The Presidency: A Captive of Consensus

THE PRESIDENCY

No 20th century U.S. President, with the possible exception of Franklin D. Roosevelt, has performed with greater political efficacy than Lyndon Johnson. Yet popular approval of the President is at the lowest ebb since Harry Truman's nadir in 1951. Few Chief Execu tives have striven more wholeheartedly to win a national consensus; yet John son is being lambasted from all quarters for all kinds of reasons. Few Presidents, moreover, have been more sensitive to criticism than L.B.J., and few have responded with so little grace.

Ambition, it seems, is both the Texan's strongest trait and his greatest liability, for...