Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908-1960

By Robert Dallek | Go to book overview

12
For Country, Party, and Self

LYNDON'S election as majority Whip in January 1951 encouraged a belief among Washington insiders that he was a rising star in the Senate and Democratic party. In the first five months of the year, articles in Collier's and The Saturday Evening Post, two mass-circulation magazines, described him as a political phenomenon, a standout in the "star-packed Freshman Class of 1948." A fellow senator called him "the most effective freshman he has seen in . . . eighteen years." One high ranking Administration official dubbed him a "man of destiny," while the magazines described him as "just about the hottest young senator in the Capitol," a lifetime senator, if he wanted to be, and a leading vicepresidential candidate in 1952 or 1956. Since Johnson had entered the Senate, the Post pointed out, "twe lve young Texans have been hopefully named Lyndon. . . . Today, like twelve smiling young apostles, their photographs hang from the senator's office wall, silent testimony to the fact that his influence already has passed into another generation."

Johnson relished the notoriety. Journalist and later Johnson biographer Alfred Steinberg remembers an interview with him in the spring of 1951 when Johnson tried to persuade him to write an article not on congressional leaders but "a whole big article on just me alone." In the lavishly furnished President's Room off the Senate floor, where Presidents since Lincoln had come when visiting the Senate, Johnson"sat with his knees pressed against mine, a hand clutching my lapel, and his nose only inches away from my nose. When he leaned forward, I leaned back at an uncomfortable angle. 'What would the pitch of an article on you be?'" Steinberg asked. "'That you might be a Vice-Presidential candidate for 1952?' . . . 'Vice President hell!' he whispered. 'Who wants

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Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908-1960
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents xiii
  • Introduction LBJ in History 3
  • Part One - The Making of a Politician 1908-1937 11
  • 1 - The Heritage 13
  • 2 - Childhood 31
  • 3 - Student and Teacher 62
  • 4 - Kleberg's Secretary 93
  • 5 - The Making of a Congressman 125
  • Part Two - The Congressman 1937-1948 157
  • 6 - The New Dealer 159
  • 7 - National Politics 185
  • 8 - Politics, Patriotism, and Personal Gain 225
  • 9 - The Liberal as Conservative 268
  • 10 - Texas Elects a Senator 298
  • Part Three - The Senator 1949-1954 349
  • 11 - The Best Possible Senator for . . . Texas 351
  • 12 - For Country, Party, and Self 392
  • 13 - Bipartisan Politics 426
  • Part Four - The Majority Leader 1955-1960 465
  • 14 - The Making of a Majority Leader 467
  • 15 - The Liberal Nationalist 509
  • 16 - The Making of a Vice President 544
  • Sources 593
  • Abbreviations in the Notes 611
  • Notes 613
  • Index 701
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