April 10th, 2014
10:50 AM ET
9 years ago

Inside Politics Speed Read: How Obama's legacy will stack up to LBJ's

Obama to honor LBJ’s civil rights legacy: President Barack Obama on Thursday will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. A lot of people have compared Obama with Lyndon B. Johnson recently. The LBJ people want to rescue his legacy from Vietnam. In a piece in the National Journal, George Condon argues Obama staffers don’t want their guy’s star put up next to the coarse-mouthed Texan. But you can’t argue that Johnson didn’t get a lot done in his first few years in office. Civil rights legislation, the Great Society programs and Medicare and Medicaid - these are legacy items with a more lasting imprint on American culture and society than most presidents can claim.

David Jackson puts it well in USA Today: “There was a time - a long time - when Democratic presidential candidates would not even utter the name Lyndon Baines Johnson. This week, the three Democrats elected president since Johnson traveled to Texas to honor the memory of LBJ - a president once reviled for the Vietnam War, now revered for a domestic record that includes landmark civil rights laws.”

Jackson’s piece points out that when Bill Clinton visited the LBJ library during a 1992 campaign stop, he didn’t once utter the late president’s name.

[twitter-follow screen_name='zbyronwolf']

Related: Many doubt civil rights legislation could pass today

Today, Texas is on the front lines in the debate over whether some civil rights legislation signed into law by Johnson remains necessary.

Attorney General Eric Holder and Obama are facing off against Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the Supreme Court over key portions of the Voting Rights Act (which turns 50 next year).

Obama, speaking at a fund-raiser Wednesday in Houston, drew attention to the federal battle with Texas, which wants to reclaim full autonomy over redistricting. The Voting Rights Act forces states with a history of discrimination to clear new districts with the Justice Department.

The president called these “active efforts to deter people from voting.”

“The idea that you’d purposely try to prevent people from voting? Un-American,” he said, according to Politico. “How is it that we’re putting up with that? We don’t have to.”

Nice socks, Mr. President: Before he assailed Texas Republicans over voting, Obama was warmly greeted on the tarmac in Houston by former President George H.W. Bush, who wore American flag socks.

“When the President comes to your hometown, you show up and welcome him,” Bush said, according to a pool report.

Related: Bush 41 greets Obamas in Houston

Back in Washington, there are two important votes planned Thursday in the House of Representatives: 

1. Ryan budget: The House will vote Thursday on Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. Republicans point to it as a vision for a smaller government and fiscally responsible future. Democrats plan to use it as a campaign issue. It’s unlikely the budget will become law, but it will put the GOP on the record, and it solidifies Ryan’s role as his party’s top fiscal thinker.

Related: Ryan’s budget aims to cut $5.1 trillion, reach balance in 10 years

2. Panel vote on Lerner contempt: On Rep. Darrell Issa’s House Oversight Committee, lawmakers will vote on whether to recommend that Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of a political targeting scandal, be cited for contempt. The full House likely won’t vote until next month.

Related: GOP asks for criminal probe of Lerner

On the campaign trail, there are two stories of scorned politicians seeking redemption:

1. Bill Clinton’s 20-year-old debt to Chelsea’s mother-in-law: There’s no way with a Democrat in the White House that Ryan’s budget will become law. But budgets do matter.

Meet Marjorie Margolies. She’s proof of that.

Today, Margolies may be better known as Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law. But before they were related by marriage, Margolies fell on her political sword for Bill Clinton, casting a difficult vote for his budget in 1993. After the decisive vote, some House Republicans chanted, “Goodbye, Marjorie,” because it was so controversial in her conservative Pennsylvania district. She lost her re-election campaign in the so-called Republican revolution of 1994. Now, 20 years later, she wants back into Congress in a suburban Philadelphia district.

The former president is scheduled to attend a fund-raiser Thursday for Margolies, potentially repaying that 20-year-old debt.

2. Hello, New Hampshire: Scott Brown, the former U.S. senator from Massachusetts, will make it official Thursday that he’s running for Senate in his new home state of New Hampshire with a rally in Portsmouth. Brown, who lost a Massachusetts race for re-election to the Senate in 2012, has long owned a second home in New Hampshire. He recently moved there full time. And as he pointed out on Instagram, he spent summers there as a kid.

Related: Brown to formally jump into Senate race

Whoa! Wrong John Hancock: “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus appears on the cover of the April issue of Rolling Stone wearing nothing but the U.S. Constitution on her back and a large John Hancock a bit lower. But students of history have pointed out that Hancock didn’t sign the Constitution. He signed the Declaration of Independence.

