Speaking as the 100th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s birth approached last summer, biographer Robert Caro spoke of how Johnson’s presidency managed to be both triumphant and disastrous at the same time. “You listen to the [people] who were concerned with what Lyndon Johnson did on the domestic side, and you say, ‘There never was a surer touch. There never was more of an understanding of what exactly needed to be done to get this legislation passed,’” Caro told an interviewer. “Then you turn to Vietnam, reading the minutes of the meetings, talking to people. You have a sense of a man who didn’t know what to do.
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