George Will: "This President Has An Inordinate Faith In The Power Of His Rhetoric"


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: That is going to be the question going forward? Also a lot of questions about the president's leadership as he pushes all of these as well, especially after the failure, during the bombings of the background checks.

It's created a whole bunch of comparisons, especially in the "New York Times" I noticed. The president, they say, is not enough like LBJ. Front page story this week. Went on and said, "If he cannot translate the support of 90 percent of the public for background checks into a victory on Capitol Hill, what can he expect to accomplish legislatively for his remaining three and a half years in office? Robert Dallek, historian and biographer of President Lyndon B. Johnson, said Mr. Obama seems 'inclined to believe that sweet reason is what you need to use with people in high office.' That contrasts with Johnson's belief that 'what you need to do is to back people up against a wall."

Of course George (inaudible), if you will remember, it was mostly Democrats that Lyndon Johnson was backing up against the wall, and he had massive majorities in both the House and the Senate.

GEORGE WILL: Yes and he carried 44 states in the previous election and all of that stuff. The "New York Times" suffused with nostalgia for Lyndon Johnson is one of the comics of our times.

But beyond that, Lyndon Johnson did understand that politics is a transactional business. You give something, you get something. This president has an inordinate faith in the power of his rhetoric. He campaigned against Scott Brown, against Chris Christie, against Bob McDonnell. He campaigned hard for the Democratic candidates in 2010 that got shellacked. He campaigned for Obamacare. It's still very unpopular. His rhetoric is overrated. It is no basis for government. (This Week, April 28, 2013)

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