The Presidency: Cautious, Candid & Conciliatory

Restrained in tone, candid in content, almost Trumanesque in verbiage, Lyndon Johnson's fourth State of the Union address was a marked departure from the sagebrush grandiloquence that has infused most of his major pronouncements as President.

Only once last week, in an impromptu departure from his 13-page single-spaced text, did Johnson mention the Great Society. He invoked God just once and evoked youthful memories of poverty and the Pedernales not at all. What he did present to the 90th Congress—and a prime-hour TV audience estimated at 65 million—was a pragmatic, sometimes prosaic outline of legislative aims tempered both to...

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