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A NEGLECTED AREA FOR TEXAS LIBERALS AUSTIN In 1958 the largest delegation in Congress from the old Confederacy and the sixth largest in the whole nation faced the people of Texas seeking re-election. In that year only Lindley Beckworth of Gladewater and John Dowdy of Athens drew any opposition in the Democratic primary. The famous Stevenson Republican, Grover Cantrell, gave Bruce Alger token primary opposition in the Republican primary. Four candidates fought it out for the open, newly created 22nd seat in south Harris County. Alger was opposed in November. Actually 18 of the 22 seats were filled again by their incumbents with no opposition of any kind. The public ,was offered no choice, the candidates made no public commitments, the issues were not debated, and the powerful Texas bloc gained another year in seniority and further widened the gap between themselves and the people. And few people seemed to care. In the excitement of the Senate race and the governor’s race and the sherif f’s race and the princinct chairman’s race and the lieutenant governor’s race and the commissioner’s race, the congressional seats were ignored. Liberals and labor people who insisted that a About the Author AUSTIN W. bon Ellinger, our guest columnist this week, is the director of Area No. 8 of the Committee on Political Education, AFL-CIO, which embraces five statesKansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. WASHINGTON One thousand pages of fine type and 300 hours after the civil rights debate opened, the United States Senate was as unsure of its new rule on cloture as it was more than a year ago. When the Senate pajama party went into its second round-the-clock week, Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson and the Republican leaders doubted if the filibuster could be called of fyet. Johson aut h or e d and pushed through a compromise cloture rule in January, 1959. It says that two-thirds of those present and voting can invoke then, cloture could come only with the approval of two-thirds of the entire Senate. Had the clOture rule proposals of Senators Douglas, Humphrey, and other liberals been adopted, a majority of the Senate could now act on ‘a strong civil rights bill instead of waiting out a Milltown marathon that most likely will end in a compromise bill. The liberals wanted a majority of the Senate to be able to limit debate. ‘Of course, I know you’re equal. But I had to compromise.’ From The Rattler, St. Mary’s University bad legislator be challenged or that a Shivercrat county chairman be opposed felt little compulsion to seek friendly candidates for the Congress. In 1960 a few more seats will be contested, actually seven including the Tweedledee-Tweedledum race in Dallas, out of 22 Congressmen. Fifteen men who make the laws of the land, who determine the amount of the social security checks, the price of cotton, the funds for REA, the tax rate, the housing interest rate, the cost of a postage stamp, and the issues of war and peace return to Washington without even a murmur. Among these Democrats are some who have opposed their party and betrayed the people of Texas on every crucial vote for a decade. There are some whose record is a credit to our state and a tribute to their innate decency. Some liberals in Texas who were tearing out their heart seeking an opponent for Lyndon ‘Johnson, who had a ten to one good record in 1959 on the AFL-CIO scoreboard, were willing to see Bob Casey of Houston go back unopposed despite his one to nine bad record on the same issues. Liberals, who will rally to the school board meeting to defend a decent educational program, seem unaware or unconcerned that it was the Texas delegation to Congress which killed the federal aid to education bill in 1957. The bill lost 208-203 and Texas cast 21 votes against federal aid. The states’-righters seeking to weaken the federal government won a signal victory in the House in 1959 Three camps are staked around the filibuster. Eighteen die-hard Southern senators say they won’t compromise. Equally fervent liberals from both parties say they won’t either. In the middle is Johnson, offering his cornpromises, backed by some Western Democrats and Midwestern Republicans. ,., of the senators would vote for a strong civil rights bill. But at the -beginning of this week Johnson and Minority Leader Everett Dirksen decided that it would be impossible to muster 67 bate so that the whole Senate could vote on the substantive matter of civil rights. That is, not until an agreement is reached ori.a compromise bill. ‘William Shannon of the New York Post remarked : “It is almost certain that the Senate, sooner or later, will impose cloture on the Southern filibuster. This is not because the liberals want it but because Johnson and the Southern bloc want it. Johnson wants to demonstrate that cloture is possible under the fake reform of Rule 22 which he engineered in 1959. The Southerners want cloture imposed because they wish to prove to the folks back home that they carried the fight to the utmost limit. The question is not so much whether there will be cloture but on what terms it will be arranged. Johnson and Dirksen are going to make available the necessary two-thirds majority when it suits their purposes.” Johnson has publicly pledged a civil rights bill that will protect voting rights. But his first offer of compromise was on this measure. He sent a plan to a Republican caucus that would have given voting registrars another chance to mend their ways after a complaint had been filed by a prospective voter. Republicans rejested it. Observers believe that Johnson is plugging for a civil rights bill that includes only the voting rights provision. This would eliminate provisions for upholding the Supreme Court’s desegregation decision and for aiding schools attempting to desegregate, fed when H.R. 3, sponsored by Smith of Virginia, passed 225-192. Only one Texas congressman, Jack Brooks of Beaumont, stood up against the tide. Had the Texas vote been reversed, the