Did LBJ Kill Kennedy? (And Why It Matters): Q/A with Roger Stone

"I think he's an amoral psychopath," says Roger Stone of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. "I think he's crude, evil, vicious, vindictive, drunk." 

And there's this: "I think Lyndon Johnson had unique motive, means, and opportunity to kill John Kennedy and I think he participated in a plot to do so."

Stone, a well-known political operative and Richard Nixon loyalist, lays out his case in The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ, written with Mike Colapietro.

As Gillespie notes in the interview (and in this essay about the nation's JFK fixation), Stone's book is "fully enjoyable" even if you don't buy his central argument that LBJ was a cold-blooded killer. Among the dozens of books published in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, Stone's book is memorable for its meticulous cataloguing of the personal and political foibles of JFK, LBJ, and Tricky Dick.

"My book achieves nothing," says Stone, if it doesn't persuade people "that what the government tells you cannot be believed. Anything the government tells you needs to be regarded with a heavy dose of skepticism."

Stone sat down with Nick Gillespie to discuss LBJ's shady past and Texas-sized ambition, the role of the Mafia in mid-century presidential politics, his belief that Lee Harvey Oswald was a "patsy," and his next project (a book about Hillary Clinton).

About 6 minutes.

For more about Stone, check out his website.

In 2007, Stone has talked with Reason TV about why "negativity is in the grand tradition of American politics," why then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D-N.Y.) was a "psycho," and why the Libertarian Party should pack it in (Stone has since changed his mind and helped the 2012 presidential campaign of the LP's Gary Johnson). Watch that here.

And in 2008, Stone spoke about "new media and old campaign tricks" with a class that Gillespie taught in Miami University of Ohio's Interactive Media Studies program. Watch that here.

For more Reason on Roger Stone, go here.

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  • MSimon||

    I like "Best Evidence" by Lifton.

  • Ted S.||

    Fuck the Kennedy shit. Fuck the whole idea of "Camelot".

    Can we finally move beyond the 1960s?

  • ||

    Not until the 60's move beyond us, Ted.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    We still haven't moved beyond the *eighteen* sixties.

    Lincoln was a great man.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And he supplemented his income as a lawyer by working as a mohel.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And, uh, he worked late into the night eating deep-dish pizza?

    No, still nothing?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Abortion. You can't bury the lede, Ed.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The reason editors themselves troll the commenters with abortion srticles. When was the last time they did lincoln?

    They might do it with the upcoming Gettysburg Address anniversary. Or they could skip it like obama.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    In fact, I would suggest that if reason keeps posting articles on a given topic, it would be putting on airs for me to refuse to troll on that topic. Id basically be claiming to higher standards than reason.

  • wareagle||

    "putting on airs" an idiom not used nearly often enough.

  • Habeas Dorkus||

    Lincoln was a great man.

    By suspending habeas corpus? By funding an army without congressional approval?

  • ||

    I think the '64 election would have been very different it was Goldwater running against Kennedy. Both men liked and respected each other, so the election would have had a much different, issues-oriented tone.

    As opposed to that asshole LBJ telling people to vote Democrat or Goldwater would start WWIII.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "They warned me that if I voted for Goldwater, American boys would go to Vietnam to do what Asian boys ought to do, and they were right!" - Goldwater voter

  • Bam!||

    "Both men liked and respected each other, so the election would have had a much different, issues-oriented tone."

    Having watched PBS's four-hour JFK documentary, one thing was clear: Kennedy wanted to win. He'd have gone as dirty as he had to.

  • Sevo||

    "Having watched PBS's four-hour JFK documentary, one thing was clear: Kennedy wanted to win. He'd have gone as dirty as he had to."
    Ask Nixon.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The One-Armed Man, on the Grassy Knoll, with a poisoned dart.

    Let me check the case file - my guess was right!

  • Carolynp||

    I'm still liking Colonel Mustard for this with the noose...how come no one goes with the noose anymore?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    LBJ subscribed to the Klingon school of career advancement.

  • CE||

    Or the evil Kirk.

  • JW||

    He is without honor!

    And since you fucked this up by confusing mirror-universe Federation Empire with this-universe Klingon Empire, you are now officially out of the group.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The only reason I don't wish that Johnson had shared a bullet with Kennedy is John McCormack was nearly as bad as Johnson (that is to say, pro Great Society social engineering, pro-Vietnam meatgrinder).