Related: ‘Veep’ star in the buff on Rolling Stone

First on CNN: Graham opponent has impressive fund-raising haul: Could Sen. Lindsey Graham finally have a credible primary challenger in South Carolina? CNN’s Peter Hamby reports that Det Bowers, a politically connected Columbia pastor, collected more than $417,000 in the two months since he made a late entry into the GOP Senate primary in February. That sum pales in comparison with the war chest amassed by Graham, who has raised $8 million as of the last reporting period and has already run a slew of TV ads, but it's the most substantial fund-raising haul to date for any of the senator's six little-known conservative primary challengers.

Stay Inside Politics all day on Flipboard.

More from our reading list:

Vox’s Ezra Klein: The best evidence we have that Obamacare is working

Buzzfeed’s Ruby Cramer: What it’s like to actually know Hillary Clinton

The Hill: Holder says GOP treats him differently

The New York Times: Political Ties of Top Billers for Medicare

The New York Times: House Panel Rejects Plan to Aid Lawmakers With Expenses


Filed under: Bill Clinton • Inside Politics • Marjorie Margolies • Paul Ryan
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "“The idea that you’d purposely try to prevent people from voting? Un-American,”"

    You have to understand, BO, they rationalize it by not considering those people to be American.

    April 10, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Scott P. Brown
    #tbt September of 1960 at my first house on Islington Street in Portsmouth. I spent summers here as a kid:

    WOW. I'm impressed, Scott Brown. Or not.

    On a side note: The political ticker as we knew it is long past. It has become more and more National Enquirer and less and less news as each day passes.

    April 10, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. smith

    congress going after learner is so republican showmanship. Why don't they do some real work. How many times now have they made a big deal about something only to have it peter away and accomplish nothing. ? Rolling stone made a joke get over it and move on. Former president Bush is a class act. Without Johnson we would not have president Obama. Obamas legacy will put him in a good light.

    April 10, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. smith

    LBJ`s leagacy is Veitnam, which made Iraq and Afghanistan look like a skirmish. People hate Bush for Iraq and Veitnam was about a hundred times worse than Iraq.

    April 10, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. Malory Archer


    LBJ`s leagacy is Veitnam, which made Iraq and Afghanistan look like a skirmish. People hate Bush for Iraq and Veitnam was about a hundred times worse than Iraq.


    At least LBJ had enough common sense and good graces to realize the gravity of his decision and not run for reelection.

    April 10, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Keep it up smith....

    April 10, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    What is going to be the legacy of the John Boehner led House?

    Vote to Repeal the ACA
    Government shutdown
    Vote to Repeal the ACA
    Lowered credit rating
    Vote to Repeal the ACA
    Vote to Repeal Financial Reforms
    Vote to Repeal the ACA
    Vote to Repeal the ACA
    Vote to Repeal the ACA

    April 10, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. smith

    @Malory-There is no defese for LBJ. Keep spinning.

    April 10, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Sniffit

    Today on "More Stuff CNN Will Sweep under the Rug because It Ruins The Nontroversy Narrative":

    Based on the same 2013 salary data, the Washington Examiner found that 70 of the 150 White House staffers making more than $100,000 were women. Those top female aides earned $128,600 on average compared to $120,600 for top male aides, the publication found.

    As the Examiner pointed out, those salary figures represent an increase in the number and percentage of women in top-earning White House positions over the last two years.

    Ten of the 19 highest-paid staffers in the White House in 2013 were women who all pulled in $172,200, including senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and deputy chief of staff Lisa Monaco.

    April 10, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  10. Hector Slagg

    Uh, Well,
    LBJ gets a kudo for advancing the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act. Maybe a slight Negative for the Vietnam Conflict. It was charged that he started it on false pretenses with the Gulf Of Tonkin Incident. A big negative for Medicare and all that followed it. The huge National Debt is the prime result of LBJ. LBJ was a protege of FDR who gave us the New Deal. The result of that is huge unemployment numbers of which was supposed to fix it.

    Obama has Obama Care. Being attacked from all sides. 100 years of Liberalisim has taught nothing to Obama. And so it goes.

    April 10, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Judge: Two in N.J. bridge scandal don’t have to comply with subpoenas
    And, they shouldn't have to turn over personal emails, text messages, personal phones and other personal electronic devices. Nope, they should not.... ...which is *exactly* why states have laws that make it highly unlawful for public officials to conduct state business on their personal phones, personal email accounts, etc. What is New Jersey law in this regard?

