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Re: “Nice People Gain Power, (Which Makes Them Less Nice)

"Think of the ruthless protagonist in the film There Will Be Blood, or consider biographer Robert Caro's subjects: Robert Moses, New York's vicious master builder; and Lyndon Johnson, who used every advantage to climb from a Texas farmhouse to the White House."

Lyndon Johnson was not perfect. However, I read the above quote in last week's issue and must say I took a tiny bit of offense to the statement. And yes, I'm from Texas. Austin, Texas to be exact. Sometimes we Texans are strange in that we take our history a bit too seriously. My apologies. Oh, and for the record . . . George W. Bush is not from Texas.

LBJ, "farmhouse" boy that he may have been (what a provincial generalization to make), is often written about in history books with a mixed reverence and awe as to to his ability to navigate the complex (and often pervasively corrupt and preferential) channels of the Washington political milieu. What's more, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would not have passed had it not been for that "advantage" seeking ferocity of LBJ's. By acknowledging his inability to shove an important piece of legislation down very unwilling throats, he was indeed able to use the memory of a slain president to his advantage. I'll grant you that this is not the most respectable way to pass important laws and did in fact show a bit of what was to come (Gulf of Tonkin, much?), but more often than not I'd be willing to bet such methods pale in comparison to what is nowadays more common in the halls of our nation's capitol today.

LBJ was not perfect, but he was not a monster.

Posted by Tiffany Conner on 02/25/2008 at 12:15 AM

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