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Just for laughs, who was after McCormack?

  • ||

    President Pro Tempore of the Senate Carl Hayden.

    When asked of his plans if he had succeeded to the presidency, Hayden replied "I'd call Congress together, have the House elect a new speaker, and then I'd resign and let him become president."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Hayden#1960s

  • Jordan||

    A man who doesn't want to be President? Sadly, that's just the kind of man best suited for it.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    That's why Presidential prospects in the early Republic at least pretended they didn't want the job. Some of them of course were lying, but hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

  • ||

    I never understood the logic of putting the oldest person in the Senate third in-line for the presidency.

  • CE||

    With age comes wisdom, whippersnapper.

  • Winston||

    It's because the President Protem has become a ceremonial position when it was originally the Senate's Presiding Office when the Vice President wasn't attending.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Beat me to it (by many minutes).

    Being second is the same as being last in the high-speed world of H ampersand R.

  • Gbob||

    Short answer: No. Longer answer: No.

    I don't even need to watch the video for that.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Why? We're talking about a man who spent his early years beating the shit out of any Mexican students who dared speak Spanish in his class.

  • ||

    Why did Oswald proclaim to be a patsy? Because he probably was. Will we ever know the truth? No.

  • wareagle||

    saw a documentary not long ago that aimed to put the conspiracy thing to an end. One part detailed Oswald going into the Soviet Union AND leaving it. With a Soviet national as his bride, no less. And it was presented in the most matter of fact manner possible. As if that sort of thing was totally routine for the time.

  • ||

    Suuure, why not?

    http://www.russiancupid.com/

  • Winston||

    Why did Oswald proclaim to be a patsy?

    Full quote:

    "They've taken me in because of the fact that I lived in the Soviet Union. I'm just a patsy!"

    He was accusing the cops of railroading him because he was a former defector not that he was being framed by the real assassins.

  • AlmightyJB||

  • BakedPenguin||

    At least so far, no deaths. Let's hope that stays the case.

    Also, they obviously need more "gun-free zone signs". That would have stopped the guy.

  • ||

    What the fuck?

    Somewhere in the back of my mind is a nagging doubt. How is it that just as the guy who thinks we should brainwash people against guns, and puts thousands of guns in the hands of bloodthirsty gangs so they will commit murders and sway people towards gun control gets to be AG do we have so many incidents like this?

    I know, I know it is crazy, but it just fits his agenda too well.

  • Enough About Palin||

    The comments were terrible, but I did like this one:

    "Diane Feinstein is getting wet between his legs again."

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I did it.

    You're welcome.

  • Sevo||

    I am Spartacus!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    "I think he's an amoral psychopath," says Roger Stone of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. "I think he's crude, evil, vicious, vindictive, drunk."

    And Stone's bow-tie is clearly Brooks Brothers. This Stone is all right in my book. Why couldn't he be the Stone who made a JFK film?

  • JW||

    "I think he's an amoral psychopath," says Roger Stone of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. "I think he's crude, evil, vicious, vindictive, drunk."

    The Nixon tattoo on his back would like to have a word with Roger.

  • BakedPenguin||

    He can't be all bad if Donald Trump doesn't like him.

  • JW||

    "A man is known by the quality of his enemies" or something like that.

  • Winston||

    So what does that say about Hitler and Stalin?

  • NoVAHockey||

    OT: pasting from the HHS announcement

    HHS released an enrollment report for the first reporting period (Oct. 1-Nov. 2, 2013) of the Health Insurance Marketplace’s Open Enrollment. As of November 2, 106,185 individuals have selected plans from the Marketplace, and another 975,407 have made it through the process by applying and receiving an eligibility determination, but have not yet selected a plan. An additional 396,261 have been determined or assessed eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

  • ||

    but how many actually bought a plan? 3? 4?

  • NoVAHockey||

    http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/rep.....llment.pdf

    i'm looking through it. the AP is reporting less than 27,000

  • ||

    HehHehHeh. Yeah. 3 or 4.

  • Enough About Palin||

    WHAT'S WITH ALL OF THIS BABY_BOOMER OBSESSION WITH JFK?

  • JW||

    Hey man, we all lost our innocence on that day! We were all just happy children, one with nature and the world and then BLAM!

  • ||

    All seeing, all knowing central planners create paradise. By paradise I mean colossal fuck-up. By fuck-up I mean a train wreck that never ends.

