Wednesday, February 05, 2014


Am rounding the corner on the second volume of Robert Caro's bio of LBJ, wherein our hero -- with the help of his Texas patrons -- debases himself before ultra-reactionary funders and then outright steals the 1948 Senate election from Mr. Texas, celebrated governor Coke Stephenson.  It really is quite foul, how it happened, and right now all I want to do is get through the book so I can have some time away from LBJ and his cronies to digest.

And this is, in the end, Caro's message, at least what I take thus far.  Both Robert Moses and LBJ were -- each in his own way -- crooked scumbags.  Moses, at least, began as an idealist of sorts who became corrupted by the power and money to which he became privy.  LBJ was from a very young age quite slimy, a troubled child with deep deep insecurity about some basic guy stuff, like physical strength and comfort in his body.  What they shared was energy, an understanding of the craft of politics and where the levers of power were, and a relentless focus on getting things done.  In the end, what each of them got done was a very mixed bag.  In the case of Moses, mostly negative, in the case of LBJ, more positive on balance, though there was that little thing about Vietnam.

I will keep reading for sure, but I'm about ready for a little break.

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