The news has been full of the Foley scandal. I did not watch much of it yesterday due to art, but Monday I got a belly full of scandal news when I was trying to find out more on the Amish school shooting. Toby said he listened to some radio talk show that listed all sorts of sex scandals and money scandals over a period of time in DC. He said it was amazing, but the bottom line was that power corrupts. I, too, had been thinking of past scandals in DC, thinking why is this big news; lets deal with it and move on to more important matters. Because this is an election year, the press and the Dems are making this scandal more important and fishing to take out politicians in higher places. It reminded me of another scandal.
As a little girl, I remember hearing my parents talk about Walter Jenkins who was an aide to LBJ. It seems that Walter was involved in handling money between lobbyists and Johnson. He became involved in a money/kickback scandal, but the Dems were not able to pin anything on Jenkins although they tried. They wanted Jenkins because he was very close to LBJ. Then in October of 1964, an election year, Jenkins was involved in a sex scandal. He was arrested for having homosexual relations with a man in a YMCA restroom. LBJ sent Jenkins back to Austin literally distancing himself from Jenkins.
Several years ago I was watching the news when they reported that taped phone conversations between LadyBird and LBJ had been found. One of the conversations was LadyBird discussing the Jenkins sex scandal with her husband. On the tape, in her sweet Southern accent, she tells her husband that she wants him to take good care of Walter – that she did not believe he was guilty – that he was a good husband and father, a good Catholic with six children. She asks LBJ to give him a job in Austin, but LBJ was reluctant to have any ties with Jenkins. LadyBird says that people will think more highly of LBJ for standing with Jenkins than for abandoning him. Although LBJ was not convinced, LadyBird did give Jenkins a job in Austin.
There was always talk about this being a "set up" - that the Dems had purposefully lured Jenkins to the YMCA and set him up. After reading about Walter Jenkins, I think he was probably guilty. He may have been a good husband and father to six, but he was apparently a closet gay. He was guilty of being stupid and thinking he could get away with something that was against the law (my how times have changed). Of course, if we dug very deep, we would have found all sorts of scandals in the LBJ machine. My point in this entire story is that no matter whom the scandal involves, during an election year the scandal will be used to destroy or hurt the political party involved. This sort of thing is not new – it is a tool used by both the Dems and the Reps, and it is getting old.
On a different note, I think Lady Bird rocks! And why do I know about Walter Jenkins? He was my dad’s first cousin although we never knew him personally. Now you know the rest of the story.