LBJ And Obama

LBJ And Obama
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Barack Obama has an elegance of speech which takes us back to FDR and JFK. But unlike LBJ, who was rather repugnant to Eastern Seaboard eyes and ears, he doesn't know how to move in the distinctly American legislative arena. He is too froid, too obsessed with being able to control his own environment. This is not to say that Obama's presidency has been a failure; far from it.

The actor Brian Cranston, though lacking LBJ's lumbering physique, has been able, amazingly, to reincarnate our Texas President on the stage and now in the TV movie, "All the Way". Cranston depicts the outrageous but ultimately effective jawboning and massaging style of LBJ as he maneuvered the Civil Rights Act of 1964 out onto the floor and on to passage. In so doing, as LBJ himself admitted, he lost the South to the Democratic Party. What the Act did, however, was considerable: it outlawed segregation in public places as well as discrimination in the workplace.

Those of us who were put off by LBJ's lack of elegance can today only salute him for getting the tough things done.

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