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1960: A SPHINX AND SOME LIBERALS AUSTIN As an objective matter Atty. Gen. Will Wilson now dominates the prospect of the governor’s race of 1960. “The liberals” do not “have” a candidate. Marshall Formby, the highway commission chairman, has thrust himself into contention for the support of “the conservatives” and boasts privately he can get all the money he wants, but he is unstyled for high office. Were this the situation in 1960, with Gov. Daniel not seeking re-election, Wilson would win. The pundits say he is bound to do just this. The situation, however, is still “fluid” in that anyone can drown in it. Ennui is too apparent among the speculators for their dispositions to be taken as oracular. The customary “casting about” is now occurring in the liberal camp for a candidate at once a trustworthy liberal and a possible winner. The situation is somewhat like the problem of the national Democrats upon Roosevelt’s death : Yarborough’s pre-emptive candidacies left little dramatic room for other liberals, and now that he has succeeded in Washington, he leaves behind him a vacuum for the rising leadership. N E POSSIBILITY is Dr. Byron Abernethy, now a consultant and arbitrator in labor-management matters in Lubbock. Abernethy understands the character of Texas politics and long ago took his unfrighted stand with the liberal Democrats. He,is personally, privately, publicly, politically liberalby which I only mean, he seeks continuously to find out what is best for the most people, he takes his position there, and he has been there long enough to understand that he is one of the liberal Democrats in Texas, that community of each-other-understanding Texans who convene wherever a fight for liberalism has been announced or scented. He believes that anyone standing in the middle of the road does not understand and cannot effectively lead Texas politics. Professorial and verbally careful, Abernethy might not be able to become known well enough in the next two years to compete with Will Wilson’s name and financing. This is not only the risk for Abernethy but for any other candidate the liberals put forward as an inheritor of the liberal leadership. Friends of Judge James Sewell would still like to see him run for the governorship, but many doubt that he will. He hovered at the edge of the diving rock last summer but finally decided the water was too cold. Perhaps now Sen. Gonzalez would give. him a personal assurance that it was. In any event Sewell would consider his place now as a district judge and the difficulty a blind man might have attaining another as satisfying in private life, but he may believe that the need for a standard-bearer is more important even than this risk when the moment comes in 1960. Walter Hall, the liberal and articulate Dickinson banker, has also been discussed. His credentials as a Democrat are frayed from many years of honorable use, most recently, for example, as the eloquent keynoter at the last DOT convention. His affluence would weigh with voters for whom respectability is enough. A hitch : he defends Lyndon Johnson against all criticism, is in fact an extreme Johnson adulator. That would have to be weighed and re-weighed. Recently at a dinner table the name of Chris Dixie of Houston came up. Dixie is one of the state’s most accomplished speakers and most distinguished attorneys. A former law clerk to Justice Black, his advocacies have set many court precedents, especially in the fields of civil rights and labor relations. Although his practice includes various kinds of law, he would be called a labor lawyer simply because he does represent unions frequently. As a candidate he would be an articulate and convincing colonizer for liberalism and, given enough sail, a winner. \(For once Democrats could known and would have the formidable Wilson legend to overcome. In any event, if the liberals do not contrive to advance a candidate into the limelight immediately, they will not have much chance at the governorship two years from now. DISCUSSIONS of the 1960 race do return to Wilson. He is a difficult man to make out. For some months we have been trying. He has been patient and responsive, which we appreciate ; we haN* always been gratified that he is a regular reader of the Observer. He does not believe in two-party politics in a state in which one-party politics has put premiums on guile and personality, giving the state O’Daniel, Stevenson, Shivers, and Daniel. He is a “middle-roader” in a state in which LAMPASAS, AUSTIN The apparently routine appearance of a speaker on freedom before a routine group of school teachers in Lampasas last week set off reactions that trace rather pathetically the warping of a worthy purpose into a sullen threat. After a week of probing into the background of the “Cen-Tex Study of America’s Heritage,” the Observer can say that the Texas Bureau of Economic Understanding’s project for bringing the study of America’s heritage to four counties in the hill country is a shabby facade resting somewhat uncomfortably on a solid foundation. The instrument of TBEU’s purpose, a speaker named Kenneth Wells, turned the bright sheen of “understanding” into the sickly dross of prejudice. Wells, president of an organization called Freedoms Foundation, so intermingled his fear of Russian communism with his fear of what he called the “socialist conspiracy” in this country that the total of his frights included not only the Russians labor leaders, Jews, Negroes, TVA, the Democratic Party, “modern” Republicans who have endorsed the New Deal, left-wing school teachers, social GALVESTON The strike of Galveston Typographical Union Local 28 against the Galveston News and Tribune reached its one-year milestone Dec. 4. Of the original 55 who walked out of the composing room of the News Publishing Company, 38 are still taking their turns at strike duty. One of the original strikers has died. Others have taken “travelers,” permits from the union to go elsewhere temporarily to work. Several babies have been born in the families of men on strike; one of the four women strikers has become a mother. A boycott against the Galveston dailies, owned by the Moody estate, which also operates the American National Insurance Co. and the National Hotels chain, has met with some success, particularly among union members, who number more than 20,000 in Galveston County. The union claims that circulation of the newspapers has been reduced by some 40 per cent or more, although the publisher disputes this. The strike has been costly to the News Publishing Co. For a while, about 13 weeks, the company was entitled to “strike insurance” paid by the Newspaper Publishers Assn., but that ran out. Other sympathetic publishers also provided non-union workers for the struck papers’ composing rooms. The striking printers deride the quality of work turned out by their being in the middle has recently meant, at most intersections, turning with the Republicans. He firmly refuses to take positions on matters of general belief and philosophy, arguing that he thinks of politics as he does of judicial work ; but the voters have to know what a man feels as well as the techniques by which he thinks ; they cannot give their power to a political sphinx. His Supreme Court decisions are alleged to have been conservative, and he is admittedly very close to many big bankers and insurancemen, so while we know he is not a liberal, we do not know that he is not a conservative. Suspicion tempts ; is the judicial predilection a stance or a cloak? We now have before us, also, two cases in which Wilson has reversed his official and public positions, for reasons not impressive, in matters over which he had material official effect, and sided with interests which are security and “other socialistic ideologies.” The Observer was able to report that his expenses were paid in part by a Fort Worth business group; that pamphlets had been printed asserting that a “business-education partnership” was diligently at work removing “fallacious preachments” from the schools and attesting further that the Texas Education Agency knew all about it and was supporting the project with all vigor ; that the state education agency had designed and printed a series of “Teachers’ Inventory and Diary” forms to measure the program’s progress ; that the Hill Country project was only one of many and a score of additional counties were being “organized” to “capture converts to freedom.” THERE IS NO businesseducation partnership, now says J. W. Edgar, the state education commissioner, and there have been no changes in textbooks at the behest of the business group. The teachers’ diaries were not used, says Harvey Ballew, Lampasas superintendent. There has been no distribution of the group’s economic material in the public schools, say both educators. So the picture is not so frightening; replacements. Bulletin boards at strike headquarters have been covered with pages on which errors in headlines, advertisements and text were gleefully encircled in pencil by the strikers. Under the chairmanship of S. D. George, National Maritime Union port agent in Galveston, a committee of 36 union leaders has called upon the news Publishing Company to meet with the union and negotiate a settlement of the long dispute. Other strikes by the printers in the past occurred at Corpus Christi and Beaumont. In each case the union was destroyed and has not reappeared again. The Galveston strikers have no thought of quitting, says R. A. Cary, chairman of the local’s executive committee. “Strike Highlights,” a union radio program which calls for assistance for the union and its campaign to reduce the circulation of the struck papers: continues to be aired daily except Sunday over the radio, although the time has been cut down from fifteen minutes to five minutes a day now. Whitney Martin, chairman of the union’s scale committee, estimates that the strike has cost the ITU and its Local 28 almost $200,000. Union spokesmen say that as a result of the strike, similar attacks comtemplated by publishers against three other typographical union locals in cities about the size of Galveston in Texas have been abandoned. AL HIEKEN important to him politically. These are the . McAshan-Elkins bank charter dispute and the suit he brought which had the effect of removing Renne Allred from the ICT suit against many defendants, including Republic Bank of Dallas. These mysteries come to mind, as mysteries will, before his virtues do his skill as an administrator ; his campaign against the loan sharks; his friendly personal aspect ; and, as one of his supporters put it in Austin the other night, the point that as of now “he is the only anti-segregationist with a chance to win the governorship in 1960.” In politics, especially in Texas, where we are required to be cynics by recent history so saturated in trickery, a candidate is guilty until he is proved innocent. So with Wilson we must wait, watch, and reflect. R.D. we have not yet reached the point where free steak dinners for teachers are a valid entre to the classroom, where dollars and business prestige can overwhelm the principles of educational inquiry. But teachers have been influenced. Of little solace is the knowledge that the division of internal revenue looks askance at tax exempt organizations that preach anti-Semitism or that the Department of Justice has taken more than one such group to court. A more personal question is how did a mild-mannered fellow like Bob Lawrence, executive-secretary of the TBEU, stumble into such a morass of political extremism? In 1951, Lawrence and the Texas Better Business Bureau were a part of the Texas Council on Economic Education which sponsored, in conjunction with the University of Texas, workshops on economics that have been hailed by college officials and school superintendents throughout the state. Featuring panels composed of men from management, agriculture, labor, and education and economics faculties, the workshops wereand still are, for the program is in force todaybalanced and challenging presentations designed not to propagandize but simply to stimulate students to think. In 1951, the Better Business Bureau, financial backbone of the workshops, pulled out of the organization at Lawrence’s insistence, and Lawrence helped set up a separate program under the title “Texas Bureau of Economic Understanding.” The projects under the bureau did not feature panels that represented equally management, labor, and agriculture, with educators and economists serving as moderators. Rather, in the words of Edgar, their speakers were “generally conservative.” Along the narrowed path of partisanship, the TBEU tried to conduct its “educational” program in the public schools. Last week in Lampasas, partisanship became fanaticism. M EANWHILE, the Texas Council on Economic Education \(Obs. the intervening period with vastly diminished funds but with some enthusiastic Texans, both conservative and liberal. The total money raised for 1958 was $700, contributed in part by the Dallas News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Bankers, laborleaders, and farmers have appeared on the same panels. One concludes the $700 is being well used. Lawrence’s business groups picked up the tab for 300 dinners for teachers who gathered last week to hear Kenneth Wells; together with the additional money advanced to pay Wells’s travel expenses, the total for the one night approximated $700. LARRY GOODWYN THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 5 Dec. 5, 1958 Newspaper Strikers Hold Out Notes on the Uses of $700