Had Lyndon Johnson thumbed through his Father's Day gift from Daughter Lynda Bird last week—F.D.R.'s old copy of Aesop's Fables—he might have come upon the tale about the dying lion. As the King of Beasts declined in strength, the story goes, the lesser animals trooped up to his cave, no longer subservient. The boar attacked him with his tusks; the bull gored him; even the ass, feeling quite safe, kicked up his heels and brayed. "Ah," sighed the failing King, "thus dies majesty." In the waning months of the Johnson Administration, TIME White House...

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