I’ll be honest: There’s nothing quite as gratifying as hearing or reading strong opinions that mirror my own, voiced by folks who are better informed and smarter than myself.
Columnist Maureen Dowd is a sharp and intelligent observer of the Washington scene she covers. (Her shrill tone irritates me, but there’s no denying the brainpower.) Her column on Congressman Joe Wilson’s outburst, in which he called the President of the United States a liar, gives voice to something we would all like to forget:
“But Wilson’s shocking disrespect for the office of the president — no Democrat ever shouted “liar” at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq — convinced me: Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.”
Likewise, when Doris Kearns Goodwin, one of the most accomplished historians of our time, was asked by 60 Minutes what she thought Sen. Ted Kennedy added to the historical canon with his just-released memoir, she didn’t hesitate.
She noted that in his book “True Compass,” Kennedy frequently cites his deep admiration for President Lyndon Johnson and his accomplishments. Kearns Goodwin seizes on those comments because they differ so from the Kennedy party line. (Both John and Robert made no secret of disliking LBJ, who energetically returned their disdain.)
To my mind, Kennedy’s comments are significant because they might just nudge a younger generation of readers to give LBJ the credit he deserves, and which has so often been denied by people my age and older. Strong feelings about the American disaster in Vietnam keep many baby boomers from recognizing the huge accomplishments of the Johnson administration, including the passage of civil rights legislation that helped Barack Obama get where he is today.