Means of Ascent (The Years of Lyndon Johnson #2)

A handshake, as delivered by Lyndon Johnson, could be as effective as a hug.

A laconic Texas lawmaker declined to use his considerable influence to intervene in a loud dispute between his colleagues. When asked why not, he said, "They're not voting. If they're not voting, they're not passing any laws. If they're not passing any laws, they're not hurting anybody.

dignity was a luxury in a fight with Lyndon Johnson, a luxury too expensive to afford.

From the earliest beginnings of Lyndon Johnson’s political life—from his days at college when he had captured control of campus politics—his tactics had consistently revealed a pragmatism and a cynicism that had no discernible limits.

He (LBJ) played on their fears as he played on their hopes.

if one characteristic of Lyndon Johnson was a boundless ambition, another was a willingness, on behalf of that ambition, to make efforts that were also without bounds.

I never conceived of my biographies as merely telling the lives of famous men but rather as a means of illuminating their times and the great forces that shaped their times—particularly political power, since in a democracy political power has so great a role in shaping the lives of the citizens of that democracy.

Lyndon Johnson knew how to make the most of such enthusiasm and how to play on it and intensify it. He wanted his audience to become involved. He wanted their hands up in the air. And having been a schoolteacher he knew how to get their hands up. He began, in his speeches, to ask questions.

Speaking out as he had never before done in Congress, Lyndon Johnson in 1947 opposed most of Truman’s “Fair Deal.

Until the end of his life, whenever the subject of the vast growth of the LBJ Company and associated business enterprises was raised, Lyndon Johnson would emphasize that he owned none of it (“All that is owned by Mrs. Johnson.… I don’t have any interest in government-regulated industries of any kind and never have had”).

(Until the end of their lives, these men and women would tell stories about the summer they followed Lyndon Johnson and his Flying Windmill around Texas; as Oliver Knight of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram would write about one trip, “That mad dash from Navasota to Conroe in which I dodged stumps at 70 MPH just to keep up with that contraption will ever be green in my memory.”) At the landing site, there would be the brief respite