A thin, stiff, constricting scarf.

mockturtle said...

Freeman, maybe a necktie is a man's version of the pussy hat?

n.n said...

mockturtle:

necktie is a man's version of the pussy hat

That's kind of a limp analogy.

JohnAnnArbor said...

More Dilbert-tie discussion starts with this strip.

Fernandinande said...

Take that tie off,' he would tell one of his male staffers. 'That knot looks like a limp prick.'"

Lesson 1: insure you are surrounded by beta males by driving off those with healthy levels of self-esteem.

rightguy2 said...

The dems (and English MP's)are still talking about Trump referring to pussy grabbing 11 years ago. While JFK and LBJ were saying -and doing (it)- much, more WHILE THEY WERE President.

mockturtle said...

rightguy is right. The Unholy Trinity of JFK, LBJ and WJC represents the acme of disrespect toward women.

tcrosse said...

LBJ managed to strong-arm a whole lot of the Liberal Agenda through Congress. It was Vietnam and his own failing health that did him in. The bien pensants despised him, and he returned it in full measure. Men of my age, who got caught up in the whole Vietnam folly, will never forgive him.

Owen said...

Awesome kudos for citing Caro's history of LBJ. Those books should be required reading of anyone wanting to comment on contemporary American history and politics. If one uses LBJ as the baseline, Trump is not even one standard deviation away.

Bill Peschel said...

As I recall, JFK did a lot of pussy grabbing, too. Marlene Dietrich used to talk about stopping by the White House on her way to get an award from a Jewish group and ended up in bed with him. He escorted her to the elevator in his bathrobe and asked the SS man to escort her out.

The moral is if you can tie your tie right, you can get away with anything.

Balfegor said...

Imagine if Donald Trump had talked about female journalists like that.

It- . . ah, . . . it's not hard, actually.
Kind of easy, to be honest.

Hunter said...

Funny, after the reporter yesterday who lectured MILO about the Civil Rights Act, signed by "our greatest president Lyndon Baines Johnson, a Texan."

Unknown said...

It is also interesting that LBJ with his "Great Society" initiated the big welfare state that has so harmed the black community. It is perfect.

khesanh0802 said...

I have to agree with the other Viet Nam vets who don't like LBJ much. Though my special hatred is reserved for those who advised him so poorly and went along with the strategic and tactical nonsense that was our approach in VN. My special venom is reserved for Robert McNamara and General Westmoreland who were both as wrong as you could possibly be about the war in VN yet kept feeding other peoples' children into the killing machine.

LBJ was a bully and a supreme manipulator while in Congress. I have read a couple of Caro's books I got the picture and don't really feel the need to read more. I find Grant and Sherman much more interesting. They were men of honor and accomplishment. Of course, Sherman quite rightly hated politicians even though his brother was one.

Taranto's "Mary Jo Kopechne was not available for comment" is the perfect way to describe the Kennedy's attitude toward women.

Jay Elink said...
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Jay Elink said...


I'll always remember LBJ beginning his TV speeches with an ever-so-oily-and-insincere, "Mah frens......and you ARE mah frens.."

Sebastian said...

"Imagine if Donald Trump had talked about female journalists like that." It all depends. Prog sexual ethics are entirely situational. DJT as GOP prez has to be crucified, of course. LBJ at his Great Society peak was invulnerable. When Vietnam started to upset the prog narrative and spun out of control, he could be sacrificed as well. Of course, neither was a bastard like JFK, of sainted memory.

Here's part of Mimi Alford's story (the 19-year old intern JFK had already fucked on her fourth day on the job):

"Dave Powers was sitting poolside while the President and I swam lazy circles around each other, splashing playfully. Dave had removed his jacket and loosened his tie in the warm air of the pool, but he was otherwise fully clothed. He was sitting on a towel, with his pants leg rolled up, and his bare feet dangling in the water.

The President swam over and whispered in my ear. "Mr. Powers looks a little tense," he said. "Would you take care of it?"
It was a dare, but I knew exactly what he meant. This was a challenge to give Dave Powers oral sex. I don't think the President thought I'd do it, but I'm ashamed to say that I did. It was a pathetic, sordid, scene, and is very hard for me to think about today. Dave was jolly and obedient as I stood in the shallow end of the pool and performed my duties. The President silently watched."

readering said...

Marlene Dietrich was 58 when JFK was elected. She must have been something.

SukieTawdry said...

It's difficult to decide which 20th century politician did the most lasting harm to our nation, but if you said LBJ, I'd have a hard time arguing with you (and I said politician, not president, because Ted Kennedy is most certainly in the running). And such a crude, repugnant man to boot. I was in San Antonio once with a Vietnam war vet. I offered to drive him up to Johnson City so he could piss on Johnson's grave, but he declined.

Ron said...

But few of us knew Johnson was such a sleeze until much later. Who would have voted for him had they known. Heck, there are even a credible story that he had a rival killed in Texas.

Bob Loblaw said...

But few of us knew Johnson was such a sleeze until much later. Who would have voted for him had they known. Heck, there are even a credible story that he had a rival killed in Texas.

The press just refused to report stuff like that. Kennedy's womanizing and drug abuse, Johnson's reputation for being a dangerous man to cross, Nixon's crudeness and narcissism. Even up through Clinton, whose womanizing was covered up by the press until Drudge got ahold of it.

I remember my parents being genuinely shocked by the Watergate tapes. Not by what Nixon did, necessarily, but by his foul mouth. They had no idea.