THE PRESIDENCY by HUGH SIDEY: Huck Finn and the Nitpickers

The Presidency

It may have been Jimmy Carter's best-yet State of the Union ceremony. More people. More applause. Critical issues. Good speech. But something was missing. Oldtimers remember those nights awash with affection for and trust in Eisenhower, supercharged with Kennedy's joy and youth, permeated with the sense of power from Johnson and Nixon. Then the galleries were electric. Members stood their floor roared, stamped, pounded and laughed. They stood on their seats and waved like kids, infused with vigor and confidence.

Last week, when one looked down at the faces of Congress, the...

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