Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Another historic inaugural

With many of us now excitedly focusing on the inauguration of Barrack Obama as President, I was thinking back to the first time I was invited to a Presidential Inaugural.

It was the inauguration of Lyndon Johnson in January of 1965.

Johnson had won the 1964 election in a landslide. Johnson carried every state but six. Goldwater carried five states in the deep south (but not Florida) as well as him home state of Arizona. Johnson carried states that had traditionally voted Republican, including the state of Kansas.

Kansas as you might know has always had a lot more Republicans than Democrats. That is particularly true of the western half of the state where I was living in 1964.

I went to High School in a little town on the western border of Kansas, just 8 miles from the Colorado line. We were part of the 1st Congressional District of Kansas, considered at the time and to this day one of the most Republican districts in the country. It was represented at that time by Bob Dole, who of course went on to be a U.S. Senator and vice-presidential candidate.

However we were Democrats, so I spent the summer volunteering as a driver for the Democratic candidate for Congress, Bill Bork. He lost. I don’t think it was my driving (it was a lot of driving, it was geographically one of the largest districts in the country, something like half of the state) it was there were just too many Republicans, even in a year in which Johnson carried the state by like 54%.

Any way, in December of that year I got in the mail my official invitation to the inaugural that following January. I was not quite 18, couldn’t vote (in those days you had to be 21 to vote), but I had my first real experience in politics. We had lost the congressional race but won the presidential and I couldn’t have been more excited. I’ve been a political junkie ever since.

Here are copies of the invitation materials.

Not on the envelope that it is simply addressed to me but no street or box number just the name of the town and the state. No zip codes in those days.

Also note that one of the hosts is Mrs. Hale Boggs. Hale Boggs was a congressman from Louisiana who disappeared whose plane disappeared in Alaska in 1972. His wife Lindy succeeded him in the Congress. Hale and Lindy were the parents of the journalist Cokie Roberts, and Tommy Boggs of Patton and Boggs.

Click on the image to make it larger in a new window. I realize that in scanning these materials I neglected to crop them, oh well.

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