Johnson's jaded generalities are designed to prepare the American public for the inevitable--the inability of this Democratic Congress to resist deficit spending.
-- Meade Alcorn, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, January 8, 1959
Early in the session, Messrs. Rayburn and Johnson snuggled into the strait jacket offered them by the administration. Instead of accepting the challenge to meet the country's needs, the leadership made divided government work by the simple expedient of surrendering to the President.
--Americans for Democratic Action, October 15, 1959
On a late summer afternoon in 1958, Speaker Sam Rayburn's "board of education" met in his offices, as it did almost every day after work to "strike a blow for freedom"--good political talk accompanied by good whiskey. Lyndon Johnson was present. So were the "board of education" regulars: a half dozen or so Congressmen, most of them from Texas, and one or two trusted newspaper reporters. The topic was the forthcoming congressional elections, and the opinion was unanimous that a major shift was due in the congressional balance of power for the first time since the end of World War II.
A landslide was obviously in prospect. The Republicans were blamed for the recession. President Eisenhower was at a low point of popularity. Sherman Adams' resignation under pressure, after receiving gifts from and intervening with federal agencies in behalf of Boston industrialist Bernard Goldfine, had tarnished the gleam of morality in Eisenhower's Great Crusade. And to make matters worse, business interests had selected just this inopportune time for a national