Johnson’s Giftie and Others Who Need It AUSTIN 0 wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us Tosec oursels as ithers see us! Some Vow’r hae gie the giftie to Senator Johnson, at last. In San Angelo, questioned about his presidential candidacy, he answered with a flat “No” and then said why: “I don’t think anybody will be nominated from the South in my lifetime. lf so, I don’t think he’ll be elected.” Johnson owns up to the consequences of his many votes for and compromises with Southern racism. His most recent aye vote for the 1957 civil rights bill has tended to obscure his countless votes with the Southern bloc in the past’ and his responsibility for the omission from the 1957 law of the most important provision, ‘power for the U.S. attorney general to bring civil rights law suits. As long as Texas politicians in Washington and Austin thus side with the South on the Negro question, they cannot possibly aspire toward the presidency. There is. of course, a way a Southerner could attain such a inomination : by taking a bold lead for racial justice. Except for Reconstruction, no Texan in high office has sided with the Negroes since S a M Houston voted against the Kansas-Nebraska bill, for which he lost the subsequent governor’s race, and refused to swear allegiance to the Confederate States, for which he was thrown out of office. Until somebody else comes along with enough of Houston’s guts to try again, Johnson’s statement of the case will have to be accepted. trol the state party. Why has he done this before ?Why is he likely to do it again ? The only plausible explanation is that he counts heavily on his conservative backers and has decided that the place to pay them off is in the Texas political fights. Perhaps someday some Pow’r the giftie will gie the conservatives. They know already that Johnson is not a reliable friend of theirsDick West wrote in the Dallas News, about the pending JohnsonYarborough fight for control of the delegation in 1960, “Conservatives here have never had a yen for Johnson, but they like Yarborough even less”but they will use Johnson again as they have used him before. The Johnsonphiles are going to have to admit now that their motive in the “favorite son” movement for Johnson is to keep Texas in the hands of the right-winger FIA types ; or deny the truth their chief has spoken \(which would make Skelton look even another open hypocrisy, trying to deliver the delegation to Johnson in the name of his phony presidential candidacy. Permitting the Democrats to divide on the issues instead of the personalities appears to be an unthinkable option in Texas politics. What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’c us And ev’n Devotion! We would recommend some of the same _political emetic Johnson has takencandor–for Texas labor lead It wad frac monic a blunder free us And foolish notion: Such as Byron Skelton’s studiously sincere pleading every time he gets a microphone by the throat that “We Texans have a chancewe really have a chanceto elect the next President of the United States !” Johnson and his assistants .winced every time Gov. Daniel endorsed him for president. The same day Johnson said he could not be nominated or elected, Gov. Faubus was endorsing him for the nomination. Despite his now explicit realism about his fleeing ghost of a chance, : Johnson may pitch in again by 1960 to help the Republican-leaning states’ rights Shivercrat-Daniel crowd con HOUSTON The right of Houston teachers to organize, under a charter from the American Federation of Teachers has been established and recognized by the administration of the Houston school district, and the Houston Federation of Teachers, Local 1328 to increase salaries and improve conditions for. the 6,000 classroom teachers here. Dr. W. W. Kemmerer of the school hoard said that while he was not an advocate of unions for teachers he intended to fight for the right of the -teachers to form and join the AFT if that is their desire. The new AFT local’s provisional president, Mrs. Mary E. Heickman, a high school ,art teacher, reported that the local has more than doubled its membership since the initial meeting on November 21 and that new members are joining daily. N. E. Coward, executive secretary o f the Houston Trades and Labor Council, reported that the council voted to back the AFT and provide .financial aid to the new local until it can collect its own funds in dues.. The Harris County legislative delegation and the Houston school board met to discuss proposed special legislation that would make it easier to give teachers a $400-a-year pay raise. It was revealed that the only reason such a law . was not already in effect for HoustOn was that some business interests and their lobbyists induced former Senator Searcy Bracewell to drop. “We ought to consider it a privilege to support our state government.” Price Daniel at Hearne. “States’ rights have drifted away because we have failed to exercise them.”Daniel at Tyler. “Jim Hogg was the greatest governor in all Texas history because he was governor for all of the people, he fought the big trusts and the special interests but at the same time he fought for local self-government and states’ rights.”Daniel at Mineola. “Texas’s financial condition is the healthiest in the whole nation.”Daniel at Coleman. “Texas should have the finest schools in the nation and they should be financed with Texas money and Houston out of a law that allows all other independent school districts in Harris County to increase their tax rate up to a maximum of $1.50 for operation and maintenance and 50 cents for repayment of bonded indebtedness. School Board President Mrs. Dallas Dyer said that certain business interests were responsible for the exclusion. Rep. Dean Johnston and Rep. Bill Kilgarlin speculated on what business interests might be responsible. Stone Wells, now a member of the Houston School board, has been the lobbyist for Tennessee Gas Transmission Co., and Mrs. Dyer is an employee of Tennessee Gas Insurance Co. Former members of the school board told the Observer that school business manager H. L. Mills and James Delmar. connected with the Hughes Tool Co., who was then a board member, lobbied to exclude Houston from the tax ceiling raise legislation, as well as Wells. Rep. Bob Eckhardt said he deeply sympathized with the teachers’ desire for a pay increase. but he added that he did not want to be used by the school board as a buffer between them and the teachers. He raised the question whether any legislation passed at the next session could go into effect in time to be effective by September, when the new school fiscal year begins. Rep. J. E. Winfree, chairman of the delegation. said he believes a local bill could be put through the legislature ‘in 48 hours,” once it was agreed upon. AL HIEKEN ers. Every informed liberal in the state knows now that Johnson is not to be trusted in Texas party affairs. We also