Herblock Looks at: 1967 | 1966 | 1965 | 1964 | 1963 | 1962 | 1961 | Communism

Herblock Looks at 1966: Fifty Years Ago in Editorial Cartoons, Part II

Man tangled in audio tape

During the second year of the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908–1973) Herblock drew cartoons that raised an alarm about developments in Vietnam and its impact on domestic programs, while also commenting prolifically on issues affecting U.S. citizens’ political participation, privacy, and safety. In the off-year election, the cartoonist believed that excitement generated for Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan left little room for more moderate Republican Party leaders. As President Johnson called for election funding reform, Herblock satirized the relationship between business and politics. And when Congress did not pass reasonable gun control legislation, Herblock blamed the National Rifle Association.

Herblock also expressed concern about the extent to which the Federal Bureau of Investigation spied on its American citizens, and made its questionable use of power a frequent topic of his cartoons throughout that eventful year. He later wrote, "Wiretapping and bugging have amounted to major weapons not so much against crime as against privacy."

Exhibition dates: September 17, 2016–March 11, 2017

SALVAGE OPERATION

Using the metaphor of a deep sea diver attempting to salvage the Republican Party after the 1964 presidential election losses, Herblock shows the schism between moderate and right-wing Republicans as they struggle for control of the agenda. Senator Jacob K. Javits (1904–1986), a moderate New York Republican decried Barry Goldwater (1909–1998), Richard Nixon (1913–1994), and Ronald Reagan (1911–2004) arguing that their political positions would lead to another loss in the upcoming 1968 presidential election. Pundits accurately predicted that Richard Nixon and other less liberal factions increasingly had Republican support.

Salvage Operation, 1966. Published in the Washington Post, July 10, 1966. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (001.11.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06586 © Herb Block Foundation

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“ANYBODY FIGURE OUT A WAY YET FOR A SOFT LANDING DOWN HERE?”

Herblock’s dove frantically flies over a chevaux de frise of weapons, representing Vietnam. In February 1966, the United States resumed bombing in North Vietnam in an effort to eliminate the Viet Cong. At the same time, the government in Hanoi, using its preferred term “Viet Minh,” declared it solely represented Vietnam. Despite the Johnson administration’s request, the United Nations Security Council refused to use its resources to pressure Hanoi because Vietnam was not yet a member country. With neither side willing to negotiate, peace appeared impossible.

“Anybody Figure Out a Way Yet for a Soft Landing Down Here?” 1966. Published in the Washington Post, February 6, 1966. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (002.11.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06482 © Herb Block Foundation

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“SHUCKS, IT WAS JUST ONE MORE LITTLE KILLING”

As Congress prepared to adjourn for the mid-year election, Senator Thomas Dodd’s gun control bill died without a vote. Placing the blame on the National Rifle Association (NRA), Herblock points out that more than 17,000 people had been shot annually in the United States. Senator Robert Kennedy, too, decried the NRA, stating “For too long we have dealt with these deadly weapons as if they were harmless toys.” Under the Senate rules, Dodd (1907–1971) had to reintroduce the legislation, which later passed as the Gun Control Act of 1968.

“Shucks, It Was Just One More Little Killing,” 1966. Published in the Washington Post, May 31, 1966. Graphite, ink brush, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (003.11.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06657 © Herb Block Foundation

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BACKLASH

Using a sword as a visual metaphor for the cost of the Vietnam War, Herblock depicted President Johnson inadvertently killing his Great Society hopes. When the president announced the proposed 1967 federal budget, which recommended a reduction in domestic spending by ten percent, Mayor John Lindsay (1921–2000) of New York accused Johnson of “shortchanging the cities of America.” Herblock vented that Johnson not only harmed the nation but, “the administration was spending its eloquence and energies, its persuasive powers and prestige, on the war.”

