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

By Robert Dallek | Go to book overview

15
The Liberal Nationalist

"AT the start of 1957 Lyndon believed that his presidential prospects for 1960 depended on steering a middle course between liberals and conservatives without alienating either of them. Like FDR in 1932, he would have to be "a chameleon on plaid." "Yesterday was my first day back in the office after arriving in Washington and they have begun to hit at me from all sides," Lyndon wrote George Brown on January 3. He had been anticipating renewed tensions with liberals, but he now found himself under the gun from conservatives who could deny him the Majority Leadership. If only one of the forty-nine Democrats defected, Vice President Nixon would have given Republicans control of the upper house. "The Republicans planned to organize the Senate any time they had forty-eight Senators present who would vote for Republican organization," William Knowland told Johnson. 15

Hopes of turning the Democrats' two-seat advantage into a tie partly rested with freshman Senator Frank Lausche of Ohio, a conservative five-term Democratic governor, whom Eisenhower had considered making his running mate in 1956. Lausche had encouraged rumors that he would vote with the Republicans to organize the Senate. When he failed to show up at the Democratic caucus on January 3, it added to fears that he might bolt the party. "I don't know if I'll be the majority or minority leader," Lyndon told his colleagues. Lyndon knew, however, that Lausche would have no clout in either party if he joined the Republicans, and so Lyndon ignored him. Although Lausche lent some drama to the vote on Senate organization by passing on the first roll call, he cast his ballot with the Democrats on the second. 2

Allan Shivers represented another conservative threat to Lyndon's

-509-

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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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