12/06/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

LBJ Can Rest Easy Now

Lyndon Baines Johnson was supposedly depressed on the night in 1964 as he pulled off one of the greatest legislative achievements of his presidency -- the Civil Rights Act that outlawed most forms of racial segregation.

Asked by a young aide, Bill Moyers, why he seemed so glum, Johnson, thinking about his beloved Democratic Party, reportedly said, "We have lost the South for a generation."

Even if that quote is merely the stuff of legend, the sentiment behind it was prophetic. In short order, Republican Richard Nixon launched his party's so-called Southern Strategy, turning the region into a GOP base by campaigning against desegregation policies such as "forced" busing to integrate schools.

Barack Obama's election on Tuesday to become the nation's first African-American president proves that by doing the right thing Johnson and his party ultimately got their reward -- points in heaven and votes on the ground.

Craig blogs daily at CQ Politics

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