What Was Politically Possible for Johnson? If judged on Johnson’s domestic accomplishments alone, his presidency would be labeled a tremendous success. But the War in Vietnam undercut his domestic popularity and cast a cloud over his legacy. Here, perhaps, Johnson's hard-charging political skills contributed to his headaches. He used a minor (some argue fabricated) skirmish off the North Vietnamese coast to force Congress to authorize the escalation of American involvement. He proceeded to oversee a massive investment of American troops and material, and he ordered bombing campaigns that eventually dwarfed World War II efforts in terms of sorties flown and tonnage dropped. As opposition to the war mounted, he embraced misleading reports about troop casualties and military progress that supported his contention that there was a “light at the end of the tunnel.” And when opposition to the war mounted at home, he reminded his critics,“I am the only president you have got.” In January 1968, a massive North Vietnamese and Viet Cong offensive debunked all of the
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