    Woman on TV now saying her premiums are doubling. Called ins company to find out why. Obamacare mandates policy covers dental and optical for all children under 12. She has no such children. Asks company to give her names of parents of such children so she can call them and have them contribute to her children's college education which is now in jeopardy.

    Maybe she should call President 'Jugears' Lyingshitweasel instead.

    Where is Tony and Shreeeek to defend all this? Wow, it is really turning out to be a complete disaster, and getting worse all the time.

    It is like watching Obama trip and then take an hour to finish falling down. I love it.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Shriek and Tony w/o spaces are sitting on their hindquarters, tails beating in anticipation for the talking points/treats sure to come.

    After all, somebody rang a bell.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    FUCK TAXES!

    I just got my property tax bill. It went up $2000 from last year. Apparently, they considered my home "under construction" last year, so I wasn't charged the full bill. But that's not the nut punch.

    The bill has a breakout and of the $3600/year I pay, $2200 goes for services I never use and $2000 of that goes to education.

    I have no kids.

    I have no chilrenz, yet I must pay for teh edumakashion of everyone elses. On top of that sharp strike to the testicals. People who don't own property, don't pay a dime? What kind of system is this? I don't mind paying for shit everybody uses. Roadz... I don't even mind paying for shit I might need. Fire, emergency medical, mental health services...

    But there is no way in fuck I'm ever going to have a kid in a public school.

    FUCK EVERY MOOCHING COCKSUCKER ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET!

  • ||

    People who dont own property pay property tax in the form of rent.

    Property tax is an evil scheme that essentially usurps away the right to private property.
    You cant get out of it entirely, but you can move to a place with lower taxes.

    May I ask, where do you live?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Belt, Montana.

  • ||

    Yikes. I would have thought you would have lower taxes.

    I pay around 2k/yr on 6 acres on the water with a 225k house and I live in one of the highest prop tax parishes in louisiana.

    I have 600 acres of timberland in another parish and I pay less than 2k/yr on that as well.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    What kind of timber? Anything good?

  • ||

    Google earthed it. Looks like a really cool place to live. I also live in a very rural place with very few people, very little in the way of sales tax. No industry, thus the high property tax.

  • ||

    Oh, cool in both senses. I bet the winters there are a bitch, but the hunting good.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Yeah, winter sucks, but June-Oct is awesome. Retired here to hunt and fish and the people are, by and large, very leave me alone types. It's paradise. I'm like a Hobbit in the Shire.

    If only I wasn't paying to educate somebody else's kids. ;-)

  • Restoras||

    I am currently a renter, and although I do not pay property taxes directly I am quite sure that I pay them indirectly.

  • wareagle||

    yes, you do and I would bet almost anything that your rent is much higher than the owner's mortgage payment.

  • Biden's Scroteplugs||

    he also gets the mortgage interest deduction indirectly.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Point taken.

  • DK||

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "I don't even mind paying for shit I might need....mental health services..."

    What are you suggesting?

  • Rhywun||

    People who don't own property, don't pay a dime?

    My $1800 monthly rent check says different. My landlord isn't paying property tax out of his own pocket.

  • wareagle||

    unless you choose to not own a house, this is the part that pisses me off.
    You can pay that much in rent but most banks are going to drag your dick through the dirt in finding ways to prevent you from owning a place for a much lower monthly mortgage payment.

  • Rhywun||

    I can't afford to own in NYC, and I don't want to move anywhere else right now, so yeah I choose to rent.

  • Rhywun||

    I have no kids.

    Me neither, and I sure resent having to pay for everyone else's. I do feed at the public trough for other services, though - such as public transit. The only solution to all this is to privatize everything - and that ain't happening.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    But it should happen. Transit was almost ubiquitously provided by private companies, profitably, at one time. I dream of a time when people take care of the street in front of their house, as they do with lawns. Some people will do a lousy job. So just get bigger tires.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Fuck asset taxes. Owning the asset does not mean being able to afford a tax on it. The worst kind of taxation, and fuck the "proprietists" or whatever they call themselves.

  • OneOut||

    If you own rental property do you swallow the cost of property insurance on your rental property or do you figure it into your cost of ownership ?

    Actually renters pay the property taxes of your property .

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Actually renters pay the property taxes of your property.

    Again, point taken.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    I'm with you Francisco.

    You and me and all folks like us are there to be raped by the parasites.

