But before rehearsing the 1948 Senatencontest of Box 13 and the Duke ofnDuval, legendary moments in Texasnand American history, Robert Carontells us about Lyndon Johnson as annondescript Democratic Congressmannwho introduced no legislation andnmade only ten recorded speeches duringn11 years in the House of Representatives.nHere we read of Johnson’snimpatience with the slow process ofnadvancement under the old regime ofnseniority domination — a system thatngave to elderly Southern Democratsnalmost absolute legislative control ofnthe business of the Republic. ThisnLyndon Johnson had made an earlynrecord in bringing electricity to hisnrural constituents. He had for a timenraised money for the party and hadncourted the favor of President Roosevelt.nHe was the acknowledged disciplenof Speaker Rayburn and, with thenoutbreak of Worid War II, became annostensible “war hero,” winning thenSilver Star by observing, under fire, annair raid over New Guinea. Duringnthese six terms Johnson introducednseven bills and arranged for the passagenof two—both affecting only his district.nCaro informs us that all of hisnevidence from those who could remembernRepresentative Johnson fromnthe Tenth Congressional District ofnTexas indicates that he was cautiousnabout taking sides in real controversiesnand reluctant to make enemies onneither side of a question. Instead, henstudied how to use his influence withinnthe government and at the WhitenHouse.nFor a time Johnson considered thenpossibility of launching his career to-nBOOKS ON CASSETTESn^•^The Conservative Classicsn”•^ Unabridged Recordingsn•^ Purchase & 30 Day Rentalsn•*§ Books by Buckley,nGilder, Sowell, Muggeridge,nPaul Johnson, Friedman,nHayek, Tocqueville, Kirk,nMises, Podhoretz, Kistol,nNeuhaus, Rusher, Twain,n& scores of others.nCLASSICS ON TAPEnP.O. Box 969, Ashland, OR 97520n•«^ For Free Catalog, Calln1 (800) 729-2665n32/CHRONICLESnward new and greater heights by way ofna major military appointment. Once henwas certain that President Rooseveltnhad no such plans for him, he turnednhis attention to making money throughnhis contacts in the Federal CommunicationnCommission. The owners of ansmall radio station in Austin, KTBC,nwished to sell it or get a better license.nThe FCC would let them do neithernuntil Mrs. Lyndon Johnson made annoffer. At that point the application forntransfer, a better place on the dial, andna proper license were swiftly approved.nLady Bird worked hard on this station,nbut it was Lyndon’s ability to tradenpower for contacts and advertising thatnconverted it into a gold mine, a businessnthat made Lyndon Johnson anmillionaire by 1948.nThere is much personal detail andnpsychologically revealing informationnin Means of Ascent. What wenlearn about the operations of CongressmannJohnson’s office, about hisnvanity and misconduct, about his supportnfor the Taft-Hartley Act, his oppositionnto FEPC, the anti-lynching bill,nand every other proposal for improvementsnin civil rights demonstrates thatnhe had not changed inwardly fromnwhat Caro showed us in the first volumenof the biography, not even whilenhe was turning his political coat in anconservative direction. His passionatenoratory as an old-time segregationistnshould be required reading for thenmythologizers who wish him to benremembered as Southern liberal, anman of deep, progressive commitments.nSaid Johnson in 1947, “Thenproposed civil rights legislation is anfarce and a sham — an effort to set up anpolice state in the guise of liberty.” Inn1949, in his first important speech as anU.S. senator, he spoke to the sameneffect, arguing for an hour and a half inndefense of the filibuster as a way ofnprotecting Southern interests in pervertingna civil rights law — interests thatnhe identified as his own. As for lynching,nit was the duty of the states tonprosecute murderers. And if “a manncan tell you whom you must hire, hencan tell you whom you cannot employ.”nThroughout this portion of hisncareer, in every vote and every publicnstatement that he made concerningnblack hopes for a federally enforcednuplifting of their race, the response ofnnnLBJ was, in effect, “They shall notnovercome.”nMeans of Ascent is full of interestingncharacters, rich in resources from thenpublic record and the testimony ofnpolitical figures, many of whom are stillnliving. The narrative of the stealing ofnthe 1948 election is complete andndetailed and should close that questionnfor all but the most fanatical partisans.nAnd the story of how Texas’ big businessnconservatives — oil men, contractors,ndevelopers, and manufacturers —nturned at the last minute to supportnCongressman Johnson against his independentnand incorruptible adversarynis as instructive to thoughtful conservativesnnow as it was to Texas politiciansnmore than forty years ago. There isn”conservatism” — and then, conservatism.nMen like Johnson, with a reputationnfor being “practical,” often get thensupport of big business and big money.nNot all the venality in public life comesnfrom the politicians.nBut the heart of this book is thencontrast between LBJ and Coke RobertnStevenson, the rancher from Junction,nthe classic Texas cattleman/lawyernwho by dint of hard work, intellect, andnhonesty had by 1946 become the mostnrespected and admired public figure innthe state. Caro has done well to rest thendrama of his study in the contrastnbetween the rectitude of CovernornStevenson, “Mr. Texas,” and LyndonnJohnson’s absolute opportunism, hisnseemingly bottomless “capacity for deceit,ndeception, and betrayal.”nWith symbolic propriety, Stevensonnwas named after Richard Coke, then”Redeemer” governor of Texas who,nstarting in 1873, had led his people outnfrom underneath the shadow of occupationnand Yankee despotism and intonthe bright light of reconstituted selfgovernment.nThroughout his adult life,nStevenson was an admirer and defendernof the Texas Constitution written bynthe Confederate veterans who, oncenthey regained control of their state, hadnhad enough of being “reformed” bynthe federal power, enough of lawlessness,nblack militia, progressive rhetoric,nand wasteful spending. As countynjudge and member of the state legislature,nspeaker of the house and lieutenantngovernor, his political life was continuousnwith the example of thosenheroic forebears. And from 1941-1946nStevenson was the most successful ofn