The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power

Caro, Robert A.

Alfred A. Knopf, 1982

p. 240, 271, 449

LBJ was an operator. One way he operated was to curry the favor of older, richer, more powerful men. He was a sort “professional son.” According to Thomas Corcoran, an aid of FDR, LBJ was not only a routine kowtower, ass-kisser, brown-noser, but also a king of flattery, so much a flatterer that watching him in action made some guys sick. Corcoran: “Lyndon had one of the most incredible capacities for dealing with older men. I never saw anything like it. He could follow someone’s mind around, and get where it was going before the other fellow knew where it was going. I saw him talk to an older man, and the minute he changed subjects Lyndon was there ahead of him, and saying what he wanted to hear.” “He was as obsequious to those above him as he was overbearing to those below.” ‘Dignity was not permitted in a Johnson employee. Pride was not permitted. Utter submission to Johnson’s demands . . . ‘a surrender of personality’ . . . . was required.’ ‘The crucial qualification was subservience.’