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

By Robert Dallek | Go to book overview

13
Bipartisan Politics

JOHNSON delighted in the national attention, party influence, and Senate power given him by the Minority Leadership. After only four years, he was on the Senate's center stage, though not yet in the lead role. That part had fallen to Robert Taft of Ohio, the Majority Leader. The son of a former President, a third-term senator, a man described as "Mr. Republican," Taft dwarfed Lyndon in national reputation and prestige. And Lyndon couldn't stand it. When Taft, as he often did, ignored Lyndon's existence, Johnson would lean across the center aisle, pretending he had forgotten his reading glasses, and ask Taft to read the fine print in a bill or committee report to him. When journalists Johnson courted gave Taft more newsprint, Johnson privately referred to them as "piss-ant reporters." He sarcastically told his friend Bill White, who in early 1953 understandably wrote more stories about Taft than Johnson: "This is Lyndon Johnson [calling], the Minority Leader of the Senate, you may remember. I would take it very kindly if I could have an appointment with the Senate correspondent of the New York Times. Now, of course, I don't want to put you out--I would be glad to meet you in Senator Taft's office."1

Becoming Minority Leader gave Lyndon a greater sense of selfimportance. But he did not seek the job simply for its prestige. He saw the post as carrying responsibilities he welcomed. As a key party figure and a Senate leader, he mapped a strategy that could restore Democratic control of Congress and serve the well-being of the country. Two days after the election, even before he had won the Leader's post, he had asked George Reedy to consider means of achieving these goals. Reedy wrote a memo, which Johnson showed "to everybody in sight," recommending that the Democrats "vote as a united party wherever possible" and cooperate with Eisenhower, who would likely be in greater agreement with Senate Democrats than Senate Republicans. The out-

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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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