Presidential historian Henry Graff wrote: “Lyndon Johnson’s ascent to the presidency came at the most traumatic moment in American political history”.
Johnson performed at a higher level than anyone could have imagined, as he took command of the presidency after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. That’s the conclusion shared by Robert Caro in his 600-page book “The Passage or Power”. This is the third of Caro’s “The Years of Lyndon Johnson” biographies. He promises at least one more.
L-B-J used his awesome skills and knowledge as a former Senate majority leader to push through Congress a conservative budget, a tax cut, and a civil rights bill within weeks of the assassination. The story of how he did it is fascinating.
Caro shows us Johnson with all his shortcomings … plus the moments when he rose to statesmanship. I was struck by just how much Johnson and Robert Kennedy hated each other.
Caro’s writing style is challenging … too many phrases and commas per sentence. But his story-telling is terrific.
Our thought for today is from Lyndon B. Johnson:
“If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking.