Lyndon B. Johnson: The Exercise of Power

By Rowland Evans; Robert Novak | Go to book overview

Chapter I THE PRESIDENT

To make the most of power for himself, a President must know what it is made of.

-- Richard E. Neustadt in Presidential Power

Unique among American statesmen and political leaders, Lyndon Baines Johnson has been near or at the center of power in Washington for all the great political events of our epoch. He arrived in the Capital in 1931, more than a year before Franklin D. Roosevelt, as a twenty-three-year-old secretary to a right-wing millionaire Congressman from Texas. Increasingly, as the years went by and his power grew, he placed his own distinctive touch on each of those events. Among the truly powerful legislative leaders in our history, he is the only one since James Madison who has become the Chief Executive. He succeeded where Henry Clay, Thomas Brackett Reed, and Robert A. Taft failed.

No man in American history became President with a greater relish for power or with more experience in its exercise than did Johnson. Nor did any President assume the office with a prospect so spectacular in its opportunities and so difficult by the very nature of his assumption.

"Men . . . love their martyrs," Dostoevsky wrote, "and honor those whom they have slain." On November 22, 1963, Johnson became President, but it was the martyred John F. Kennedy and the Kennedy legend that men loved. Kennedy left Johnson a plan in domestic affairs that was only partially completed, and this plan, energized by a national longing to atone for Kennedy's assassination, gave Johnson his matchless opportunity. With the same grasp of political genius that marked his earlier years as the Senate's Majority Leader, Johnson completed Kennedy's plan. Then, in unprecedented partnership with Congress, he carried it far forward with a plan of his own, the Great

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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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