I was first elected to Congress in 1964. That was the year Lyndon Johnson won a full term as president in a landslide. If ever a president had a popular mandate to pursue his goals, it was LBJ in the few years that followed that election.
Yet one of my strongest memories of him is not of a president reveling in partisan supremacy, but of his cautioning against it. Johnson used to love meeting with freshman members of Congress, and after taking office we Democrats who’d been elected along with him had every expectation that he would allow us to bask at the expense of our Republican colleagues. He didn’t. “I’m an American first,” he told us. “And I’m a Democrat second.”