Lyndon B. Johnson: The Exercise of Power

By Rowland Evans; Robert Novak | Go to book overview

Chapter XVII TAMING THE CONGRESS

We have in 1964 a unique opportunity and obligation to prove the success of our system, to disprove those cynics and critics at home and abroad who question our purpose and our competence.

-- PresidentLyndon B. Johnson, State of the Union Message to Congress, January 8, 1964

It was a simple statement of fact when President Lyndon B. Johnson told Congress on November 27, 1963: "For thirty-two years, Capitol Hill has been my home."

During the critical days that followed, the new President treated Capitol Hill, so often inhospitable to Chief Executives, almost as if it were still his home. His decision to speak to the nation from the rostrum of the House, rather than from his desk in the White House, partly reflected his love of the place. The mood persisted. Although Presidents seldom care to travel those seventeen-odd blocks more than absolutely necessary, Johnson was back and forth between the White House and Capitol Hill in those early days as though his life depended on it. Without advance warning during his first week in office, he dropped in on the weekly luncheon meeting of the Texas congressional delegation that he used to attend unfailingly as Congressman, Senator, and Vice-President. The next day he paid a surprise call on Speaker John McCormack of Massachusetts and stayed to have a drink with House leaders in the room where so often he had sat as a member of the late Sam Rayburn's "board of education."

The traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue also moved in the other direction. Senators and Congressmen who seldom if ever had been in the White House except for formal ceremonies suddenly found themselves sitting down with the President and Mrs. Johnson at intimate, quickly arranged dinner parties. When Senator Hubert Humphrey telephoned

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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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