August 9, 1967. The House of Representatives votes down, 160-244, a resolution to disapprove LBJ’s proposed reorganization of Washington, DC. The resolution therefore stands. Republicans split, 110-64 for the resolution and against the home-rule plan, as did southern Democrats (47-39 for the resolution/against the plan). Supporters of home rule argued that denying residents of the capital, a city 65% black, was a violation of civil rights, and the majority of the House agrees. 
With the failure of the resolution, for the first time, the nation’s capital will have some measure of representative government. The President will appoint a city commissioner, to be known as Mayor, a deputy commissioner, and a nine-member council. They replace the three-member commission that previously ran the District, and affords more representation for the diversity of the city. Now the fight moves to the proportion of whites and black that LBJ will appoint, and who will hold the position of Mayor. LBJ hopes that this measure will be only an interim plan until Congress passes home rule, and residents can elect their own representatives, but this will not happen in 1967.
Congressional Quarterly Almanac, Vol. XXIII, 1967, p. 1024-1026. Photo via US Marines. 

August 9, 1967. The House of Representatives votes down, 160-244, a resolution to disapprove LBJ’s proposed reorganization of Washington, DC. The resolution therefore stands. Republicans split, 110-64 for the resolution and against the home-rule plan, as did southern Democrats (47-39 for the resolution/against the plan). Supporters of home rule argued that denying residents of the capital, a city 65% black, was a violation of civil rights, and the majority of the House agrees. 

With the failure of the resolution, for the first time, the nation’s capital will have some measure of representative government. The President will appoint a city commissioner, to be known as Mayor, a deputy commissioner, and a nine-member council. They replace the three-member commission that previously ran the District, and affords more representation for the diversity of the city. Now the fight moves to the proportion of whites and black that LBJ will appoint, and who will hold the position of Mayor. LBJ hopes that this measure will be only an interim plan until Congress passes home rule, and residents can elect their own representatives, but this will not happen in 1967.

Congressional Quarterly Almanac, Vol. XXIII, 1967, p. 1024-1026. Photo via US Marines

June 20, 1967. Congress rejects proposed major reforms of the draft, or selective service, in favor of modest changes to the existing system. Congress was required to reauthorize the induction authority of the draft law every four years, and the extensions were typically a matter of routine. However, increasing antiwar protests and complaints from Republicans in Congress about student deferments and class bias prompted LBJ to create the National Advisory Commission on Selective Service, headed by Burke Marshall, pictured. 
The NACSS report was followed by a congressional report. Both commissions agreed that the draft had to be extended in 1967 and that the youngest potential draftees should be called up first. They disagreed on whether the draft boards should be centralized or locally controlled, and whether college students should be eligible for selection. LBJ ordered more study on these two issues, and finally recommended to Congress in March 1967 that they end graduate student deferments, make the local boards more representative of their areas, and reexamine draft board structure. 
Despite Marshall’s plan for more sweeping reforms, Congress ultimately passes a bill that requires Congressional approval for a lottery system, ends graduate student deferments, leaves selection standards up to local boards, and requires that the Justice Department prosecute draft-dodgers and inform Congress as to the outcome of their cases. The only reforms are that women will be allowed on draft boards, and draft board membership is limited to 25 years with a forced retirement age of 75. 
These minor changes do little to defuse claims that the draft is biased against black men, especially in the south, since the boards are locally run and the governors appoint the members of the appeal boards. The draft continues to be a lightening rod for dissent, and the anti-war and anti-draft and protests continue. 
Reference: George Q. Flynn, The Draft, 1940-1973, Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1993.

June 20, 1967. Congress rejects proposed major reforms of the draft, or selective service, in favor of modest changes to the existing system. Congress was required to reauthorize the induction authority of the draft law every four years, and the extensions were typically a matter of routine. However, increasing antiwar protests and complaints from Republicans in Congress about student deferments and class bias prompted LBJ to create the National Advisory Commission on Selective Service, headed by Burke Marshall, pictured.

