Congress then and now….Lyndon Johnson and the Battle for the Great Socieity

January 20th, 2015
SOTU_LBJ.jpgAmerican political history is a complex and dynamic process.  In that process, there have been periods of entropy and period of great progress and imagination.  Both have been a function of a political system designed by our founders. 

But also, the temper and tenor of the times and the degree to which individual leaders have known how to work those levers of power has also shaped our political destiny.

The period of the Johnson Presidency, post 1964, is one of those period.  The Great Society, The Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, medicare and medicare, are all just a part of an agenda that reshaped America

Today as we face congressional gridlock, as we mark the 50th anniversary of the apogee of the civil right movement, and as the president goes before Congress tonight. As we reassess our politics and institutions, its well worth the time to look at that unique and politically bountiful period of the Johnson Presidency.

That is what historian Julian Zelizer does in his new book The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society.

My conversation with Julian Zelizer: