Having won a landslide victory in the 1964 Presidential election, Lyndon Johnson was riding the crest of a very popular wave, and despite persistent and ominous signs from Vietnam, The Great Society was ready and poised to take center stage - at least for a while.
And so his State of The Union on that January 4, 1965 was a message filled with promise, promises and optimism.
President Johnson: "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;
--to the poor and the unfortunate, through doubling the war against poverty this year;
--to Negro Americans, through enforcement of the civil rights law and elimination of barriers to the right to vote;
--to those in other lands that are seeking the promise of America, through an immigration law based on the work a man can do and not where he was born or how he spells his name."
There was Medicare, Medicaid and The War on Poverty. The Civil Rights Bill was signed in June and LBJ's popularity continued. But as successful as he was with Domestic policy, his Achilles Heel came in the area of Foreign Policy. Vietnam would eventually take over and as domestic programs were being implemented, the draft would suck most of the life out of the country in a very short time.
But in January 1965 no one was really thinking about that.