I doubt that if there is a member of the Senate, on either side of the aisle, who does not look upon Lyndon Johnson as a friend.
-- SenatorEarle Clements of Kentucky, 1955
Knowledge of the rules isn't too important. What's important is getting the votes.
-- Charles Watkins, Parliamentarian of the Senate, 1955
On the steamy Washington summer morning of Saturday, July 2, 1955, Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson sent word to the Senate press gallery that he would see the press immediately in his new "second" office on the top floor of the Capitol. Commandeered from the Senate-House Economic Committee, beaded by Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois, who was now suffering for his feud with his party's leader, this two-room suite had become the Majority Leader's office. In the outer office were secretaries and filing cabinets, but the inner office was where the real business was conducted in an atmosphere of leather chairs and couches, tinkling chandeliers and readily accessible liquor cabinets. It was a corner office, and the view was magnificent, looking south to well-tended public lawns and fountains and looking west down the Mall to the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial.
The reporters braced themselves for what was coming: a hymn of praise to the accomplishments of the first session of the 84th Congress, now drawing to a close after six months.
These sessions of self-congratulation with reporters had become commonplace. The McCarthy censure vote the previous December had been only the prelude to the emergence of Lyndon Johnson as master magician of the Senate when, in January, 1955, he became