LBJ: “We must open opportunity to all our people. Most Americans enjoy a good life. But far too many are still trapped in poverty and idleness and fear. Let a just nation throw open to them the city of promise. To the elderly, by providing hospital care under Social Security and by raising benefit payments to those struggling to maintain the dignity of their later years.”
But there was that one element which would eventually turn the focus from all the good programs to what had become one very bad idea: Vietnam.
By the end of 1965 our involvement went from "training and advisers for the South Vietnamese Army" to increased draft calls and escalating weekly casualty figures of our own. We were in it and we were stuck in it. And by the end of 1965 there looked like no turning back.
The domestic programs were great. The Great Society was a wonderful idea. It's often been said that, had there been no Vietnam, LBJ would have gone down in history as a truly progressive President. Vietnam would become the thorn in his side and his eventual downfall.
It's one of those quirks of history - the ones that often repeat.