[LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto. #C7530-33A]

A time for Obama to be bold

Nov 09, 2012

by David Ignatius,
[published in The Washington Post on November 7, 2012]

There’s a telling moment at the beginning of Robert A. Caro’s new book when Lyndon Johnson’s advisers are gathered, four days after he has become President, to draft his first speech to Congress. Capitol Hill is divided, the country is grieving from the assassination of his predecessor and some of LBJ’s advisers are urging him to take it slow. “Well, what the hell’s the Presidency for?” Johnson replies.

Barack Obama will be getting advice by the boatload over the next few weeks, but the best guidance may be what emerges from Caro’s biography “The Passage of Power”: Think big. Find strategies and pressure points that can break the gridlock in Congress, which was as rigid in 1963 as it is today. Surprise your adversaries with bold moves and concessions that create new space on which to govern. read more

davidignatius@washpost.com