Robert Ganshorn

In the Year 2055

Filed By Robert Ganshorn | August 30, 2008 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Lyndon Johnson, Obama crush, politics

First, I feel I should introduce myself. My name is Wilfred R. Garbo and I am chief historian of the Barack Obama Presidential Library. As is the habit with presidential papers, certain items are held from public review at the request of the president for a set number of years following his death. Since the recent passing of the much beloved President Obama, this president took the unique step of releasing all of his presidential papers, including personal diaries he had kept from his early college days. It is a uniquely forthcoming action of a man who presided over the return of sanity to the role of America in world events.

I am now able to share the private diary entry of President Obama for the day of his nomination as president on August 27th 2008.

6:00 AM, August 27th 2008

"On this day I become the first Black American presidential nominee of a major party. I am so tired of hearing that! I have to act like superman when at the core of it I am just trying to get through this all. Michelle understands, thank Heaven, and she is giving me space to rest and recharge. She is letting me sleep alone because she tells me my snoring is impossible these days.

My staff is doing a fantastic job of protecting me from overwork, but at the same time I feel like they are getting in the way, annoying some people in their desire to protect me and give me the space to think. I have to make amends to some folks I think that they have not given me enough time to talk to in the past few days. It will all work out, of course, but I am going to ruffle enough feathers to have someone angry with me most of the time anyway.

I could not believe the dream I had last night! Clear as I have ever dreamed, from the midst of my slumber, came this voice that I sort of recognized and then an image came before me. It was a man's face, not handsome, with a long nose, huge ears and sad tired eyes who said:

"It is my birthday, damn it, and I want to talk to you!"

It was then that I realized that it was the image and voice of Lyndon Johnson.

"Mr. President?" I asked.

"Not in a long time kid!" and his face relaxed into a smile that gave me odd comfort.

"I just want you to know," he continued, "that it is your job to undo what I did. I want you to take back the South! I want you to do that for me, it is my home and you can start to do it. My own people, my own party lost out since 1964 because I made them do the right thing and pass the 'Voting Rights Act.' It is time for the people, who were not born or just born like you at the time, to tell the old bigots to shove aside and make way for the Democratic Party."

"But how," I heard myself asking him, "my advisers tell me it is impossible."

"Go with your gut, tell the truth to people, remember to say thanks to those who are with you and to tell those fancy pants Republicans they don't get to own the whole country!"

"Mr. President," I responded, "things have changed so much since your time.

"Don't worry, Ann Richards keeps me informed, and now that I have eternity I can read all the papers and slow down to just one TV news program at a time. You can do it son and do it for me."

"Any advice about getting out of Iraq, Mr. President?"

"In a straight line with your head held high. Don't buy in to my biggest mistake as president. I listened to those lunatics in the CIA and "military intelligence" when I should have looked at the map of the world. Sixty thousand young men and women dead to prop up a crooked government, not that ours is particularly honest, but much worse than ours because some four eyed analyst repeats 'Domino Theory' over and again. We were stupid, we were scared, we had just had a face off with the Soviets and we were fighting their 'aggression' by creating our own. Not only should you never act out of fear, it is one of your biggest jobs to keep the American People from being afraid so that they can think."

I then woke up and realized that once this is over, it has only just begun for me.

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BRAVO!! I hope Mr. Obama reads this and realizes how dead-on accurate it is. People all over this country are so ready for him, even if they are reluctant to give up old loyalties. They just need to be reminded every day of what makes this country great. There are only two states of consciousness: love and fear. It's Mr. Obama's job to remind us about the power of love.

Mr. Obama sure loves the coal industry, thats for sure. The solution to getting out of Iraq?

Why, its "buy more coal!"

I must admit I enjoyed this fantasy. Maybe.......we need someone with that kind of vision right now. McCain doesn't have it, that is for certain.

As for coal, it remains an energy source we have in abundant supply. I will remind you that the states of Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, and Montana all have significant segments of their populations who are dependant upon coal for their livelihood. The people who work in these mines are a complicated group politically: their union is firmly in the Democratic column, but the rank and file tend to be conservative people, Christian fundamentalists, hunters/gun owners, and have been through some very hard times over the last 30 years or so. The entire region is in terrible financial shape, many mines have closed rather than meet the safety standards, and yet the people in the coal mining regions of these states have voted Republican: all are in play this year, and quite rightly Obama's people feel he has a shot at winning at least some of them. It has nothing to do with getting out of Iraq, but it is a piece of the future energy puzzle - and a key to possibly improving life in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the US. it is pragmatic policy, even if putting the word "clean" with coal does create an oxymoron.

Interesting fantasy. Obama has opened offices in all 50 states and has been making inroads in certain southern states, like Georgia and North Carolina.

But I think LBJ should be a little more careful about calling Obama "son"....

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | August 30, 2008 11:53 PM

Professor Weiss, thank you for the compliment.

Polar, nyctek this was not an energy posting (fantasy) as much as reinventing the Southern strategy, and of course, the military industrial complex. Two pet peeves of mine. Without interesting future fantasies based on old historical truths how could we dream of betterment?

Alex, it is hard to tell a 100 year old dead man to be careful.:) You have no leverage!:) shows it as a familiar term of address to a man or boy from an older person. It implies seniority of the speaker to the person spoken to, but I have always found it charming to be addressed as "son." (Funny how rarely that happens any more?)

I am aware that words matter when they are used ignorantly, but those who knew, and heard, the way President Johnson spoke appreciate that there could be no way he could have had a conversation without calling someone "son" in the process, just as he could not have avoided calling the Republicans "fancypants."

It was an absolute part of polite Southern conversation between men in the 1960's. I miss polite conversation, there used to be a lot of it.

I accept the criticism, Robert, you're right, and I shouldn't have gone off on that tangent. You're also right about the terminology LBJ would have used in speaking to a person younger than he. I think LBJ would have liked Barack Obama, just as he was close to Thurgood Marshall.

Actually, the Southern tradition of genteel conversation is still alive, in certain circles, and is a tradition that can and should be maintained, just as there is still a place for men (and women who wish) to retire to the lounge after a fine Southern dinner with old whiskey and fine cigars. In fact, I see it in my local gay community, and know it lives on in cities further south as well. Thanks for evoking it. The more I read this posting, the better I like it.