What is the Presidency For?

“Then, what the hell is the presidency for!”
 “I have the power, now, and I intend to use it.”
— Lyndon Baines Johnson

HBO, All the way

Politics is War.

HBO premiered the movie “All the Way” on May 21. It is great film where Four Temperaments are clearly shown in action.

“November 22, 1963: John F. Kennedy was dead in Dallas, killed by an assassin. Jacqueline Kennedy, her clothes still spattered with her husband’s blood, stood beside Vice-President Lyndon Baines Johnson as Johnson took the presidential oath of office. Camelot was suddenly and shockingly gone. In the passage of a few jolting hours, King Arthur had been replaced by the crude, graceless, but equally energetic Lyndon Johnson, a professional politician from Texas.”  [Presidential Temperament]


Power Reveals: Temperament

Lyndon Johnson was a Promoter Artisan and Southern Democrat, who believed the Dixiecrat South was behind the times.  He, now that he was President of the United States, wanted to push government to declare a “War on Poverty”, end racial discrimination, and provide better health and education to all Americans.

Ambitious, to say the least, in 1964.

The HBO movie chronicles the year 1964 when President Lyndon Johnson gathered the forces to pass the Civil Rights Bill.

“Promoters … life is never dull around them. In a word, they are men and women of action. When a Promoter is present, things begin to happen: the lights come on, the music plays, the games begin. Clever and full of fun, Promoters live with a theatrical flourish which makes even the most routine events seem exciting. Not that they waste much time on routine events. In work and in play, Promoters demand new activities and new challenges. Bold and daring at heart, and ever-optimistic that things will go their way, Promoters will take tremendous risks to get what they want, and seem exhilarated by walking close to the edge of disaster. Because of this, they make the very best trouble-spot administrators and negotiators, and they can be outstanding entrepreneurs, able to swing deals and kick-start enterprises in a way no other type can.”  [Please Understand Me II]

Lyndon Johnson was a powerful politician; he understood the game well and played it energetically, shrewdly, and unflinchingly. He was a crafty, hard-working opportunist, able to use any event to accomplish a goal.  He would work with all Temperaments to get what he thought was doable.

He worked with Senator Hubert Humphrey, Guardian.


He worked with Martin Luther King, Jr, a Champion Idealist, to unleash King’s followers to contribute to the enterprise.

Champion Idealist Martin Luther King, Jr.

In accomplishing a difficult goal it takes all Temperaments: Martin Luther King, Champion Idealist, collaborated with his colleagues.  Guardians: Ralph Abernathy and Roy Wilkins; Artisan: Stokely Carmichael; Rational: Robert Moses, to name a few.

Four Temperaments in Interaction
Stokely Carmichael                 Roy Wilkins                            Robert Moses                   Martin Luther King

“Johnson could be underhanded, unprincipled, devious, brazen, menacing, and downright dirty in the way he played the game of politics. Like all Operators [Promoters and Crafters], he played hard and he played to win.”

Johnson loved politics. It was for him the greatest, most exhilarating, and most fascinating game to be found anywhere. He loved to persuade, to blandish, to maneuver.

Yet it must be acknowledged that Lyndon Johnson’s administration and policies were shaped by something within the man that stood beyond mere political expedience. Though a great deal of the legislation he sponsored during his presidency originated with someone else, his pursuit of its passage was earnest and energetic. He brought his own powers to bear on much of that legislation with such implacable resolve that, regardless of where it originated, it can truly be called Lyndon Johnson’s.  [Presidential Temperament]

Lady Bird was stricken deeply by his death at 64 years of age in 1973, only five years after his Presidency, but gradually her own vitality reasserted itself. She eventually took on a schedule almost as busy as she had maintained during her White House days, working with various projects and charities in which she had a special interest. But she never stopped remembering and loving her dynamic husband Lyndon, the man about whom a friend once commented:

“He hates more, he loves more, he eats more, he sleeps more, he drinks more, he has more kindness, he has more contempt, he saves more, he spends more, he does everything more. He’s just more.”

President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Promoter Artisan
First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, Protector Guardian
Martin Luther King, Jr, Champion Idealist
Richard Russell, Provider Guardian
Hubert Humphrey, Guardian

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