The NACSS report was followed by a congressional report. Both commissions agreed that the draft had to be extended in 1967 and that the youngest potential draftees should be called up first. They disagreed on whether the draft boards should be centralized or locally controlled, and whether college students should be eligible for selection. LBJ ordered more study on these two issues, and finally recommended to Congress in March 1967 that they end graduate student deferments, make the local boards more representative of their areas, and reexamine draft board structure.

Despite Marshall’s plan for more sweeping reforms, Congress ultimately passes a bill that requires Congressional approval for a lottery system, ends graduate student deferments, leaves selection standards up to local boards, and requires that the Justice Department prosecute draft-dodgers and inform Congress as to the outcome of their cases. The only reforms are that women will be allowed on draft boards, and draft board membership is limited to 25 years with a forced retirement age of 75.

These minor changes do little to defuse claims that the draft is biased against black men, especially in the south, since the boards are locally run and the governors appoint the members of the appeal boards. The draft continues to be a lightening rod for dissent, and the anti-war and anti-draft and protests continue. 

Reference: George Q. Flynn, The Draft, 1940-1973, Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1993.

LBJ proposes half a loaf of self-rule for Washington, DC

June 1, 1967. LBJ submits a plan to provide for some measure of self-rule, but not full home rule, for the District of Columbia. The fight for home rule in the nation’s capital has been going on since the 1940s, and LBJ has been advocating for it since 1965. Supporters have met significant resistance, in part due to white fears of home rule in a majority-black city.

By framing it as a reorganization, the President will be able to bypass the House District Committee, on which several members oppose the bill, in favor of the friendlier Government Operations Committee. Reorganizations cannot be amended by Congress, although they can be rejected by resolution within 60 days. This approach, although it will not result in the full home rule that LBJ advocated in his 1966 State of the Union, is a good example of the President’s belief in politics as the art of the possible. 

"The proposed reorganization is in no way a substitute for home rule. As I stated in my Message on the Nation’s Capital, the plan: 

'will give the District a better organized and more efficient government … but only home rule will provide the District with a democratic government—of, by and for its citizens.'

I remain convinced more strongly than ever that Home Rule is still the truest course. We must continue to work toward that day-when the citizens of the District will have the right to frame their own laws, manage their own affairs, and choose their own leaders. Only then can we redeem that historic pledge to give the District of Columbia full membership in the American Union.”

President Johnson’s Special Message to the Congress Transmitting Reorganization Plan 3 of 1967: Government of the District of Columbia. 

April 28, 1967. LBJ referees a meeting with Congressional Leadership on the ongoing railroad labor dispute. Members present include Democratic and Republican leadership plus  ranking members of both the Senate Labor Committee and the House Commerce Committee. 
LBJ Library photo 5221-5a, public domain. 

April 28, 1967. LBJ referees a meeting with Congressional Leadership on the ongoing railroad labor dispute. Members present include Democratic and Republican leadership plus  ranking members of both the Senate Labor Committee and the House Commerce Committee. 

LBJ Library photo 5221-5a, public domain. 

April 10, 1967. Sen. Mike Mansfield (Democratic Majority Leader) and Sen. Everett Dirksen (Republican Minority Leader)  attend LBJ’s bipartisan Congressional leadership meeting in the Cabinet Room. 

April 10, 1967. Sen. Mike Mansfield (Democratic Majority Leader) and Sen. Everett Dirksen (Republican Minority Leader)  attend LBJ’s bipartisan Congressional leadership meeting in the Cabinet Room. 

March 22, 1967. LBJ has an off-the-record visit with Henry Hall Wilson, his liaison with House of Representatives, and a Congresswoman from Michigan named Martha W. Griffiths. 
Wilson’s memo describes their 20-minute meeting: 

“Mrs. Griffiths urged that the President take steps in various directions to provide for equality of the sexes in federal statute and departmental regulations.”

