Bartlett Appears Exclusively in the Texas Observer POLL TAX HOMILIES Let those flatter who fear, it is not an American art.JEFFERSON Frankie and Johnny r JoliticJ If you’re interested, the Observer this issue has called and hot-footed around to find out who will admit he’s running for what next summer. Much of the most tedious talk about politics runs along whogoofed, who’s-running lines, but it’s the staple of the democratic diet. Just about everybody, even “The Texas Businessman,” the Austin advisory to Texas fat-cats, believes Governor D a n i el has goofed. If our heart is not precisely bleeding for him, we do permit it to pump sympathetically a few moments, early in the day. It seems to us he is not as bad as such a man as Shivers, who could laugh as he gutted you and entertain you the next evening, being not only a Cynic, but an efficient one ; nor is he as bad as a whole-cloth Hypocrite like, say, Rep. Joe Pool, who orates for bills he doesn’t believe in and one time even sponsored a . measure deviously intended to vacate the higher job he wanted. No, poor Governor Daniel is best thought of as pietistic ; he is not like the Cynic, who deceives the people and takes the initiates into his confidence, nor like the Hypocrite, who tries to deceive everybody, but is rather like the village cleric \(scuttling along to his quarters now and then to nurture a cenself about his own motives. One cannot, however, be too soft-hearted in politics, for to approach a man in a human way only is to neglect his potentiality for damaging the community. While we did warn of this potentiality in Daniel in 1956, we did not, nor did anyone else, guess how ripe he was for its melancholy maturation. Intending well, one believes, he did not fight well for lobbyist registration ; his achievement in persuading the legislature to spend a million dollars for water research is tarnished by his extravagant claims about it ; his awkward refusal to admit that spreading unemployment ought now to be the first order of business in the state, instead of the third oil-tidelands defense, which cannot be much more than adequate and perfunctory, gives clue again to his capacity for self-deception ; his preaching about the primacy of the individual, his benevolent appearances at gatherings of Latin and Jewish organizations, became mocking echoes, haunting shadows, when he was under pressure from East Texas irresponsibles. It may be that he will be the best the people can get in 1958; to be sure, there would be a certain poignance should he be retired after so brief an enjoyment of his most cherished office. But if a bet ter man offers himself, even if he Published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd. JANUARY 10, 1958 Ronnie Dugger Editor and General Manager Lyman Jones, Associate Editor Sarah Payne, Office Manager Dean Johnston, Circulation-Advertising EDITORIAL and BUSINESS OFFICE: 504 West 24th St., Austin, Texas. Phone GReenwood 7-0746. HOUSTON OFFICE: 2501 Crawford. Mrs. R. D. Randolph, Dean Johnston. Entered as second-class matter, April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. does not have a strong chance, what option will we have but to back him? To favor the incumbent would be, more sympathetic considerations aside, to favor a man who. does not seem to know his wish from his will and who yields, in his confusion, to others who do. Who might his opponent be? It might be Walter Hall, the liberal Dickinson banker ; it might be James Sewell, the faithful Democratic judge in Corsicana; it might be Charles Herring, the swift-rising state senator from Austin. We would not prejudge the issues, but we do suspect at present that any of these three would do more good, and know more of what they were doing, than Daniel. The lieutenant governor’s situation has taken a novel turn. Lt. Gov. Ben Ramsey, the last potent carryover from Shiversism, has let it be known he won’t run for reelection unless Daniel is opposed, as Ramsey knows very well that if his race is in the spotlight, he will be crushed under by the indignant liberal and laboring voters. Now it appears to us that Waco DA Tom Moore might be an appropriate candidate against Ramsey. Moore ran fresh and strong against Will Wilson in 1956, he showed. he has courage and charm ; he is now apparently overcoming his coyness about siding with the liberals, which is well. We also suggest that liberals should espouse Sen. Henry Gonzalez’s cause for this race. He is widely known, and he is just about as splendid as good politicians get. It is now quite nearly certain that Sen. Yarborough will seek reelection. If multimillionaire William Blakley is foolish enough to think he can defeat one of the most promising U. S. senators in the country, he is welcome to try. Unless Atty.’ Gen. Will Wilson decides to bid for Daniel’s job on the theory that he would get caught in 1960 without any higher office to run for if Daniel were defeated in 1958, Herring has little choice, since he does not seem to be interested in opposing Ramsey, except to run for governor, or stay where he is. Since Herring would have substantial financial backing from conservatives, this would leave the liberal community freer to concentrate on returning Yarborough to the Senate and ridding state government of the pestilential pervasion of Uncle Ben. Quite as important as the statewide elections will be the state legislative races, especially a few on the Senate levelsomebody ought to take on George Parkhouse, his time has come, for examplebut this is quite enough who-goofed, who’s-running badinage for one week. 10 Published once a week from Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $4 per annum. Advertising rates available on request. Extra copies 10c each. Quantity prices available on orders. We will serve no group or party but will hew to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. AUSTIN Who votes may matter. Only eight out of each hundred Texas Negroes do ; were the proportion 92 out of the hundred instead, integration would come quickly because it would profit the politicians to favor it, and Henry Gonzalez could be elected lieutenant governor in the summer. Go to the polls, and you go with the strength of four, the theoretical three who aren’t there, and yourself. And who among our obviously public spirited readers has not heard, first with surprise, finally with nausea, the recitations of elections decided by a vote? But, then, who votes also may not matter. There’s the rub. What did it avail the two million dutiful democrats who inconvenienced themselves to vote in the 1948 Senate election, then to see the issue go, simply, to the side with the slowest umpire? Even the most dedicated poll tax deputy must admit \(late at night, in a still which the exercise of one’s citizenship isn’t worth a dollar-seventy five. The issues may not matter, that is, they may be too radical to be involved, or the candidates may not matter, that is, they may be too involved to be radical. If only one could tell ahead of time. Beyond even this, certain withdrawn philosopher types may take a stand behind the position that politics follow ideas, not ideas politics, that events guide politicians, not politicians events. To be sure they are backing and filling before the argument is through, they have shrugged too readily, but there is a certain charm in what they say. “To what party do you belong?” a Frenchman fleeing a home in the country is asked in The Red and the Black. “To none, and that is what has been fatal to me,” he replies as the coach jogs along toward Paris and the neighborlessness he yearns for : “These are all my politics: I enjoy music, and painting; a good book is an event in my life ; I shall soon be four and forty. How many years have I to live? Fifteen, twenty, thirty, perhaps, at the most. Very well; I hold that in thirty years from now, our Ministers will be a little more able, but otherwise just as good fellows as we have to-day. The history of England serves as a mirror to show me our future. There will always be a King of England who seeks to extend his prerogative; the ambition to enter Parliament, the glory and the hundreds of thousands of francs amassed by Mirabeau will always keep our wealthy provincials awake at night : they will call that being liberal and loving the people. The desire to become a Peer or a Gentleman in Waiting will always possess the Ultras. On board the Ship of State, everyone will wish to be at the helm, for the post is well paid. Will there never be a little corner anywhere for the mere passenger ? “The vicar of the village and the neighboring squires made much of me for the first six months ; I had them to dine; Ihad left Paris, I told them, so as never to mention or to hear of politics again. You see, I subscribe to no newspaper. The fewer letters the postman brings me, the happier I am. “This was not what the vicar wanted ; presently I was besieged with endless indiscreet requests, intrigues, and so forth. … I could no longer leave the house in the morning to go and enjoy the beauty of our mountain scenery., without meeting some bore who would interrupt my thoughts with an unpleasant reminder of my fellow men and their evil ways…. A pious old peasant woman’s cow dies, she says that it is because there is a pond close by which belongs to me, the unbeliever, a philosopher from Paris, and a week later I find all my fish floating on the water, poisoned with lime. I am surrounded by trickery in every form. The justice of the peace, an honest man, but afraid of losing his place, always decides against me. The peace of the fields is hell to me .. .” Whereupon this gentle soul is instructed : “You wish to live in the country without ministering to your neighbours’ passions, without even listening to their gossip. What a mistake !” He knows, he has learned it, but he is not moved. Politics does not matter to him! Well, all this is a waya way, no doubt, grieving to those good-hearted workers among our readers who must cope with just such insensible considerationsof coming around to record that if you wish to vote for business-taxers over people-taxers vote for Yarborough over Blakley \(“Ah! That’s more like it!” one can hear, say, Dave Shapiro say, f lipping his poll tax receipt book against vote for anybody over Daniel vote for $7,500 a year for our worthy legislators and vote with the strength of four Then, citizens, you must pay your poll tax on January 31. R.D. &xas Obstrurr
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