There is only one bitter, inescapable appreciation of American politics which the two men--Kennedy and Johnson--share: the knowledge that Lyndon Johnson was never able before 1964 to become President on his own the Kennedys opened power to him.
-- Theodore White in The Making of the President 1964
What came soon to be known in the Johnson White House as The Bobby Problem commanded more attention and consumed more energy and raw emotion than any other single concern of state that the new President confronted after Dallas. It was a matter of state, transcending the old and deepening conflict of personality between Lyndon B. Johnson and Robert F. Kennedy. In his heart Johnson regarded Bobby Kennedy as the one possible obstacle to his complete take-over of the Democratic party, and unless he could assume control of the party in his own right and on his own terms, he could not feel secure in exercising the full powers of the presidency.
Johnson made no secret of his determination to cut down Bobby Kennedy. The forlornness that had always accompanied his efforts to compete with John F. Kennedy for the affection of the American people now transferred itself to Robert Kennedy.* Bobby stirred more controversy and engendered less affection than did his older brother, and ran well behind the new President in simplistic Gallup Poll competition. But Bobby was the symbol now of the emotion and sentimentality that swept the country after Dallas. He was custodian of the Kennedy dream, a dream now embedded in the Democratic party. Understandably, Johnson did not relish the prospect of becoming preserver of that dream. between the presidencies of John and Robert Kennedy. He was dreaming Johnson dreams, and those dreams____________________