Sunday, November 10, 2013


I was always fascinated by the Kennedy assassination.
Not so much the fact that it happened but the myriad conspiracy theories that proliferated afterwards that are themselves a reflection of a very odd strain in the American psyche. The best counter to the Warren Commission findings is Henry Hurt's Reasonable Doubt.
There are countless other tombs that pin the blame on some dark conspiracy deep inside the CIA, mafia, Castro, Miami exiles, or a combination of the above. There is no credible evidence for any of this conjecture but let's face it, it makes great reading. You get the impression that regardless of the evidence, these wild tales would have surfaced anyway. Now, on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the greatest crime of the century, comes Roger Stone, a former Republican operative and opportunist, to offer up a laughingly implausible scenario: it was all the work of that paragon of political virtue Lyndon Baines Johnson.
I first heard of this book on the Lew Rockwell show and then listened to Dick Morris interview Stone on his radio show. My first reaction was laughter. I started reading about LBJ in the late 70's and have never stopped. The Robert Caro biography is excellent and one sees how the Kennedy clan treated him. Johnson was a brilliant and cunning politician. He was crass, corrupt, and power hungry. And like JFK, he loved the ladies although not a reckless sociopath about it. I always thought that if he could wish JFK dead without having to dirty his hands, he would do it in an heartbeat. Not so much because he hated the liberal saint, but because it would be a means to eliminating the power and influence of his real arch enemy: RFK.
But this is all conjecture. Which is a lot more than Stone has going for him. Granted, I have not yet read the book, although it is now in my Kindle and I soon will. But the thought of Johnson conspiring to murder Kennedy is preposterous. Big time. The only evidence that Stone has to launch this piece of a grotesque hypothesis is a supposed conversation he had with Nixon sometime in the 1970's when Nixon allegedly said that the difference between him and LBJ was that LBJ was willing to kill to become president.
That Nixon ever made this statement is highly dubious. Then there is the fact that LBJ hired Jack Ruby to do some political work for him in the 1940's and that Nixon supposedly said upon seeing Ruby kill Oswald, "I know that guy."
So what? Like all Kennedy assassination theories, the truth is irrelevant. They reveal a bizarre strand in American political thought where there is almost a religious like belief that we are governed by an all powerful cabal of government/financial/military elites. Elections are all smoke and mirrors to reassure the masses that their preferences are validated at the voting booth. And no political persuasion has a monopoly on this political hallucination. Now I am off to spend Sunday reading the actual book. It either that or watch a rerun of The Wizard Of Oz.
I would rather read a book that has less relation to reality.