The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


April 14, 2014

Could LBJ do as much today?


After Kennedy’s assassination that November, the bill was left to LBJ, which sounded on my side of town like bad news. As majority leader of the Senate, LBJ, a Texas Democrat, and his Southern segregationist colleagues had helped take the enforcement teeth out of Dwight Eisenhower’s 1957 Civil Rights Act.

But as president, Johnson rose to a higher moral and historic calling. He rallied enough support from both parties to enact, by many accounts, a stronger civil rights bill than the less-experienced JFK could have achieved.

It is that feat, accomplished with a majority of Republican votes to override the fierce resistance of Southern segregationist Democrats, that leads many to ask today whether the Civil Rights Act would survive today’s Congress.

My first reflex is to answer no. Even such formerly routine matters as an extension of unemployment benefits fall dead in the water these days. But this also is not LBJ’s Congress, LBJ’s times or, in the Oval Office, LBJ’s style of leadership.

As many others point out, LBJ had deep and long-running relationships on Capitol Hill and unrivaled talents for legislative mechanics. As Jonathan Alter so eloquently put it in his book “The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies,” President Obama is missing a similar “Schmooze Gene” to drive him to similarly relentless prodding, cajoling and arm-twisting.

But even if he had it, Obama’s close associates say, he would not have a Congress that would be nearly as cooperative as the one with which Johnson worked in the wake of Kennedy’s assassination.

LBJ enacted a sweeping, landmark civil rights bill on behalf of equal rights for women and minorities. But, in the week of the law’s 50th anniversary, Senate Republicans blocked a much more modest Democratic-backed Paycheck Fairness Act aimed to even the pay gap between men and women.

Text Only
  • Vote fraud myths meet voting rights reality Before she was allowed to register and vote for the first time in Franklin County, North Carolina, Rosanell Eaton had to read the entire preamble to the U.S. Constitution out loud in front of three men in the county courthouse.Eaton is black. The thr

    July 21, 2014 1 Story

  • Todd Akin's back again to talk of rape So, Todd Akin is back and he’s talking rape again.You remember what happened last time. The would-be Missouri senator torpedoed his campaign two years ago after suggesting in a TV interview that if a woman is a victim of “legitimate rape,” she is unl

    July 22, 2014

  • Sadness remains as two-year mark passes in cousins' case As most citizens of the Cedar Valley are well aware, July 13 marked two years since the disappearance of cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey of Evansdale.The passage of time provides some semblance of healing, but the sadness, particul

    July 22, 2014

  • UI needs to keep its admission standards high There’s been a lot of talk lately — most of it coming from the leadership of the Iowa state Board of Regents — about the University of Iowa not being passionate enough about its recruitment of in-state undergraduates. Regent president Bruce Rastetter

    July 21, 2014

  • 7-21-14 David Helscher mug Prepare for possible effects of Fed's decisions It has been more than 5 years since the Federal Reserve has taken unprecedented steps to support the economy through purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed debt securities. This has generally been called quantitative easing and has not been withou

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • What it was like as a teen

    Ten years ago today, I’d like to think I was checking out educational books to prepare myself for my upcoming journey through college.

    In reality, I was probably playing video games and thinking of ways to have fun, while trying not to get into too much trouble.

    July 20, 2014

  • Randy Meier Spoofing practices resurface Spoofing is the practice deliberately falsifying a telephone number and/or name relayed to the caller ID feature of a phone. This type of call right now is the number one phone scam I receive. Many people report receiving calls appearing on caller ID

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Impeaching the president Sarah Palin is right about impeaching President Obama.No, not that the president should be impeached. But Palin is correct in arguing that, for those who assert that Obama has grievously abused his executive authority, impeachment is the proper cours

    July 18, 2014

  • Celebrate the renovated bandshell? Yes, but... I attended the ribbon cutting for the renovated bandshell on July 1. I was a proud member of the Vision 8 team that enabled the project. However, the previous Friday night, June 27, I was also a member of the cast of “Annie Get Your Gun.”When the Nat

    July 18, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Posturing, predictions fly as SEC turns to a new season

    Little news is truly made at the Southeastern Conference's media days, where players and coaches predict, insinuate and deflect in advance of this fall's college football season.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo


With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

     View Results