Section One

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April 29, 1966: “Did The Music Man Say When Our Instruments and Uniforms Are Coming?”
Washington Post

President Johnson was a man with boundless ambition, and between 1964 and 1965 he proposed an ambitious liberal reform program called the Great Society, in which he tried to “out-Roosevelt Roosevelt.” Johnson pushed for federal aid for education and the cities, a war on poverty, school lunch programs, and medical care for the elderly. These programs were very expensive. By 1966, economic conditions were worsening, and the Vietnam War was becoming increasingly costly. As a result, a new desire for thrift took hold in the Johnson administration, and cuts fell on Johnson’s domestic programs.

The left wing of the Democratic Party, including Herblock, saw Johnson’s shift as a betrayal of liberal principles. Others, more cynical, saw Johnson as a fraud like Harold Hill, the con man in The Music Man, who made many promises that he did not deliver.