Griffiths was already a well-known advocate for women’s rights. Her most famous work is still to come, however: in 1970 she will lead the fight in the House for the Equal Rights Amendment. 
Photo from the Library of Congress.

March 22, 1967. LBJ has an off-the-record visit with Henry Hall Wilson, his liaison with House of Representatives, and a Congresswoman from Michigan named Martha W. Griffiths. 

Wilson’s memo describes their 20-minute meeting: 

Mrs. Griffiths urged that the President take steps in various directions to provide for equality of the sexes in federal statute and departmental regulations.”

Griffiths was already a well-known advocate for women’s rights. Her most famous work is still to come, however: in 1970 she will lead the fight in the House for the Equal Rights Amendment. 

Photo from the Library of Congress.

March 1, 1967. LBJ attends a Cabinet Meeting. According to the Daily Diary: 

"The President followed the agenda including a report by Secy Rusk on foreign affairs and by Secy McNamara on the military situation in VietNam. The President reviewed with each Cabinet Member, except for Secy Rusk who had left to meet the press, the status of the legislation before the Congress. He asked for reports by Friday of authorizations, appropriations and the status of Bills so that he might study them at the ranch this weekend." 

LBJ Presidential Library photo #C4652-13, public domain. 

March 1, 1967. LBJ attends a Cabinet Meeting. According to the Daily Diary: 

"The President followed the agenda including a report by Secy Rusk on foreign affairs and by Secy McNamara on the military situation in VietNam. The President reviewed with each Cabinet Member, except for Secy Rusk who had left to meet the press, the status of the legislation before the Congress. He asked for reports by Friday of authorizations, appropriations and the status of Bills so that he might study them at the ranch this weekend." 

LBJ Presidential Library photo #C4652-13, public domain. 

November 8, 1966. The election returns are in. Republicans have captured three seats in the Senate and 47 seats in the House of Representatives: it is now 248/187 in the House and 64/36 in the Senate, with the Democrats still in the majority in both. One of the new Republican Senators is former Massachusetts Attorney General Edward Brooke, who becomes the first African American elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction.
The Republican resurgence bodes ill for LBJ in 1968, although in his conversation with the Vice President on Nov. 9, he puts a positive spin on the results. LBJ blames the loss on “fool liberals,” labor—especially the fight over Taft-Hartley 14(b), a right-to-work law—and even Martin Luther King.

November 8, 1966. The election returns are in. Republicans have captured three seats in the Senate and 47 seats in the House of Representatives: it is now 248/187 in the House and 64/36 in the Senate, with the Democrats still in the majority in both. One of the new Republican Senators is former Massachusetts Attorney General Edward Brooke, who becomes the first African American elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction.

The Republican resurgence bodes ill for LBJ in 1968, although in his conversation with the Vice President on Nov. 9, he puts a positive spin on the results. LBJ blames the loss on “fool liberals,” labor—especially the fight over Taft-Hartley 14(b), a right-to-work law—and even Martin Luther King.

November 8, 1966. Election Day. As the results roll in, it is not a surprise that Democratic Congressman Jeffrey Cohelan wins his left-leaning California district, which includes Berkeley and northern Oakland. The real fight for the seat occurred five months ago, during the Democratic primary. 

Robert Scheer, an editor of the leftist Ramparts magazine, had challenged Cohelan with  an explicitly anti-Vietnam War platform. Their battle for the Democratic nomination was widely perceived as a referendum on the war, and Scheer came closer than expected to beating Cohelan in the primary when he garnered 45% of the vote. It is an early sign of the anti-war movement’s gathering momentum. 

