Entry in progress--B.P.
Wikipedia: Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973), often referred to as LBJ, was the thirty-sixth President of the United States, serving from 1963-1969. A Democrat, Johnson succeeded to the presidency following the assassination of President Kennedy, and after completing Kennedy’s term was elected President in his own right in a landslide victory in the 1964 Presidential election. Johnson was a major leader of the Democratic Party and as President was responsible for designing the “Great Society” legislation that included civil rights laws, Medicare (health care for the elderly), Medicaid (health care for the poor), aid to education, and the “War on Poverty.” Simultaneously, he escalated the American involvement in the Vietnam War from 16,000 American soldiers in 1963 to 550,000 in early 1968.
Johnson served as a United States Representative from Texas from 1937–1949 and as United States Senator from 1949–1960, including six years as United States Senate Majority Leader. After campaigning unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 1960, Johnson was selected by John F. Kennedy to be his running-mate for the 1960 presidential election. Johnson’s popularity as President steadily declined after the 1966 Congressional elections, and his reelection bid in the 1968 United States presidential election collapsed as a result of turmoil within the Democratic party related to opposition to the Vietnam War. He withdrew from the race to concentrate on peacemaking. Johnson was renowned for his domineering personality and the “Johnson treatment,” his arm-twisting of powerful politicians.
Johnson died after suffering his third heart attack, on January 22, 1973.
Johnson’s success in the Senate made him a possible Democratic presidential candidate. He was the “favorite son” candidate of the Texas delegation at the Party’s national convention in 1956. In 1960, after the failure of the “Stop Kennedy” coalition he had formed with Adlai Stevenson, Stuart Symington, and Hubert Humphrey, Johnson received 409 votes on the first and only ballot at the Democratic convention, which nominated John F. Kennedy.
Tip O’Neill, then a representative from Kennedy’s home state of Massachusetts, recalled that Johnson approached him at the convention and said, “Tip, I’d like to have you with me on the second ballot.” O’Neill, understanding the influence of the Kennedy name, replied, “Senator, there’s not going to be any second ballot.”
During the convention, Kennedy designated Johnson as his choice for Vice President. Some later reports (such as Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.’s) say that Kennedy offered the position to Johnson as a courtesy and did not expect him to accept. Others (such as W. Marvin Watson) say that the Kennedy campaign was desperate to win the 1960 election against Richard Nixon and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., and needed Johnson on the ticket to help carry Southern states.
According to other sources, Kennedy did not want Johnson to be his running-mate and Vice President, and did not even want to ask him. JKF’s reported choice was Symington. Johnson, however, decided to seek the Vice Presidency and with Speaker Rayburn’s help pressured Kennedy to give him a spot.
At the same time as his Vice Presidential run, Johnson also sought a third term in the U.S. Senate. According to Robert Caro, “On November 5, 1960, Lyndon Johnson won election for both the vice presidency of the United States, on the Kennedy-Johnson ticket, and for a third term as Senator (he had had Texas law changed to allow him to run for both offices). When he won the vice presidency, he made arrangements to resign from the Senate, as he was required to do under federal law, as soon as it convened on January 3, 1961.” (In 1988, Lloyd Bentsen, the Vice Presidential running mate of Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, and also a Senator from Texas, took advantage of “Lyndon’s law,” and was able to retain his seat in Senate despite Dukakis’ loss to George H. W. Bush. The same went for Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut in 2000 after Al Gore lost to George W. Bush.)
Johnson was reelected Senator with 1,306,605 votes (58 percent) to Republican John Tower’s 927,653 (41.1 percent). Fellow Democrat William A. Blakley was appointed to replace Johnson as Senator, but Blakley lost a special election in May 1961 to Tower.
Handbook of Texas Online
DEMOCRATIC PARTY. State laws dictate the formal organization of the Democratic party in Texas and provide for both temporary and permanent organs. The temporary party organs consist of a series of regularly scheduled (biennial) conventions beginning at the precinct level and limited to persons who voted in the party primary. The chief function of the precinct convention is to choose delegates to the county convention or the senatorial district convention held on the second Saturday after the first primary.
Factional infighting in the Democratic party declined during the 1960s. First Johnson’s presidential ambitions and then his presidency dominated Texas politics in that decade. In 1959 the state legislature authorized a measure moving the Democratic primary from July to May and permitting candidates to run simultaneously for two offices, thus allowing Johnson to run for the Senate and the presidency. (This measure, dubbed the LBJ law, also benefited Lloyd Bentsen’s dual run for the vice-presidency and the Senate in 1988.)
6 August 1960, Abilene (TX) Reporter-News, “More Action Due in LBJ Law Ruling,” pg. 1, col. 4:
AUSTIN (AP)—A Dallas student Friday lost a major skirmish in his fight against the so-called “Lyndon Johnson Law” but his attorneys said they plan to continue their battle in the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a two-sentence opinion Fed. Judge Ben H. Rice Jr. granted a Houston attorney’s motion to dismiss the case on grounds that the federal court has no jurisdiction in the matter.
Michael E. Schwille, 24, the North Texas State College senior who filed the suit challenging Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson’s right to run for two offices at once, refused to comment on the decision.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Monday, August 18, 2008 • Permalink