No man can hold such a concentration of authority without feeling the urge, even though the urge be honest and patriotic, to push it beyond its usual bounds.
-- Clinton Rossiter in The American Presidency
Shortly after noon on Saturday, March 20, 1965, seven men about to be named to high federal office by Lyndon B. Johnson gathered in the unpretentious dining room of the LBJ Ranch for luncheon with the President. For weeks they bad known of their nominations, but they were admonished by the White House not to let a word of it seep out. It was already well known in Washington that press speculation about an unannounced Johnson appointment might change the President's mind. After weeks of worry that a chance word by wife, secretary, or business associate might give birth to the fatal newspaper leak, the seven appointees were secretly flown to Texas on that sunny weekend in March so that the President, flanked by the lucky seven, could break the news to the nation on a televised press conference from the ranch.
Now, just before that press conference, facing the President over the luncheon table, they were about to hear a remarkably revealing description of Lyndon Johnson's consensus. Six were being named to new jobs. The seventh was a progressive Republican from Vermont named Charles B. Ross who was being given a second four-year term on the Federal Power Commission. This was no routine reappointment. The FPC term that President Kennedy gave Ross had expired nearly ten months earlier on June 21, 1964. Although Ross had continued to serve through all those months of uncertainty, his ambiguous status was a source of controversy that bad troubled Johnson even before the end of Ross' term. Almost from the first day of his presidency, Johnson had worried about Ross.