What elements of President Johnson's political character regarding Congressional action are evident in the quote below?"I believe in the ability of Congress, despite the divisions of opinions which...

What elements of President Johnson's political character regarding Congressional action are evident in the quote below?

"I believe in the ability of Congress, despite the divisions of opinions which characterize our nation, to act, to act wisely, to act vigorously, to act speedily when the need arises. The need is here. The need is now."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the political character traits of Johnson that can be seen in the quote is the negotiation that he saw as the lifeblood of politics. As a legislator, Johnson was a deal maker.  He understood that negotiation and persuasion were vital parts of the political process.  For Johnson, he understood that being able to bring pressure was a part of this process.  In the quote, Johnson is squarely doing this to the Congress in suggesting that Congress fundamentally recognizes that which is "right."  The implication that comes out of this is that the Legislative Branch must transcend its own potential apprehension and do what must be done in doing what it knows is right.  Whether Johnson believed in transcendental right and wrong can be debated.  His belief that using the notion of transcendental right and wrong as a way to persuade individuals to accepting legislation is a benchmark of his character.  In the quote, one sees this.  Johnson is forcing the issue onto the Congressional plate with what Dr. King would call, "the fierce urgency of now."  In doing so, one sees a strong political characteristic of Johnson in his ability to persuade through eloquence of words the eloquence of action.  It is slightly sad to see this early on in his Washington phase of his career, for it is this very same powers of persuasion that he loses towards the end of the decade as the Vietnam War began to cripple his administration and ability to persuade the Congress of what must be done from a transcendental point of view.

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