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Comparison of Lyndon B. Johnson & Ronald Reagan

Unlike Johnson, Ronald Reagan prided himself on being a Washington outsider. He had very limited legislative experience, and as governor of California, he had preferred a leadership style based on delegation rather then personal intervention. His greatest strength as a leader lay in his ability to communicate his vision of American and of his presidency in terms that the public could easily understand.

His grasp of details was, at times, painfully shallow. There is no doubt that Reagan had very little practical idea of how the U.S. budget worked, or of how much some of his most important programs might cost. Even conservative columnist George Will stated that Reagan did not realize that his conservative agenda was as likely to cost as much as a liberal one. Reagan was intuitively quick but intellectually lazy. He rarely prepared adequately for staff meetings or for press conferences, counting on his manner to see him through.

Reagan early determined to use the same form of "cabinet government" in Washington as he had in Sacramento. This meant delegating responsibility to department heads, and relying on them to work out the details of his programs. It was a style of government that had been tried often, and without success, before. And though Reagan's loose approach to governing probably gave it more of a chance than any previous president, it gradually was replaced by force of circumstance by a tighter coalition of aides, led by James Baker, Mich'l Deaver, Ed Meese, and Donald Regan.

Reagan did not share Johnson's mania for loyalty and secrecy. He was not threatened by disagreement within his staff, preferring to hear many conflicting points of view before reaching a decision. But though he allowed disagreement, he did not tolerate discord. Reagan could not work in an atmosphere of tension. His first year as governor had seen much political infighting and maneuvering, and he was determined to avoid that in his pre...

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Comparison of Lyndon B. Johnson & Ronald Reagan. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 02:52, September 21, 2017, from
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