Yes, he was great

The Washington Post - - FREE FOR ALL - Hos­sein Il­dari, Hen­rico

Writ­ing about Sen. Tim Kaine’s (D-Va.) Sept. 23 Book World re­view of “Lead­er­ship in Tur­bu­lent Times” by Doris Kearns Good­win, “In times of cri­sis, four pres­i­dents be­came great lead­ers,” Scott Wal­lace im­plied in his Oct. 6 Free for All let­ter, “Viet­nam de­stroyed LBJ’s legacy,” that per­haps Good­win in­cluded Pres­i­dent Lyn­don B. John­son among Pres­i­dents Abra­ham Lin­coln, Teddy Roo­sevelt and Franklin D. Roo­sevelt be­cause she briefly worked in the John­son White House.

I believe Good­win jus­ti­fi­ably in­cluded John­son among those great lead­ers be­cause of John­son’s ac­com­plish­ments, in­clud­ing cre­at­ing the De­part­ment of Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment and the pas­sage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, leg­is­la­tion cre­at­ing Medi­care and Med­i­caid, the Fair Hous­ing Act, the Clean Air Act, leg­is­la­tion re­quir­ing truth in pack­ag­ing, the El­e­men­tary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion Act, the Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Act, the Gun Con­trol Act and other Great So­ci­ety leg­is­la­tion, too many to list here.

Per­haps a fairer de­scrip­tion of John­son’s pres­i­dency could be found in “The Pas­sage of Power: The Years of Lyn­don John­son” by the Pulitzer Prize-win­ning au­thor Robert A. Caro.


Lyn­don B. John­son

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