I went to A Play! last night, and Tuesday night. It’s a two-part play about the presidency of LBJ, All the Way With LBJ and The Great Society. It was pretty damn good. He was an interesting guy but his interestingness was overshadowed by at one end the (much exaggerated) “charisma” of the Kennedys and at the other end the misbegotten war in Vietnam.
Accidental president. Brilliant politician. Flawed man. It’s 1963 and an assassin’s bullet catapults Lyndon Baines Johnson into the presidency. A Shakespearean figure of towering ambition and appetite, the charismatic, conflicted Texan hurls himself into Civil Rights legislation, throwing the country into turmoil. But in faraway Vietnam, a troublesome conflict looms. The Huffington Post calls Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan’s dramatization of LBJ’s first year in office “a vivid profile of one of the most complicated men to occupy the presidency.”
Here’s the last 5 minutes of Johnson’s March 1965 address to Congress urging passage of the Voting Rights Bill, also known as the We shall overcome speech.