The Presidency: New Realism

THE PRESIDENCY

The news from Viet Nam gave more reason for optimism than pessimism. As one Administration leader after another reported in recent weeks, the U.S. was gaining steadily on the battlefront. The Harris poll showed that the stepped-up bombing raids on Hanoi and Haiphong were endorsed by 5 out of every 6 Americans. And ratings of the President's own popularity, after hitting a nadir of 46% in May, had curved robustly upward (to 55% ). So why was Lyndon Johnson so out of sorts?

The reason was simply that the euphoria, in his view, was getting out of hand. And mindful...