Backlash, 1966. Published in the Washington Post, December 8, 1966. Graphite, ink brush, and opaque white drawing with overlays, scraping out and paste-on over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (004.11.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-17202 © Herb Block Foundation

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“MIND YOU, WE’RE NOT TRYING TO INFLUENCE YOU—CARING FOR THE NEEDY IS THE AMERICAN WAY”

Herblock published this cartoon just as the Washington Post published a column decrying the means by which members of Congress “augment their public income by private and often secret gratuities” beyond accepting campaign contributions. In 1966, President Johnson proposed legislation to encourage small donations, but also “to insure that able men of modest means can undertake elective office unencumbered by the debts of loyalty to wealthy supporters.” Herblock wrote, “Under present campaign financing, big contributors generally pay much more than you can, and indirectly they have more to say about the choices of candidates nominated and elected.”

“Mind You, We’re Not Trying to Influence You—Caring for the Needy Is the American Way,” 1966. Published in the Washington Post, April 21, 1966. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (005.11.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06533 © Herb Block Foundation

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“SPEAK RIGHT UP—JUST PRETEND I’M NOT HERE”

In response to a judicial ruling that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had the right to bug telephone lines, Senator Edward Long (1908–1972), a Missouri Democrat, announced that he intended to propose legislation that would make wiretapping a crime. Herblock sided with the congressman, who had stated that it was “a violation of privacy—one of the inherent rights of American citizens.” The Johnson administration permitted wiretapping in cases of national security, which Herblock believed left too much latitude for government agencies to spy on citizens.

“Speak Right Up—Just Pretend I’m Not Here,” 1966. Published in the Washington Post, January 9, 1966. India ink, graphite, and opaque white drawing over graphite. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (006.11.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06463 © Herb Block Foundation

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JUSTICE HOLDING A TAPE RECORDER “SCALE”

As the United States Department of Justice became implicated in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) widespread electronic surveillance, Herblock depicted the figure of Justice holding a reel-to-reel tape recorder drawn to look like the scales of justice. By July 1966, as several judicial proceedings had revealed extensive—and questionably legal—wiretapping, journalists pointed fingers at both FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, and at Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who had served as attorney general when some of the activities had occurred. Kennedy denied his participation and said that the FBI shouldered full responsibility.

[Justice holding a tape recorder “scale”], 1966. Published in the Washington Post, July 6, 1966. Graphite, ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.11.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06583 © Herb Block Foundation

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“DEPARTMENTAL PRACTICE”

While in this cartoon Herblock identified J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, he also implicated former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and his successor, Nicholas Katzenbach (1922–2012), in flaunting the laws of the United States by permitting the use of illegal electronic surveillance in investigations. The FBI had been required, since 1940, to obtain permission from the Office of the Attorney General office to conduct wiretapping. Herblock wrote, “Wiretapping and bugging have amounted to major weapons not so much against crime as against privacy.”

“Departmental Practice,” 1966. Published in the Washington Post, July 15, 1966. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (008.11.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06590 © Herb Block Foundation

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THE TANGLED WEB

Showing the FBI entangled in reel-to-reel tapes and telephone cords, Herblock referred to Sir Walter Scott’s lines from the epic poem Marmion, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave / When first we practise to deceive!” In May 1966, the Department of Justice admitted that the FBI had violated the constitutional rights of Robert G. Baker (b. 1928) when he was secretary to the Senate majority. While taping Baker, the agency discovered lobbyist Fred B. Black, Jr.’s, (1913–1993) tax evasion. Black sued the government for invading his privacy.

The Tangled Web, 1966. Published in the Washington Post, November 18, 1966. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (009.11.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06677 © Herb Block Foundation

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“KEEP TALKING—NOW I GET TO LISTEN IN”

As Senator Robert F. Kennedy, former U.S. Attorney General, and FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover publicly argued over who bore the greater blame for unconstitutional use of wiretapping, they revealed the extent to which the government had been spying on its own citizens. By pitting them against a man representing the citizens of the United States, Herblock contended that Americans had a right to know what surveillance their government had authorized, announcing “And what goes on in government is the people’s business.”

