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Master of the Senate Master of the Senate by Robert A. Caro
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Master of the Senate Quotes Showing 1-30 of 77
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will”;”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“The most important thing a man has to tell you is what he’s not telling you,” he said. “The most important thing he has to say is what he’s trying not to say.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“He not only had the gift of “reading” men and women, of seeing into their hearts, he also had the gift of putting himself in their place, of not just seeing what they felt but of feeling what they felt, almost as if what had happened to them had happened to him, too.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“And he worked himself, worked himself. He had made up his mind to be President, and he was demonic in his drive.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“If you do everything, you’ll win,”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“People who sneer at a half a loaf of bread have never been hungry." George Reedy”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“Are you afraid?” an interviewer asked him after the bombing, and there was a pause, and then Martin Luther King said, very firmly, “No, I’m not. My attitude is that this is a great cause, a great issue that we’re confronted with, and that the consequences for my personal life are not particularly important. It is the triumph of a cause that I am concerned about, and I have always felt that ultimately along the way of life an individual must stand up and be counted, and be willing to face the consequences, whatever they are, and if he is filled with fear, he cannot do it.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“Luther King gave people “the feeling that they could be bigger and stronger and more courageous than they thought they could be,” Bayard Rustin said—in part because of the powerful new weapon, non-violent resistance, that had been forged on the Montgomery battlefield.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“Decades of the seniority rule had conferred influence in the Senate not on men who broke new ground but on men who were careful not to.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“Then Lyndon Johnson came to Jim Rowe’s office again, to plead with him, crying real tears as he sat doubled over, his face in his hands. “He wept. ‘I’m going to die. You’re an old friend. I thought you were my friend and you don’t care that I’m going to die. It’s just selfish of you, typically selfish.’ ” Finally Rowe said, “ ‘Oh, goddamn it, all right’ ”—and then “as soon as Lyndon got what he wanted,” Rowe was forcibly reminded why he had been determined not to join his staff. The moment the words were out of Rowe’s mouth, Johnson straightened up, and his tone changed instantly from one of pleading to one of cold command. “Just remember,” he said. “I make the decisions. You don’t.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“When you come into the presence of a leader of men, you know you have come into the presence of fire; that it is best not incautiously to touch that man; that there is something that makes it dangerous to cross him. —WOODROW WILSON”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“Old men want to feel that the experience which has come with their years is valuable, that their advice is valuable, that they possess a sagacity that could be obtained only through experience— a sagacity that could be of use to young men if only young men would ask.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“At Boston University, where the Reverend King had been studying for his Ph.D., the faculty, impressed by him, had urged him to become an academic, but, although attracted by that prospect, he rejected it in favor of a southern pastorship; “That’s where I’m needed,” he told his wife, Coretta. He was to discount his role in the Montgomery boycott. “I just happened to be there,” he was to say. “There comes a time when time itself is ready for a change.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“Freedom is never given to anybody, for the oppressor has you in domination because he plans to keep you there.” And he went beyond Douglass to espouse a doctrine of passive, non-violent resistance. “Hate begets hate, violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness,” King said. “Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding.… This is a nonviolent protest. We are depending on moral and spiritual forces.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“and he learned that when Johnson gave an assignment, no excuses were accepted. “He used to say, ‘I want only can do people.’ That was one of his favorite expressions. ‘I only want can do people around. I don’t want anybody who tells me that they can’t do something.’ ”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“he saw that at its center were Coretta and Yoki, unharmed. And then, having made sure of that, Martin Luther King became very calm, with what Branch calls “the remote calm of a commander.” Stepping back out on the porch, he held up his hand for silence. Everything was all right, he told the crowd. “Don’t get panicky. Don’t do anything panicky. Don’t get your weapons. If you have weapons, take them home. He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword. Remember that is what Jesus said. We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. I want you to love our enemies. Be good to them. This is what we must live by. We must meet hate with love.” The crowd was silent now, as King continued speaking. He himself might die, he said, but that wouldn’t matter. “If I am stopped, this movement will not stop. If I am stopped, our work will not stop. For what we are doing is right. What we are doing is just.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“In the twentieth century, with its eighteen American presidents, Lyndon Baines Johnson was the greatest champion that black Americans and Mexican-Americans and indeed all Americans of color had in the White House, the greatest champion they had in all the halls of government. With the single exception of Lincoln, he was the greatest champion with a white skin that they had in the history of the Republic. He was to become the lawmaker for the poor and the downtrodden and the oppressed. He was to be the bearer of at least a measure of social justice to those to whom social justice had so long been denied, the restorer of at least a measure of dignity to those who so desperately needed to be given some dignity, the redeemer of the promises made to them by America. He was to be the President who, above all Presidents save Lincoln, codified compassion, the President who wrote mercy and justice into the statute books by which America was governed.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“Richard Russell adored his wife. After they had been married for almost forty years, he sent her a note saying, “With a sense of love and gratitude that is overpowering, I can only say God bless you, idol of my heart.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“Abraham Lincoln struck off the chains of black Americans, but it was Lyndon Johnson who led them into voting booths, closed democracy’s sacred curtain behind them, placed their hands upon the lever that gave them a hold on their own destiny, made them, at last and forever, a true part of American political life.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“Charity begins at home.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“Congress has a deep, vested interest in its own inefficiency.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“Sam Rayburn on LBJ's recuperation from his heart attack: "It would kill him if he relaxed.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“its size, the House was an environment in which, as one observer put it, members “could be dealt with only in bodies and droves.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“He is not the leader of great causes, but the broker of little ones.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“Recalling his mother’s endless drudgery, (Senator) Richard (Russell) Jr. was to say that he was ten years old before he saw his mother asleep; previously, he had “thought that mothers never had to sleep.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“Senator Harding, who declared in his inaugural address that “We seek no part in directing the destinies of the world.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“He could be as memorable an orator as his father, particularly when he was speaking on that topic that had captured his imagination;”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“Senators came to realize that he understood not only their bills but the reasons they had introduced them;”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“To a staff member who, after talking with a senator, said he “thought” he knew which way the senator was going to vote, he snarled, “What the fuck good is thinking to me? Thinking isn’t good enough. Thinking is never good enough. I need to know!” Often, he didn’t know.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate
“I begrudge making a career out of clothes, but Lyndon likes bright colors and dramatic styles that do the most for one’s figure, and I try to please him,” she was to say. “I’ve really tried to learn the art of clothes, because you don’t sell for what you’re worth unless you look well.”
Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate

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