LBJ's father was driven out of the Texas Legislature by a cabal of right wingers from the oil, gas and power-generating industries along with big land-owners and big-ranchers.
Shortly before leaving office, his father had voted to approve funding a road building project near the Johnson family home and after he was driven from office ended up as a laborer working on building the road he had voted to fund. LBJ observed his father hard at work building the road. LBJ viewed this as a "senseless loss of power." If only his father would have capitulated and acquiesced to the rich and powerful, just a little.
The lesson LBJ learned was to acquiesce and capitulate for self-serving political expediency as a pragmatic matter in order to try to gain a few reforms for the people here and there and put off the battle for social and economic justice until another day.
When becoming President LBJ felt he had risen in power to the point where he could recoup his setbacks and losses and go full steam ahead with major reform initiatives calling his project, "The Great Society."
But LBJ ran up against the huge and powerful Military-Industrial Complex which insisted he support the Vietnam War instead of "The Great Society;" and, once again, LBJ capitulated, instead of standing and fighting like his principled father would have done... and LBJ lost his power anyways as the people he really wanted to help ended up fighting against his dirty Vietnam War.
To his credit, after he left office, LBJ ended up supporting and endorsing George McGovern for president who he admired for having the principled courage and strength of his father... but, his abandonment of the Great Society for a senseless war in Vietnam haunted him into an early grave and likely contributed to his death... having been completely deserted by the "friends" he acquired in quest of a "politics of pragmatism" which in the end, in spite of having great power, ended up being worthless as far as creating the kind of socially just society he believed in.
There has to be some kind of moral here for us today as many great liberals have suffered similar fates for the same reason.
All of what I have written here can be verified through research and interviews.
What amazes me is the length so many "biographers" and "political analysts," "journalists" and pundits will go to in order to distort these historical facts.
One must ask how it can be, that one of the biggest political battles ever waged in this country was over the "Full Employment Act of 1945" and it has been made just about impossible to find the complete story. It is not by accident LBJ's vote, press clippings, speeches, etc. on this important piece of legislation authored by his close friend, fellow New Dealer and political ally, Congressman Wright Patman, can't be found in the LBJ Library.
Just as the LBJ Library refuses to make available the notes and audio recording of the meeting that took place at LBJ's ranch in Texas Hill Country under an old oak tree overlooking the Perdernales River with LBJ, the progressive George McGovern and Sargent Shriver, McGovern's liberal running mate, at which time Lyndon B. Johnson pledged his support and gave his whole-hearted endorsement to George McGovern who had opposed his war in Vietnam but supported all of his efforts to achieve "The Great Society."