“Keep Talking—Now I Get to Listen In,” 1966. Published in the Washington Post, December 13, 1966. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (010.11.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06694 © Herb Block Foundation

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Herblock Looks at 1966: Fifty Years Ago in Editorial Cartoons, Part I

Determined to improve the quality of the lives of all Americans through his “War on Poverty,” President Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908–1973) promoted legislation that secured medical care for the elderly, equal opportunity housing, and the right for African Americans to serve on federal juries. Through his cartoons, Herblock approved of Johnson’s Great Society programs. However, the cartoonist felt Johnson’s Vietnam policy lacked leadership, honesty, and clear purpose as the war escalated. Herblock also turned his attention to problems that had not improved despite the passage of legislation, such as air pollution.

A supporter of the failed civil rights bill introduced in 1966, Herblock deplored the tactics used by Republican Senator Everett Dirksen (1896–1969) of Illinois, who derailed the open housing legislation while Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., marched in the streets of Chicago demanding equal access for African Americans to purchase and rent property. Herblock also derided Dirksen’s attack on the Supreme Court and its decisions. He feared that the senator, in his single-minded approach toward undermining the “one man, one vote” ruling, threatened the stability of the U.S. Constitution.

Exhibition dates: March 26–September 10, 2016

MEDICARE IS IN

Americans clamored for medical care at a time when most insurance companies did not offer coverage to people over sixty-five. In this drawing, Herblock heralds the arrival of Medicare, President Johnson’s new program to provide medical coverage for the elderly. A year earlier, on July 30, 1965, Johnson had signed Medicare into law, as part of a social insurance package of which Social Security had already been a component. Nineteen million people signed up for the program by July 1, 1966, when the full coverage went into effect.

[Doctor sitting in office and man hanging “Medicare is in” sign at door], 1966. Published in the Washington Post, June 28, 1966. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (001.10.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06577 © Herb Block Foundation

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“REMEMBER—RETURN WITH MY SHIELD OR ON IT”

When President Johnson asked U.S. citizens to fully support his Vietnam policy during an election fundraising dinner, Herblock envisioned the Democratic Party’s congressional candidates responding as warriors defending an unpopular war. As early as May 1966, pundits correctly anticipated that the Vietnam War would play a role in Republican victories during the off-year election. Ultimately, the Republicans gained forty-seven seats in the House and three in the Senate, though not enough to topple the majority the Democratic Party held in both houses.

Remember—Return with My Shield or on It,” 1966. Published in the Washington Post, May 31, 1966. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (002.10.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06561 © Herb Block Foundation

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THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY

Appealing to Congress for additional support for his Vietnam War policies, President Johnson argued “aggression in any part of the world carries the seeds of destruction to our own freedom.” While Democrats applauded Johnson for pushing a legislative agenda that included Medicare and civil rights, they were less supportive of the war. Herblock wrote, “Perhaps even more important than the financial expenditures on Vietnam, the Administration was spending its eloquence and energies, its persuasive powers and prestige, on the war.”

The Agony and the Ecstasy, 1966. Published in the Washington Post, May 31, 1966. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (003.10.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06549 © Herb Block Foundation

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INCREASED ALTITUDE, VISIBILITY POOR

Reacting to the U.S. bombing of an oil storage facility in North Vietnam on June 28, 1966, which resulted in flames shooting 12,000 feet into the air, Herblock used a bomber over a smoke-filled sky as a visual metaphor for the escalation of the Vietnam War. In an effort to undermine the Vietcong, the United States altered its military policies in June 1966 and directed attacks on the cities of Hanoi and Haiphong, which it had previously avoided, to focus on destroying North Vietnam’s fuel storage sites.

Increased Altitude, Visibility Poor, 1966. Published in the Washington Post, June 30, 1966. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (004.10.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06579 © Herb Block Foundation

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“I THINK IT SAYS HERE THAT WE MAY STOP USING TEAR GAS IN VIETNAM”

Noting demands from the Council of the Federation of American Scientists that President Johnson cease using chemical weapons in Vietnam, Herblock compares the potential long-term damage there with the scourge of foul air in the United States. Despite the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1963, air pollution remained a national issue. It was responsible for 168 deaths in New York City over a three-day period in 1966.

