Lyndon Johnson was both man and myth.... As myth, he "mastered" Congress, bending it to his will. Yet the man passed bills as president and majority leader by trading political plums for key Congressional votes. Though critics carped at his refusal to return U.S. troops from Vietnam, they praised him for signing into law civil and voting rights acts, education and public housing aid, Medicare, and Medicaid. But the Vietnam War drained money from America's budget that could've been used to sustain LBJ's beloved Great Society programs. Unfortunately, he angrily rejected Robert McNamara's belated advice to "Vietnamize" the conflict because he didn't want to become the first U.S. president to "lose" a war. Yet this seemingly macho Texan was more complex than anyone not knowing him could imagine. He could be bitter, envious, paranoid, proud, angry, happy, mocking, serious, longing ... often one emotion after another. For better or worse, Lyndon Johnson dominated Washington D.C. as few presidents have. He was a Goliath in a city of David-sized politicians. But like David's slingshotted stone, Johnson was toppled from his throne by an unforeseen weapon: unrelenting criticism of his prosecution of (what originally was) a limited, but seemingly endless, war overseas....
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by J.J. Parker
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by on October 21, 2016
- Xlibris, May 2007
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