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View Diary: I Saw "Lincoln" And Wept (297 comments)

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  •  The idea of using these backdoor deals to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Upper West, mirandasright, IreGyre

    pass one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in US history got me thinking of something.

    One of my favorite books is "The Walls of Jericho" by Robert Mann, which documents the struggle over civil rights in the senate from 1948 to the mid-1960's.  It's told mainly from the perspective of Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, and Richard Russell, the de facto leader of the southern bloc.  (I highly recommend it.  I just took it out from the library for what must be the fiftieth time).

    I think that would make a terrific movie or miniseries.  LBJ, I've found to be a fascinating and unlikely champion of civil rights, especially since Russell was his mentor and certainly his closest friend in the senate.  The wheeling and dealing Humphrey had to do during the filibuster in '64 to secure enough Republicans to vote for cloture is reminiscent of James Spader and his crew wooing lame-duck Democrats in this movie.

    Of course, as the book shows, the 60's didn't end on a happy note for any of the three.  Obviously Russell failed to prevent the passage of civil rights.  LBJ's presidency, and the promise of his Great Society programs, were ruined on the shoals of his disastrous Vietnam policies.  And Humphrey had to endure the sting of losing the White House to Nixon, while his own progressive reputation had been tarnished by his defense of the president's Vietnam policies.

    None of the men would live to see the end of the 1970's

    What do you think?

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