Califano: “It Took a Partnership”

One Democrat is benefitting from the absurd bickering over Sen. Hillary Clinton’s remark that Martin Luther “King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act”. Joseph A. Califano, Jr., President Johnson’s special assistant for domestic affairs, has an interesting op-ed in today’s Washington Post. It’s written, of course, from the perspective of a former Johnson aide, which is to say from a perspective far different from that of this blogger. Mr. Califano presents a flattering picture of how “the tough-talking master politician … appreciated King’s powers of persuasion and ability to attract media attention” and entered into “a complex partnership, to produce a social revolution that has saved this nation”. He doesn’t mention, for instance, Sen. Johnson’s earlier comments along the lines that something had to be done to give “a little something” to “[t]hese Negroes” once they had “the political pull to back up their uppityness”. But as a first-hand account of how politics makes strange bedfellows, it’s a pretty interesting read.

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