Earlier today, I speculated that a number of Senators who ultimately voted against cloture likely were prepared to vote “yes” if the prospects for success had been better. In fact, Senator Brownback actually did vote yes only to change his vote as the outcome became apparent.
This brings to mind a story Evans and Novak told in their book about Lyndon Johnson’s days as Senate Majority Leader. I read the book 40 years ago, but my memory should be reliable here.
J. Allen Freer represented Delaware in the Senate from 1949 until 1961. As Evans and Novak told it, Freer was always attentive to the interests of the DuPont company. When the Senate had to vote on a piece of legislation as to which DuPont had strong views, Johnson did not lean on Freer unless he needed the vote. Since Johnson was a fabulous vote counter, he could always tell in advance whether he needed Freer’s vote.
On one occasion in which he released Freer, however, Johnson had miscounted. According to Evans and Novak, when this became apparent, the Master of Senate stood up and yelled, “Freer, change your vote.” Freer did.
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