Compare and contrast Presidents Kennedy and Johnson in their ability to exercise political clout to accomplish their programs.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In terms of demonstrating political clout between both presidents, it is difficult because of the small amount of time that Kennedy occupied the Presidency.  Kennedy was seen as possessing political clout.  His fateful trip to Dallas in November of 1963 was made to heal a potential fracture between Texan Democrats, indicating that he held a great deal of sway in the party.  Johnson was seen as holding much more clout because he was able to use it for a longer period of time.  Especially in the domestic legislation realm, Johnson demonstrated a greater amount of clout than his predecessor, who showed a greater proclivity for foreign affairs than domestic ones.  Johnson was much more brazen with his clout on passage of domestic policy.  This was seen in his Great Society initiatives as well as the passage of the Civil Rights Act.  He was able to parlay this clout in moving the United States deeper into the quagmire of Vietnam.  In fact, Johnson only started losing his political clout when Vietnam grew into a more vague and ambiguous conflict.  In this point, Johnson might be seen to be the logical extension of what Kennedy might have faced had he lived long enough.