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View Diary: Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 7/18 (335 comments)

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  •  Okay (4+ / 0-)
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    ChadmanFL, sacman701, lordpet8, nimh

    This is sorta correct, but not entirely. JFK's assassination had little to do with why the CRA passed in early 1964. The people hostile to the bill stayed hostile. The main difference was that LBJ knew the legislative process extremely well, and was able to get House Judiciary Chair Howard Smith (a Virginia conservadem hostile to civil rights) to knuckle under with the threat of a discharge petition. And he'd cleared out all important legislation from the Senate, so that the Dixiecrats had nothing to delay to keep CRA from passing. It was, in retrospect, just common sense strategy, basic sort of understanding of how Congress works, but Kennedy's guys simply had no clue on how to get it through.

    I don't deny he got a little better as he went on. But he would never have been a great president. I mean, the guy spent about three hours a day on the job at best. And between the health issues and the "treatment" Dr. Feelgood was giving him, he should never have held the office at all. With modern-day scrutiny, would never have happened.

    •  I actually think it'd be nice (1+ / 0-)
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      to see another president with the kind of skill for getting his agenda through Congress that Johnson had.

      He gets a lot of shit, rightly so, for being a dick, but the man knew how to get the votes he needed.

      •  Such a president is currently serving. (2+ / 0-)
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        askew, Stephen Wolf

        Obama has more or less used his leverage with Congress to maximum effect.

        You don't fight the fights you can win. You fight the fights that need fighting. -President Andrew Sheppard (D-Wisconsin)

        by Gpack3 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 01:33:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
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          nimh, skibum59

          You think LBJ would've stood by and let Lieberman, Baucus, etc., give us the weak-ass ACA we eventually got?  Or a watered-down stimulus package?  

          Hell, he would've probably even worked out the whole fiscal cliff/debt ceiling thing in a way that ensured he wouldn't have to keep going rounds with Congress on it every year and a half or so.

          Seriously, read up on Johnson and "the treatment."  The man knew every member of Congress he needed for his agenda, inside and out.  Knew what made them tick, and exactly what he had to say to get them behind him, whether it was threatening their seat, or agreeing to throw his weight behind some project for their district.

          Those defections we had from Conserva-Dems on some of those issues I mentioned above?  They would've been less likely under a president like LBJ.  

          I for one was hoping, especially during the stimulus and ACA debates, that Obama would tell the Dem defectors that if they voted against those things, he would do everything in his power to make sure they got a credible primary challenger.

          •  lets not have a fight over this off-topic subject (2+ / 0-)
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            Stephen Wolf, Darth Jeff

            lets just disagree about it.

            ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

            by James Allen on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 02:57:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  That's a hell of a lot harder to do though (2+ / 0-)
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            Gpack3, nimh

            when your party caucus is much more ideologically driven and less driven by pork and regional issues. It's much harder to pressure someone like Ben Nelson and his band of merry bluedogs today than it was when such characters could easily be replaced. Even in the 2009 environment, primarying someone in a swing district over the stimulus wouldn't be guaranteed to elect a more liberal representative and our house majority was built on the conservadem caucus.

            I don't think any of that is Obama's problem aside from the fact that he just doesn't seem to have been ready for Republicans to filibuster everything from day one. LBJ just had conditions that made it much more easy to manipulate a damaged system while Republicans had the means and the desire to break it once and for all.

            That and it just suggests that what went on in public with Obama being "feckless" was the same that went on behind close doors. We have no idea how ruthless and vigorously he and people like Reid push for the priorities nor did the public know it at the time of LBJ to any appreciable extent.

          •  It seems that you and I disagree (0+ / 0-)

            on how much leverage Obama actually had.

            You don't fight the fights you can win. You fight the fights that need fighting. -President Andrew Sheppard (D-Wisconsin)

            by Gpack3 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 03:09:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I apologize for how confrontational it sounded. (3+ / 0-)
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              Stephen Wolf, lordpet8, nimh

              I just disagree with the idea that president Obama is some master strategist who is playing 11th dimensional chess.

              Granted, Stephen Wolf's point is a valid one, about the environment being different.

              But Obama also has another disadvantage that wouldn't allow him to do what Johnson did.  Simply put, if we combine his House and Senate tenures, Johnson was in Congress for 24 years.  He knew a lot of these people, and knew what made them tick.  And if he didn't know them personally, he knew how different TYPES of legislators and politicians tended to think.

              President Obama was a senator for 2 years before becoming president.  That's nowhere near long enough to learn those kinds of things.  

              So I guess to be more fair to him, I should just say he's more out of his element than Johnson.

        •  honestly it's hard to compare (1+ / 0-)
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          Both you(Gpack3) and  The Dude 415 make some fair points.

          The senate wasn't as far polarized back in the 1960's as it is now. You had plenty of liberal R's and conservative D's break ranks to make congress appear much more bipartisan.

          LBJ was just one of best of deal makers when it came to passing laws out of congress. The fact that he was able to gather enough support to pass the civil rights act of 1964 with strong opposition of his southern base is a true testament to his skill. And this was before the Democrats made their massive gains in congress for the 1964 election.

          Sure if we had LBJ here today trying coral votes for ACA I'd say he'd do a little better than Obama but it would pale in comparison to what he was able to do in the 1960's. Having LBJ here today would be like having a senate leader like Reid or McConnell become president. Sure they'd have a little better leverage in the senate but I think the partisan gridlock today would greatly limit their ability to pass legislation.

          "It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument" ~William Gibbs McAdoo(D-CA)

          by lordpet8 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 07:24:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely agreed (3+ / 0-)
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        jncca, ProudNewEnglander, lordpet8

        if it weren't for Vietnam, LBJ would be remembered like the second coming of FDR among liberals. Getting Medicare and the Great Society programs ushered through was a monumental improvement over the past and that was really only possible through the Goldwater landslide.

        Ah, Barry Goldwater was the original teabagger.

        •  Hell, depending on who you talk to, (1+ / 0-)
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          if it weren't for Vietnam diverting funding from some of the Great Society programs, the War on Poverty may have been significantly more successful than it was.

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