It many ways, under the new Congress, it is Lyndon Johnson’s legacy—not Obama’s—that stands most in jeopardy of being unraveled.
At the heart of LBJ’s belief system was the conviction that government should unlock potential for individuals while recognizing that individuals also have certain core obligations to each other. This seems to be the antithesis of the world view promoted by Paul Ryan, a self-professed Ayn Rand enthusiast. In Ryan’s world (and Rand’s), individuals must be free and unfettered, with minimal compulsion or commitment to each other. (Of course, Ryan is an imperfect poster child for his own ideological revolution. After his father died at a young age, the future speaker got by on Supplementary Social Security. He went to a public university, subsidized by other people’s taxes, and for most of his adult life has collected a government paycheck. When he leaves Congress, he will collect a defined benefits pension, subsidized by other people.)