The Presidency: Somber & Spare

President Johnson is as ebullient in manner as he is expansive in vision. It was no doubt a difficult exercise for him to stand before Congress and deliver a report card on the nation's past performance and future prospects that was somber in tone and spare in content.

Accurately gauging the nation's mood, Johnson offered no drastic departures in philosophy, no major policy shifts, in his fifth State of the Union speech. Confronted by a Congress that is more in the mood for retrenchment than revolution, he concluded that the most prudent possible strategy would be to avoid asking for...

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