know that the word has been sent down from George Meany to Jerry Holleman, Fred Schmidt, Don Ellinger, et al: play up to Lyndon, we need his help in the Senate. This injunction is supposed to extend, not only through the next Congress, but into the selection of the 1960 national convention delegates and their delivery, neatly wrapped and gagged, to Senator Johnson. Well, it must not be. Although discipline, that vile last resource of the organization, shortly may come into play among labor-committed liberals, independents who believe it would be calamitous for Texas Democrats to draggle into the 1960 convention as Johnson lackeys, stripped of their power to make their own decisions, should accept no part in the compromise. Another Johnson candidacy in 1960 would be a front for Daniel-FIA’s continuing control of state of fairs. Liberalism in Texas state government may not be as important to George Meany as labor lobbyist Andy Biemiller getting along with Lyndon Johnson, but it is more important to Texas liberals than the wishes of Meany or any other labor leader. If labor in Washington is so effete that it consents to the sovereignty of Johnson’s personality at the very time the liberals have .unprecedented majorities in both the House AUSTIN This week Price Daniel, a quiet Christian man with gentle features, a soft tread, and a mild voice, completed the first half of the single most important public task he faces in his second term as Governorhe presented his “executive budget” to the state, the legislature, and the people. The task will be completed when he “adds some things” in the traditional governor’s address to the legislature next month. Anything else the state’s chief executive may do on behalf of its people will have to be performed in private conferences with legislators and private pleadings with businessmen. Surely the Governorwho, if the truth be known, probably wants nothing more than to be left alone, freed from the pressures of economic greed lie himself does not share–surely this man must know that history cannot treat him kindly, anymore than it could be kind to Buchanan, Harrison, or Harding, the faint figures of the American past called to lead forces they did not understand and could not control. Here is our Governor, bearing malice to none but those who have hurt him or those he feels have hurt him, unable to do the things he said he wanted to do because his friends won’t let him. Here is a man who speaks of the “finest schools in the nation” but in an era of growing educational crisis in his native state totally surrenders to those more concerned with corporation taxes. For his budget is that, surrender. And the, press conferencein which he presented the imposing bound document, neatly indexed and with a picture of the Capitol superimposed on the coverthis too was a sad ritual of surrender. Almost apologetic about the increases in spending which any reasonable man would grant were inevitable with such a rapidly expanding population, the Governor spoke of the long hours he and his staff worked on budget cuts, how they had attained “minimum increases,” how there was no need for a sales tax or an income tax. He did not say any more about schools “second to none,” or about and Senate, what was the point of having the elections? SENATOR JOHNSON has now himself, provided the candor with which liberals, inside and outside of labor, can reassess their duties to their ideals and the underprivileged of the state. The Texas delegation in the 1960 Democratic convention should be controlled by the delegates, and the delegates should be militantly liberal and independent. But Johnson has also experienced a more general “seeing ourselves”: the time has arrived when segregation and the subtler forms of racism are an intolerable weight upon the conscience of the nation. Two hundred years of oppression !one would think it is about time for the national conscience to reach a decision. “In my lifetime,” Johnson saida rare transcendant seeing, a wisp of an admission that eventually Americans, even Southern Americans, will approach the egalitarian ideal. Meanwhile, as Robert Burns has also writ, Many and sharp the num’rous ills Inwoven with our frame! More pointed still we make ourselves, Regret, Remorse, and Shame! And Man, whose heav’n-erected face The smiles of love adorn, Man’s inhumanity to Man Makes countless thousands mourn! THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 3 December 19, 1958 TEACHERS’ LOCAL GROWS operated by the people and officials of our own local school districts. Pleas; do not be frightened by the scare tactics of those who allege that our finan . cial picture is bad.”Daniel at Liberty \(speaking in each of these instanDaniel’s Retreat from Principle Jim Hogg’s fight against special interests, or about the privilege of supporting one’s state government, or about states’ rights drifting away because we have failed to exercise them. Rather, in his polite, courteous manner, he said as little as possible. In this setting, not a reporter, not even the Observer reporter, asked him the “tough” questions the people deserve to have answered : Why the terrific cuts in the requests of the colleges and universities, and in the recommendations of the Commission on Higher Education ? Why a $1.5 million increase in salaries for the Highway Department, whose situation has not been described as “critical”? Why no recommendationsmuch less why no bold recommendationsfor revitalizing a starved public school system that is among the worst in the nation? The reporters let the private man go. But of the public man, the Governor, we will ever remember his claim that taxes in Texas are lower, than in surrounding states and lower than other states of comparable size. We will ever remember that this fact, stated almost plaintively under the pressure of questions about increased state expenses, is not Price Daniel’s defense, it is to the contrary the emblem of his failure. What he has said is’ that Texas is low in its taxes and awful in its public schools, and yet we must postpone the Hale-Aikin remedies ; he has said that there will be cuts for the colleges which have no lobby, but expansion in highway building where lobbyists abound. To the presidents of Texas and ARM who have traveled the state carrying the message of the crisis in higher education, to the Commission on Higher Education itself, Daniel’s budget is a craven acknowledgement that he has not the strength to fight on their behalf. In a more tranquil era, Daniel might have passed his budget test with no tough decisions to make, with no recriminations from history. But the time is not tranquil, and the crisis thundering upon us is a real one, affecting every school child, every college student, every Texan anxious to see the state escape from the backwaters of side-stepped responsibilities and government by deal. LARRY GOODWYN
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