Lyndon B. Johnson: The Exercise of Power

By Rowland Evans; Robert Novak | Go to book overview

Chapter XV THE VICE- PRESIDENT

Th' prisidincy is th' highest office in th' gift iv th' people. Th' vice-prisidincy is th' next highest an' th' lowest. It isn't a crime exactly. Ye can't be sint to jail for it, but it's a kind iv disgrace. . . .

-- Finley Peter Dunne (Mr. Dooley)

. . . The chief embarrassment in discussing his [the Vice-President's] office is that in explaining bow little there is to be said about it, one has evidently said all there is to say.

-- Woodrow Wilson in Congressional Government

With an audacity that astonished both friends and some confidential advisers, the Vice-President-elect moved swiftly to stake out a power base even before the inauguration of John Kennedy. Having possessed for eight years one of the mightiest voices in the Democratic party, it was only natural that Lyndon Johnson would refuse to accept the historic fact that Vice-Presidents were made to be neither seen nor heard, only to wait. He did not agree with Thomas R. Marshall, Woodrow Wilson's undistinguished Vice-President, that the Vice-President "is like a man in a cataleptic state. He cannot speak. He cannot move. He suffers no pain. And yet he is conscious of all that goes on around him."

Yet for Johnson to seek new avenues to vice-presidential power was a contradiction in terms. His effort's total failure was a foregone conclusion.

Johnson's first target was the United States Senate, for so long his base of power. When the sixty-four Democratic Senators met on. January 3, 1961, for the regular party conference that always preceded the beginning of a new Congress, Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana

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Lyndon B. Johnson: The Exercise of Power
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Chapter I - The President 1
  • Chapter II - The Road to the Senate 5
  • Chapter III - Freshman Senator 26
  • Chapter IV - The Leader 50
  • Chapter V - Lbj's Balancing Act 71
  • Chapter VI - The Johnson System 88
  • Chapter VII - The Miracle of '57 119
  • Chapter VIII - The Legislator 141
  • Chapter IX - Lbj Vs. Ike 168
  • Chapter X - Too Many Democrats 195
  • Chapter XI - Love That Lyndon 225
  • Chapter XII - Comedy of Errors 243
  • Chapter XIII - Defeat-- and Emancipation 268
  • Chapter XIV - Campaigning for Kennedy 289
  • Chapter XV - The Vice- President 305
  • Chapter XVI - Let Us Continue 335
  • Chapter XVII - Taming the Congress 360
  • Chapter XVIII - Chief Diplomat 383
  • Chapter XIX - The Great Society 407
  • Chapter XX - Picking a Vice-President 435
  • Chapter XXI - In Search of a Record 464
  • Chapter XXII - Stockpiling Adversity 484
  • Chapter XXIII - The Dominican Intervention 510
  • Chapter XXIV - Vietnam 530
  • Chapter XXV - Adversity 557
  • Source Notes 575
  • Index 578
  • About the Authors 598
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