I Think It Says Here That We May Stop Using Tear Gas in Vietnam,” 1966. Published in the Washington Post, September 23, 1966. Graphite, crayon, India ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (005.10.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06638 © Herb Block Foundation

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“ONCE MORE UNTO THE BENCH, DEAR FRIENDS—”

Referring to Shakespeare’s The Life of King Henry the Fifth, Herblock caricatured Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen as a rag-tag commander attacking the Supreme Court. On January 20, 1966, Dirksen announced that his new organization, the Committee for the Government of the People, sought a constitutional amendment to circumvent the Supreme Court’s “one man, one vote” (“one person, one vote”) ruling. In the interest of protecting newly enfranchised African American voters, as well as growing urban areas, the Supreme Court had ruled that states must apportion their legislatures based on population. Dirksen’s efforts failed.

Once More Unto the Bench, Dear Friends,” 1966. Published in the Washington Post, January 21, 1966. India ink, graphite, and opaque white drawing over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (006.10.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06472 © Herb Block Foundation

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“FIRST THE BALLOT BOX, AND NEXT THE JURY BOX. IT JUST AIN’T FAIR”

A bipartisan Senate committee introduced legislation to prevent discrimination against African Americans serving on juries during federal court trials. Despite the support of President Johnson, the bill died in the Senate in 1966, although renewed efforts led to its passage as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Herblock agreed with the administration’s dedication to promoting African American participation in the judicial process and its fight against racism.

First the Ballot Box, And Next the Jury Box. It Just Ain’t Fair,” 1966. Published in the Washington Post, February 13, 1966. Graphite, ink, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.10.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-19871© Herb Block Foundation

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“I’M A PIOUS MAN OF THE WHOLE CLOTH"

By depicting Senator Everett Dirksen as an ill-kempt and buffoonish tramp wielding an axe and accompanied by armed men, Herblock made it clear that in his opinion the introduction of a school prayer amendment was only a distraction from the senator’s real legislative agenda. Dirksen wanted to base states’ senatorial representation on the “federal plan,” which favored equal distribution across geographic areas and reduced the electoral pull of growing urban centers. Neither bill succeeded.

I’m a Pious Man of the Whole Cloth,” 1966. Published in the Washington Post, April 1, 1966. India ink, graphite, and opaque white drawing over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (008.10.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06521 © Herb Block Foundation

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“IT SEEMS TO BE DEAD”

Everett Dirksen argued that Lyndon Johnson’s open housing legislation, intended to increase opportunities for African Americans, violated private property rights. He declared the civil rights bill of 1966 dead, stating, “The Senate has to demonstrate it will not be intimidated by marches and demonstrations into passing lousy legislation for a very small minority of the people.” By depicting Senator Dirksen as a buffoon and a tramp, Herblock may have felt that the senator, who had supported earlier landmark civil rights legislation, had turned his back on the movement.

It Seems to Be Dead,” 1966. Published in the Washington Post, September 11, 1966. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (009.10.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06629 © Herb Block Foundation

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OPEN HOUSING

By portraying a senator using a torch to light a cigar, Herblock gives the legislative body culpability equal to that of “Black Power” leaders and white bigots in the demise of the civil rights bill of 1966. President Johnson, in reaction to Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, open housing marches in Chicago, wanted to protect the rights of all Americans to purchase and rent property, but he did not succeed until 1968. Unable to invoke cloture and prevent a filibuster, the Senate effectively closed the door on Johnson’s housing bill.

Open Housing, 1966. Published in the Washington Post, September 20, 1966. India ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (010.10.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06635 © Herb Block Foundation

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Herblock Looks at: 1967 | 1966 | 1965 | 1964 | 1963 | 1962 | 1961 | Communism