Originally Posted by AaronJ
"I will not seek, nor will I accept the nomination ..." is absolutely standard political language. There's nothing under the hood going on. It's just the language of politics, and it means exactly what it says.
I assume you're speaking in jest with "means exactly what it says," After all, "the language of politics," when stated by a politician as corrupt, dishonest and ill-mannered as LBJ, means exactly nothing. I was right to be suspicious. Lie enough, and you'll not be believed even when you're honest. Remember the tale about the boy crying "Wolf."
By the way, a friend of mine was the USAF still photographer selected to accompany LBJ on a tour through Asia and can he tell some revealing stories. LBJ bullied, threatened and treated badly both our military leaders and foreign leaders. He wasn't the syrupy, 'down home,' just plain folks guy you saw giving speeches. He was the classic ugly American, throwing his weight around and deserving to be hated.
Keep in mind that I'm a writer not a journalist/reporter. I consider the latter one of the worst of insults. During the 1992 campaign, I kept hearing breathless adoration about the 'Man from Hope'--Bill Clinton. "The press is so enthused about him," I told myself, "that this Clinton must be crooked, incompetent or both." Then I heard Clinton speak. Before he'd finished a single sentence, I thought "con man." He had the classic, syrupy sweet, "ah feel yore pain' voice of a con man. Strangely enough, when the press finally figured out Clinton, they'd talk about him being a "very good liar." He's not. He's the worst of liars. He's someone who comes across as a liar even when he's stating something honest. It's the press that was taken in as usual.
That's why one of Perry's Laws is that the quickest route to the truth in politics is to take what the press is saying about someone and flip it. If the press calls someone brilliant (i.e. Obama), you can know with near certainty that's he's a mental lightweight. That's why Obama has blocked the release of any of his grades. All we know is that, since he didn't graduate 'with honors' from Columbia, he wasn't in the top 30% of his class, even though his major, political science, isn't that hard.
And that's an interesting thing about LBJ. I don't recall the press treating him as a liar. For status-conscious reporters, his problem was that he wasn't 'rich and cool' like JFK had been. It was LBJ's obvious lies, particularly about Vietnam, that go him into so much trouble with an awakening public. Whatever people thought about Vietnam, they didn't like a President who ran in 1964 on keeping us out of Vietnam and then soon after escalated the war. That's why LBJ couldn't run again in 1968. In 1964, he'd won by a landslide. In 1968 he'd have lost against almost anyone by a landslide. That's why so many Democrats were challenging him.
Of course, there is one journalist I like--G. K. Chesterton. But he was most untypical. He wasn't taken in. He was warning in 1932 that, if the leaders of Britain and France didn't act, the next European war would break out over a border dispute between Germany and Poland--precisely what happened in 1939.
--Michael W. Perry, Chesterton on War and Peace: Battling the Ideas and Movements that Led to Nazism and World War II