September 3, 2012
Ryan Grim and Sam Stein over at Huffington Post are very disappointed in Barack Obama for trying to play politics. They compare the current political situation with Lyndon Johnson’s passing of a major tax cut in addition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. They credit Johnson’s bypassing of congress and taking his case to the People.
Johnson surveyed the legislative landscape and knew he had to shake things up.
Rather than negotiate with Congress, Johnson turned the goodwill of the nation into a force with which to bludgeon the GOP and expand what was politically possible. He took his case to the American people, reminding them that the GOP was the “Party of Lincoln,” and flooded Washington with religious leaders who lobbied Congress.
In fact, they state that “Had Johnson stuck to inside baseball, he would have struck out twice.”
I think they need to read LBJ’s biography. Johnson was the consummate insider who had spent over two decades in congress. He knew, much more so than Obama, how to push a bill through the legislature (emphasis added).
Many believe that Johnson was able to pass the 1964 and 1965 Acts because of an exceptional set of circumstances. During his 24 years in Congress Johnson had gained unprecedented experience in getting legislation through Congress. He also had an unusual two- thirds of Congress in his favour and Congressmen felt particularly after Kennedy’s assassination that they should be righting national wrongs. Johnson was himself exceptionally persuasive and determined and had a lifelong commitment to helping the poor.