Sunday, January 6, 2013

* What is Missing from Obama's Arid Presidency

President Lyndon B. Johnson 
and AFL-CIO leader 
George Meany, 1963

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson
Robert A. Caro

Not only the civil rights organizations but civil rights’ staunch ally, organized labor, had to be mobilized behind the civil rights bill, and labor’s stud duck, who “liked visible signs of consultation . . .the pictures of the two of you,” was invited to The Elms [Johnson’s D.C. home] Tuesday morning for breakfast, and a ride downtown afterwards. No sign of consultation was necessary to line up the staunch old leader of the unions behind civil rights; Meany had been behind the cause for thirty years. But he hadn’t been behind Lyndon Johnson.  As Johnson’s limousine moved slowly out The Elms’ gates, the rear window was down, so that photographers could snap the picture of Meany in the back seat with the President. And at the White House, Johnson asked Meany if he’d like to come inside  --- and ushered him into the Cabinet Room to spend a few minutes at the legislative leaders’ breakfast.  When he emerged to be met by the waiting White House press corps, he said that the President would have labor’s “full support” in the battle for the civil rights bill. Johnson would have had that even without the breakfast and the Cabinet Room, but AFL-CIO lobbyist Andrew Biemiller would say, “This cemented Johnson with Meany.”

Kindle ( p. 12032 of 21188)

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