“How’s it possible that all these people can be ungrateful to me after I had given them so much?” Landslide Lyndon asked of Doris Kearns Goodwin.
The country grew tired of the relentless pictures of death in drab on the evening news and an economy out of control. The second phase of the Great Society, Goodwin notes, “made it clear that some people would have to pay the cost of helping others.” Once it became apparent that more jobs for some groups meant fewer jobs for others, that “welfare reform meant redistributing income…the choices became much harder.”
And a study of public opinion in 1964 suggested, “The majority of Americans still resisted the idea of federal intervention.”
While the economy continued to slide, Goodwin recalls, “Johnson had expected the economic arguments alone would be sufficient to persuade both liberals and conservatives to join with him on the tax increase…Fumbling with the Congress, Johnson also fumbled with the American people.”