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April 16, 2012


Lessons from LBJ

David Frum suggests President Obama could learn a few things from Robert Caro's books on Lyndon Johnson.

"It's hard not to detect in these pages an unspoken critique of Barack Obama. Yes, certainly, Obama shares Lyndon Johnson's gift for driving opponents crazy, if it is a gift. But the use of power Caro so vividly describes is not something that comes naturally to our current president. The constant searching for opportunities; the shameless love-bombing of opponents; the endless wooing of supporters; the deft deployment of inducements and threats -- these are the low arts that led to Johnson's high success. You can see why a high-minded leader like Barack Obama would recoil from the Johnson style and embrace Kennedyesque rhetorical grandeur instead. Such presidents contribute great phrases to quotation books, but they tend not to add lasting laws to the statute books -- or enduring change to the history books."












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