Lessons from Lyndon Johnson

I’m in the middle of the third book in Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson. In brief, Caro’s thesis is that (1) Lyndon Johnson cares only about power, and (2) Lyndon Johnson is spectacularly skilled at politics. Moreover, (2) holds in a strong sense: Johnson is not simply skilled at politics, but far more skilled than nearly everyone around him. As a result, Johnson’s life is an example of asymmetric play in a theoretically symmetric game, and a beautiful illustration of how such asymmetric play is equivalent to the game itself having asymmetric rules.