Character above all: Ten presidents from FDR to George Bush

Wilson, Robert A., ed., Robert Dallek, “LBJ”

Simon & Schuster, 1995

p. 107

Dallek describes what biographers call “the Johnson Treatment,” or simply “The Treatment.” LBJ would corner a man, or back him up against a wall and trap him there with his big frame. Box him in. Here’s Dallek on “The Treatment”: Rowland Evans and Robert Novak describe Johnson’s approach to someone needing persuasion: It was “supplication, accusation, cajolery, exuberance, scorn, tears, complaint, hint of threat . . . . Its velocity was breathtaking and it was all in one direction. Interjections from the target were rare . . . He moved in close, his face a scant millimeter from the target, his eyes widening and narrowing, his eyes rising and falling. From his pockets poured clippings, memos, statistics. Mimicry, humor, and the genius of analogy made The Treatment an almost hypnotic experience and rendered the target stunned and helpless.” Benjamin Bradlee: “You really felt as if a St. Bernard had licked your face for an hour, had pawed you all over . . . . He never just shook hands with you. One hand was shaking your hand; the other hand was always someplace else, exploring you, examining you.”