Candidates and Opportunity

As noted earlier, I am still laid up with a bum ankle, which has provided an opportunity to catch up on reading and other sedentary pursuits.

I am rereading Robert Caro’s Means of Ascent, the second volume in his planned four volume bio of Lyndon Baines Johnson (vol 1-3 are out, with #4 coming who knows when).  This book is devoted to the period 1941-1948, and covers in depth the 1948 Texas Democratic primary that ultimately lead to Johnson getting the nickname “Landslide Lyndon”.

Yep, I should have watched the tape of Cooch-Hoot, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.  Mea Culpa

I recently reread a passage describing how LBJ could not abide interruptions while he was on the stump, especially by children.  LBJ apparently would actually stop his speech until an adult quieted a child down.  If that did not happen, he would draw attention to the little miscreant and effectively demand someone quiet him down.

This passage put me in mind of a description by T. Harry Williams in his biography of Huey Long (yes, Bwana is well read in American and Southern politics). Williams writes that when Long was in front of a crowd, he had staff trained in dealing with all manner of interruptions, including children. A staffer might come out with a lollipop for a mouthy child, which had the effect of pointing out the source of the noise and also causing him to quite down. If it was a baby, Long’s team would come out with a bottle of water, and Long would say “when a baby cries, it generally means it is hungry”, and use that as a pivot to attack the big whigs who kept the common man broke and hungry.

Same circumstances, different tactics. What Johnson saw as an inconvenience, Long saw as an opportunity.

We are about 32 days out from election day, and I think one of the marks of who will win on November 6 will be who takes sees and takes advantage of opportunities that come to them.

Note to Hoot: And, as a side note, generally that means taking advantage of them either by yourself or through your inspiration, not by having the moderator do if for you.


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