The series I started here a week or so ago on Democratic Presidents who couldn’t win the Democratic nomination (a rebuttal to the risible lib-media theme of the moment that the GOP is “too extreme” for Ronald Reagan) was turned into a full-blown article for the Weekly Standard, and is out this morning:
Rather than try to make Reagan out as too moderate for an extreme party, the decriers of “extremism” ought to give a hard look at Democratic presidents who couldn’t get the nomination of today’s Democratic party, starting with one who actually didn’t get it: Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968. Despite delivering the most substantial liberal reforms since the New Deal (the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, Medicare, the War on Poverty, etc.), LBJ was on his way to losing renomination when he withdrew. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan memorably put it, Johnson “was the first American president to be toppled by a mob. No matter that it was a mob of college professors, millionaires, flower children, and Radcliffe girls”—in other words, what Democrats today call “the base.”
The other Democratic presidents who couldn’t get nominated today, in addition to FDR, are Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy. Read the whole thing for the reasons why.