JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITHorder the book
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Galbraith on Lyndon Johnson

We were up in Vermont one summer day, the telephone rang, and LBJ summoned me, asked me to come down to Washington. He had a couple of speeches, he said, and "everybody down here is tired, come on down, write me a couple of speeches." So he sent a plane up to Keene, New Hampshire, and I went down and spent the day in the West Wing, just outside his office.

One was just a diplomatic speech of no consequence. I dashed that off and then went to work on a major speech on economics for the AFL-CIO group. And I worked on it through the day, put in everything I believed that I thought he could be persuaded to accept, and a good deal of rhetoric, and at the end of the day I had finished the speech.

And he came in, put his foot up on the chair, threw away the speech that was of no consequence, and settled in for the main speech. I could see he liked it. He nodded his head and smiled. Finally, he put the speech down he said, "Ah Ken," he said, "just what I want to say. I'm not going to change a word. It's just a wonderful speech."

Then his expression changed and he said, "But nobody else will think so. Did it ever occur to you that making a speech on economics is just like pissing down your leg? It seems hot to you, but not to anybody else?"