bill would have been defeated. Even on measures which have overwhelming support in the House, we find the great state of Texas in the role of the least progressive state. .Only 89 congressmen voted against statehood for Hawaii, despite a promise more than 60 years old, and 16 of them were from Texas, with a Texan, Walter Rogers of Pampa, the floor leader for the bitter enders. THIS FAILURE to keep a watchful eye on our delegation to Congress, their infrequent contact with the general electorate, and the 0.ssionate wooing of our delegation by the oil and gas lobby, the, Dallas Chamber of Commerce, and related interests ; has resulted in a steady decline of the caliber and even the attendance of Texas congressmen. Districts which carried for Ralph Yarborough for governor and senator are represented in Congress by men who cast their votes on the exact opposite side of the fence. The bewildering part of this is to find liberals who have so compartmentalized their activities that they can support a reactionary ongressman for personal reasons and denounce and never forgive a deviation in a, governor’s race. The list of issues which will come before Congress this spring is impressive. Two thirds of the Texas delegation are already re-elected and will not possibly face the voters until 1962. eral laws against bombing schools and places of worship, and others, but most important, the controversial’ Part III, which would give the attorney general jurisdiction over the protection of civil rights, as the Civil Rights Act of 1957 did ‘for voting rights., Johnson has stated that he opposes Part III. Sen. Douglas, a liberal in this fight, stated on the floor last week that a compromise civil rights bill which deludes the public would be worse than no bill at all. Another advocate of a strong bill, Sen. Kenneth Keating, Republican of New York, has stated that “we have not the slightest intention of comprobising our objectives.” As two warring factions struggle on the Senate floor, the Great Master Compromiser steps in and saves all : this is Johnson’s evident role. However, three factors in the civil rights issue may shift the scenery : 1.The demonstrations in the South and elsewhere makes the moderate position an uneasy one. It would be difficult for a senator who consistently supported the moderate viewpoint on civil rights to go home and tell his people that this is all that was wanted and neededeven though Negroes were being hanged upside down from trees. 2.A growing band of liberals is sickened by the constant compromising of Johnson and the “deals” that are worked out between the majority and minority leadership. A compromise on civil rights would be the most flagrant of these. 3.The Republicans; and Vice President Nixon in particular, are ambitious to emerge from the debate as the party that champions civil rights. By getting preference for the Administration’s proposals in the debate, they gained the initiative, and they may want to keep it by being the party that won’t compromise on civil rights. Johnson now holds the center, of the stage and controls the cue lines for the whole Senate. Liberals may be forced ‘to compromise, but they will do so ‘reluctantly and with added antagonism toward the majority leadership. And sadly aware that they were right a year ago. ANNE AND JADE LEWIS Will we lose a federal aid to education bill because a congressman thinks he is safe from the wrath of the parents and school teachers for at least two more years ? Will the extension of the minimum wage to chain stores and hotels be defeated because the Hotel Association can get to the men who have no recent contact with the rank and file of their own voters ? Will a decent housing program fail to vault.. a veto because of Texans who don’t have to sample the will of the people? Will the Forand Bill, to give medical insurance to retired people, founder because . Texas liberals have become almost as states’-rights-minded as their opponents ? If the course of recent Texas history continues, it would seem that it would gave everyone time and money if we just elected Texas congressmen for life and changed the title to Duke or Baron or. Gauleiter. The slight improvement in 1960 in the number of contested races should not cause us to forget that Texas is the only major state in which a congressional nobility exists. There are some practical things that need to be done to remedy this situation. First the ridiculous and arbitrary filing fees should be reduced. In Dallas County, Stevenson Republican Cantrell had to shell out $2,250 to get his name on the ballot. Similar high fees discourage opposition in many districts. The remedy for this is a state-financed primary as provided in most states of the nation. Filing fees high enough to discourage frivolous candidates but returnable if the candidate gets 2Q per cent of the vote are used in other states. A change ‘in the federal income tax law should allow a tax credit of $5 to any citizen contributing to a congressional race, and a similar amount for senator and president. This would permit candidates to enter races with adequate finances to present the issues and debate the problems of the nation. It would be a worthwhile investment of money withheld from taxation to make our biennial and quadrennial elections a real forum of education instead of the one-sided presentation given by the press and their well-heeled stable of candidates. NOTHING WOULD increase the sensitivity of a congressman more than the knowledge that he may have an opponent and that the opponent as well as the incumbent can secure adequate financing. The Texas delegation, with the Speaker of the House, chairmen of three committees, ranking members of three committees, and a member of the powerful rules committee, is one of the most influential in Washington. It is time that the people had more influence with their congressmen. W. DON ELLINGER ENGINEER From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ‘ THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 5 March 11, 1960 Johnson Compromising Away