  • Steve G||

    Kennedy's dead?!? I was just starting to like her... :(

  • BakedPenguin||

    She hasn't been around in a while.

    Conspiracy?

  • ||

    President pro tempore of the United States Senate; Sen. Carl Hayden, Arizona.

  • Jquip||

    No finer irony than a progressive claiming that you shouldn't believe government.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What kind of system is this?

    They'll just get the money from evul copper mining capitalists and Walmart. Heaven forbid Montana should have one of those OMG REGRESSIVE! sales taxes.

    People in this state are fucked up.

    And, yes, prop tax is passed through to renters and their brats.

  • Aresen||

    In case you didn't think you were screwed:

    •The Vice President Joseph Biden
    •Speaker of the House John Boehner
    •President pro tempore of the Senate1 Patrick Leahy
    •Secretary of State John Kerry
    •Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew
    •Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
    •Attorney General Eric Holder
    •Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel
    •Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
    •Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker
    •Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
    •Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius
    •Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan
    •Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx
    •Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz
    •Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
    •Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki
    •Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers (acting)

  • Biden's Scroteplugs||

    it's turdles all the way down

  • OneOut||

    Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers (acting)

    They are all just acting.

  • sasob||

    I can't help but notice that Stone never did mention what LBJ's supposed motive was. Nick didn't ask him either.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I also have no offspring, yet my prop tax is heavily weighted toward "education". You know, stuff like paying a cop to sit around and stare at teenage asses all day. That is, when he's not skulking around the parking lot trying to ensure every child graduates with a police record (idiotic bullshit such as Minor in Possession of), because that will definitely enhance their opportunities in later life.

    Those fuckers obviously have more money than they know what to do with.

  • JW||

    WHO KILLED THE KENNEDYS!?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I am going to go shoot some of my guns now, while the weather is halfway decent.

    Aloha, BLAMBLAMBLAM!

  • Almanian!||

    Whoa, Black Betty!
    BLAMBLAMBLAM
    Whoa,Black Betty!
    BLMABLAMBLAM
    Black Betty had a child
    BLAMBLAMBLAM
    the damned thing gone wild
    BLAMBLAMBLAM
    the damned thing gone blind
    BLAMBLAMBLAM

    /Ram Jam

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    LBJ practically killed everyone. LBJ's policies have killed almost as many people domestically as FDR's policies. Fuck Tony.

  • Almanian!||

    You know who else is dead?

    LOU REED! LOU REED IS DEAD! JESUS FUCKING CHRIST HOW CAN ANYONE WRITE ABOUT A KENNEDY WHEN LOU REED IS DEAD!??

    LOU! REED! IS! DEAD!! FUCK!!!!

  • Johnimo||

    So, this wacko is now trying to tell me that the "curtain rods" that Oswald carried (wrapped in brown paper) into the School Book Depository really WERE curtain rods. And how 'bout office Tippet .... killed by LBJ also? Why on earth would Reason give this nut job fifteen seconds worth of coverage?

  • Raven Nation||

    Agree. I am so sick of this Kennedy conspiracy crap. It's the conspiracy for people who don't believe in conspiracies. Last time I looked at the numbers it was 70%+ who believed in a conspiracy. Which means a LOT of people who deride others as being conspiracy nuts are conspiracy nuts themselves.

  • Robert||

    I thought it was evidence of Oswald's sense of humor: "rod", get it?

    But I do think LBJ saw who actually blew Kennedy's brains out: Secret Service agent George Hickey, whose gun accidentally went off as he prepared to return fire toward the Book Depository, where Oswald was gunning for Connally, the man who'd blown him off while sec'y of the Navy.

  • Brandybuck||

    This is why we can't have nice things.

    Everytime a "libertarian moment" comes around, some nutbag conspiracist starts blathering about the Kennedy assassination, or 9/11 Troof, or lizards under the Denver airport, or GMO black helicopters, or fake moon landings. And then people quietly back away from the movement until they're out of earshot, and then turn and run.

    Why the hell does anyone care what some guy with a Nixon tattoo thinks anyway?

  • Joe Clark||

    Oh BS that LBJ killed JFK. Just BS.

  • R. Franklin Carter||

    "I think he's an amoral psychopath," says Roger Stone . . . "I think he's crude, evil, vicious, vindictive, drunk."

    I had to re-read that line twice. Initially I thought Mr. Stone was talking about Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto.

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