Ironically, though Johnson is often viewed as a crude and self-interested politician backed by Texas oil interests, in the matter of Civil Rights he was a passionate moralist committed to the cause. In contrast, King is often viewed as moral, but Kotz' book demonstrates just how much of a brilliant political strategist he was during his relationship with Johnson. Though often in conflict about how to progress, Kotz (Front Matter) argues that at its best their relationship was characterized by a "passion for equality and a dedication to improving the lives of those left out of America's affluent society."
There were numerous obstacles for Johnson in winning passage of landmark Civil Rights legislation. From an oppositional Congress to the Machiavelli-like orchestrations of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, Johnson waged a committed and dedicated war to overcome numerous obstacles to promote racial equality and justice. Hoover, convinced Martin Luther King, Jr. was associated with Communist attempts to undermine American society, often authorized wiretaps and other surveillance operations against King. Though King was not a Communist, these operations did reveal the minister had carried on more than one affair. Hoover wanted to publish these revelations but Johnson fought his efforts to do so, even though there were times when Johnson encouraged Hoover's efforts to gain leverage in his relationship with King. Kotz (246; 218) suggests that "In terms of violating civil liberties, the FBI's war against the Klan was just as ruthless as its campaigns against targeted civil-rights activists," and that had the FBI made one mistake Johnson would have had "his own Watergate."
The forces that often drove Johnson and King apart, including Hoover's machinations, different ideas about the direction of Civil Rights progress, and even their own considerable egos, were not as strong as the forces that made Johnson and King draw together...
Johnson was a Near-Great President. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 10:35, April 21, 2015, from http://www.collegetermpapers.com/viewpaper/1303696290.html