November 8, 1966. Election Day. LBJ casts his vote at the Pedernales Electric Coop, Johnson City, Texas.
The campaigning in these midterm elections has been fierce: after the 1964 Demoratic sweep, the Republicans have rebounded and are focused on issues of inflation;  the costs of the Great Society programs, and those programs’ failures and disappointments; crime; racial strife and riots; a stalled Vietnam War effort, as well as its rising toll in money and lives; and the perceived ”credibility gap" of the Johnson administration on many of these issues.  
Democrats had enjoyed two years of a 295/140 majority in the House, and 67/33 majority in the Senate, and have controlled the majority of state governors and legislatures. Few Democrats expect to keep all of their contested seats: the question is how many they will lose. LBJ, for his part, was too good a student of politics to not expect a backlash against his policies—as early as February 1965 he warned his staff that their days of effective leadership were numbered. 
LBJ Presidential Library photo #3849-30a. Public domain. 

November 8, 1966. Election Day. LBJ casts his vote at the Pedernales Electric Coop, Johnson City, Texas.

The campaigning in these midterm elections has been fierce: after the 1964 Demoratic sweep, the Republicans have rebounded and are focused on issues of inflation;  the costs of the Great Society programs, and those programs’ failures and disappointments; crime; racial strife and riots; a stalled Vietnam War effort, as well as its rising toll in money and lives; and the perceived ”credibility gap" of the Johnson administration on many of these issues.  

Democrats had enjoyed two years of a 295/140 majority in the House, and 67/33 majority in the Senate, and have controlled the majority of state governors and legislatures. Few Democrats expect to keep all of their contested seats: the question is how many they will lose. LBJ, for his part, was too good a student of politics to not expect a backlash against his policies—as early as February 1965 he warned his staff that their days of effective leadership were numbered

LBJ Presidential Library photo #3849-30a. Public domain. 


October 10, 1966. Home rule for Washington, D.C. fails for the final time in the 89th Congress, when a cloture motion to forestall a Southern filibuster falls short by 11 votes. The nation’s capital city will continue to have no local representative government and no representation in Congress. While home rule bills passed both the House and Senate in 1965, the differences between the bills proved irreconcilable both in 1965 and in 1966. LBJ considered home rule in majority-black DC to be a civil rights issue, and he had urged the adoption of the Senate bill in his 1966 State of the Union.
The battle for home rule had launched a new activist group headed by Marion Barry, the Free D.C. Movement. Some other civil rights groups, though strong supporters of home rule, were put off by the new Movement’s aggressive tactics. Staunchly aligned against home rule were Southern Senators like LBJ’s old friend Richard Russell and some powerful local organizations like the Board of Trade. LBJ’s ardent supporter—and sometime critic —Senator Wayne Morse had attached the home rule bill to a college aid bill in a last-ditch attempt at passage, but despite the support of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, among others, home rule proponents will have to wait until the next Congress to try again.
Photo by Rob Shenk via Flickr Creative Commons.

October 10, 1966. Home rule for Washington, D.C. fails for the final time in the 89th Congress, when a cloture motion to forestall a Southern filibuster falls short by 11 votes. The nation’s capital city will continue to have no local representative government and no representation in Congress. While home rule bills passed both the House and Senate in 1965, the differences between the bills proved irreconcilable both in 1965 and in 1966. LBJ considered home rule in majority-black DC to be a civil rights issue, and he had urged the adoption of the Senate bill in his 1966 State of the Union.

The battle for home rule had launched a new activist group headed by Marion Barry, the Free D.C. Movement. Some other civil rights groups, though strong supporters of home rule, were put off by the new Movement’s aggressive tactics. Staunchly aligned against home rule were Southern Senators like LBJ’s old friend Richard Russell and some powerful local organizations like the Board of Trade. LBJ’s ardent supporter—and sometime critic —Senator Wayne Morse had attached the home rule bill to a college aid bill in a last-ditch attempt at passage, but despite the support of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, among others, home rule proponents will have to wait until the next Congress to try again.

Photo by Rob Shenk via Flickr Creative Commons.

June 9, 1966. An irritated LBJ takes Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen, R-Illinois, to task for speaking to the press about Vietnam. LBJ has heard that Dirksen wants to have a bipartisan conference on the war: LBJ tells Dirksen to “put on your hat and come down here” if he wants to talk rather than going to the media. 

