Editorial: Deficit of ambition

Prospect Magazine

Editorial: Deficit of ambition

by
/ / Leave a comment

Bronwen Maddox introduces the May issue of Prospect

There could be no better confirmation of the indignities of the office of vice president of the United States than those endured by Lyndon B Johnson. His tireless biographer, Robert Caro, in another instalment of his immense project, records his humiliations as John F Kennedy’s understudy: to be ignored in discussions of subjects on which he was expert; forced to lean forward to catch the president’s attention like “a schoolboy trying to win a teacher’s favour”; and to plead for a place at White House banquets (see Sam Tanenhaus, p44).

Yet after Kennedy’s assassination, Johnson, as president, forged the shape of modern America. His Great Society programmes were, as Caro puts it, “the legislative embodiment of the liberal spirit in all its nobility,” the last time a president tried with revolutionary ambition to extend “government’s hand to help people caught in the ‘tentacles of circumstance.’”

It is worth remembering that

You need to be logged in to see this part of the content. Please either subscribe or Login to access.

Leave a comment



Author

Bronwen Maddox

Bronwen Maddox
Bronwen Maddox is Prospect's editor 


Share this







Most Read






Prospect Buzz

  • Prospect's masterful crossword setter Didymus gets a shout-out in the Guardian
  • The Telegraph reports on Nigel Farage's article on Lords reform
  • Prospect writer Mark Kitto is profiled in the New York Times


Prospect Reads

  • Do China’s youth care about politics? asks Alec Ash
  • Joanna Biggs on Facebook and feminism
  • Boris Berezosky was a brilliant man, says Keith Gessen—but he nearly destroyed Russia