    April 10, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC


    @Malory-There is no defese for LBJ. Keep spinning.
    The Vietnam war began long before the U.S. became involved. U.S. involvement was motivated by similar reasons cited by Bush. LBJ was fighting communist infiltrations into neighboring states. GWB was fighting his war on terror, but he started a war to do so. That's the difference. LBJ joined a war in progress, while GWB started a war and didn't fund it. LBJ raised taxes to pay for the Vietnam War. Bush not only started a war, and cut taxes .... he did it twice.

    April 10, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. Silence DoGood

    @Hector Slagg
    100 years of Liberalisim has taught nothing to Obama.
    Ah, the tired cry of the awful "100 years" of Liberalism. Let's put your great past age in prospective: 100 years ago your Utopia had around ten less Amendments to the constitution, including allowing WOMEN TO VOTE. And the country was about to enact Prohibition. Thank you but I will take progress over going backwards!

    April 10, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  14. smith

    @Rudy-LBJ started the draft, which sent you men agianst their will into a bloody war. Bush did no such thing. Keep spinning.

    April 10, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. kurt

    The truth of today's politics.

    The GOP doesn't want a large voter turnout. The fewer people who vote, the better they do.

    The Democrats want everyone to vote. The more people that vote, the better they do.

    I do think it's a bad sign for a party if they only way you can win is if few people show up to vote.

    April 10, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  16. kurt

    "A big negative for Medicare and all that followed it."

    If you believe that, then I hope you get all the GOP politicians to run on getting rid of medicare. See how that works for you.

    The thing people don't ever want to talk about with socialized medicine when they point out the problems with it is that while many aren't happy with how their country is running their socialized medical system... none of them want to actually get rid of it. They just want it to work better.

    It's the same here. Vets aren't against the idea of the VHA... they just want it to be better. The elderly don't want to scrap Medicare... they just want it to work better. The poor don't want to get rid of Medicaid... they just want it to work better.

    The GOP is going to need to make the switch on Obamacare. They can't get rid of it anymore. They have to switch to trying to make it better.

    April 10, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. smith

    Correction to comment 14-young men.

    April 10, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. Anonymous


    @Rudy-LBJ started the draft, which sent you men agianst their will into a bloody war. Bush did no such thing. Keep spinning.
    Facts are not spin. Bush had wanted to institute a draft, but knew he couldn't get the votes. They had talked about it enough. What's worse? A draft, or sending the same people into war zones multiple times? Most Vietnam vets served one tour of duty.. Most Iraqi vets served several tours.

    April 10, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. Malory Archer


    @Malory-There is no defese for LBJ. Keep spinning.


    LOL – talk about "spinning". Please point out in my one-sentence reply where if "defended" LBJ.

    April 10, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. smith

    @Anonymous-The fact there is no comparison between Veitnam and Iraq. Veitnam had a draft, 11 times more KIA, over a million killed between North and South Veitnam and thousands more injured. Keep jumping on that one.

    April 10, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  21. Hector Slagg

    Well Kurt,
    Everybody wants to make everything better. How to do it is the question. We get Lip Service from the Liberals. Kinda like, IF YOU LIKE YOUR HEALTH PLAN, YOU CAN KEEP YOUR HEALTH PLAN, PERIOD. The U.S. Treasury is empty, Kurt. Just IOU'S put there by the Big Spenders. The people will probably ride that horse to death before anything changes. The Government can say Sorry no more money. Those that didn't plan for their future will be back where they started from. The 1930's not the 1950's.

    RUDY! it was LBJ that started the shooting war in Vietnam. Look up the Gulf of Tonkin.

    April 10, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. smith

    @Malory-Really? That`s absurd, read your comment and explain how saying he showed common sense and good graces is not defending him.

    April 10, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  23. Malory Archer


    @Rudy-LBJ started the draft, which sent you men agianst their will into a bloody war. Bush did no such thing. Keep spinning.


    Perhaps if the draft had still been in place – with NO deferrments for the offspring of his handlers and deep-pocketed owners, he and they would have thought twice before lying about WMD and sending tens of thousands of Americans to be killed/maimed/psychologically damaged.

    April 10, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  24. Malory Archer


    @Anonymous-The fact there is no comparison between Veitnam and Iraq. Veitnam had a draft, 11 times more KIA, over a million killed between North and South Veitnam and thousands more injured. Keep jumping on that one.


    Yet that war continued for 6 years AFTER he left office (our involvements Iraq & Afganistan are all but finished, no thanks to ANYONE on the right.

    April 10, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. Marcus (from...?)

    'smith – @Rudy-LBJ started the draft, which sent you men (young men) agianst their will into a bloody war. Bush did no such thing. Keep spinning.'

    The draft (or conscription) started (more or less) effectively in 1862 and ended in 1973. Stop spinning.

    April 10, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
1 2