Once more this year I am asking the Congress to join in an attack on the discrimination that still afflicts our land.

Four times in nine years the representatives of the people have labored through days and nights—through weeks and months-toward the passage of civil rights legislation.

I was part of each of those efforts. I know the fatigue and the triumph that accompanied them. Thus I do not ask for new laws lightly.

Yet discriminatory racial practices still exist in many American communities. They deny the Negro his rights as a citizen. They must be ended. I ask the Congress:

First, to reform our federal criminal statutes to provide Negroes and all who labor or speak for racial justice the protection of stronger and more effective criminal laws against interference with the exercise of long established rights.

Second, to establish detailed procedures of jury selection in federal courts so that discrimination may be banished—and to create forceful guarantees that state court juries also will be selected without discrimination of any kind.

Third, to broaden the Attorney General’s authority to bring suit for the desegregation of schools and public facilities—enabling him to commit the government’s legal resources where they are most critically needed.

Fourth, to declare a national policy against racial discrimination in the sale or rental of housing, and to create effective remedies against that discrimination in every part of America.

President Johnson, Special Message to the Congress Proposing Further Legislation To Strengthen Civil Rights, April 28, 1966.

March 2, 1966. An amendment to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin resolution is defeated in the Senate, 95-5. The amendment had been submitted by Wayne Morse, a Democrat from Oregon  who (along with Alaska senator Ernest Gruening) had been one of two No votes on the Resolution in 1964. According to Vice President Humphrey, LBJ didn’t hold his Vietnam position against Morse: 

"…But every Thursday Morse would get up in the Senate and say he was going to impeach Johnson over the weekend. And Johnson would still call him up and ask him to come over to the White House. he never mentioned his attacks.
"Because he knew that after Wayne’s attack on Thursdays, and this went on for months, years, Wayne would be back the next Monday and give a rip-roaring speech on the Senate floor about Johnson’s great domestic programs.
"Then it would come Thursday again, and Wayne would want to impeach him again. "

— Hubert Humphrey, in Merle Miller, Lyndon: An Oral Biography. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1980, p. 460. More on Wayne Morse here. Photo from Senate.gov.

March 2, 1966. An amendment to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin resolution is defeated in the Senate, 95-5. The amendment had been submitted by Wayne Morse, a Democrat from Oregon  who (along with Alaska senator Ernest Gruening) had been one of two No votes on the Resolution in 1964. According to Vice President Humphrey, LBJ didn’t hold his Vietnam position against Morse: 

"…But every Thursday Morse would get up in the Senate and say he was going to impeach Johnson over the weekend. And Johnson would still call him up and ask him to come over to the White House. he never mentioned his attacks.

"Because he knew that after Wayne’s attack on Thursdays, and this went on for months, years, Wayne would be back the next Monday and give a rip-roaring speech on the Senate floor about Johnson’s great domestic programs.

"Then it would come Thursday again, and Wayne would want to impeach him again. "

— Hubert Humphrey, in Merle Miller, Lyndon: An Oral Biography. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1980, p. 460. More on Wayne Morse here. Photo from Senate.gov.

February 1966. Senator J. William Fulbright, a Democrat from Arkansas, begins hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which he is Chairman. Fulbright had voted in favor of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, as had all but two Senators, but he has since declared doubts. Listen here to LBJ speaking to Larry O’Brien about Fulbright on February 5. 
Above: Fulbright and LBJ  look at art together in happier times, at the White House Arts Festival in 1965. They are looking at (Squaring the Circle) by Richard Anuszkiewicz.

February 1966. Senator J. William Fulbright, a Democrat from Arkansas, begins hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which he is Chairman. Fulbright had voted in favor of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, as had all but two Senators, but he has since declared doubts. Listen here to LBJ speaking to Larry O’Brien about Fulbright on February 5. 

Above: Fulbright and LBJ  look at art together in happier times, at the White House Arts Festival in 1965. They are looking at (Squaring the Circle) by Richard Anuszkiewicz.