AN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN Perspective for Los Angeles \(With the Austin-American as excited every morning about LBJ-inL.A. as a kiddo his first trip to Disneyland and the Dallas Times-Herald nominating Johnson for president every afternoon, we thought our readers might enjoy a somewhat less provincial approach to the Johnson rocket-putt to Los Angelesthat of Peter Lisagor, Washington bureau chief of the Chicago Daily News, on the front page of that largest evening WASHINGTON Comedian Mort Sahl has/ come close to describing the massive selfassurance of Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, the majority leader who hankers to put his “LBJ” brand on the door of the l’il ole white colonial house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. “Why should he settle for the presidency ?” asks Sahl. Johnson, who sits very tall in the saddle surveying what has come to be regarded as his private domain, the U.S. Senate, is quite willing to make the sacrifice, however. . . . Johnson has a small cult of admirers who believe him to be more than the ablest Democrat available. They also believe him to be a man of near-occult powers capable at least of. minor miracles. They judge him to be a man of such superb manipulative gifts that when the smoke clears at the Los Angeles convention next month, he will have whispered his sweet magic into enough ears to be the party’s standard-bearer in the fall campaign. . . . But it must be reported that, at the moment, this view of Johnson among Democrats is a minority one. Party liberals, who used to look upon his possible candidacy with charitable contempt, Nore as the illusion of a vain man than real, now know that Johnson is in the race for keeps. House Speaker Rayburn, a fellow Texan, was permitted to make ,the formal announcement, inasmuch as Johnson reserves his own public statements for such weighty topics as his belief in God, motherhood, the flag, and the virtuous use of outer space. In their nervous view, the liberal Democrats believe that despite his of forts to place Texas in the “Deep West,” he is still a Southernerand therefore would be a calamity on the ticket in the big Northern cities, where Negro voting blocs would he crucial. Vice-President Nixon, a champion of Negro rights, would, they fear, cut Johnson to ribbons on the issue in the fall campaign. Johnson himself appeared to realize this geographic handicap not too long ago, before he relocated Texas and succumbed totally to the White House fever, when he was quoted as saying: “I don’t think anybody from the South will be nominated in my lifetime. If so, I don’t think he. will be elected.” But equally’ important to the many Democrats here is that Johnson, by his record, is a conservative. He may have hoped that going along responsibly with the Eisenhower program might result in some of Mr. Eisenhower’s popularity brushing off on him, as some people have suggested. But these Democrats believe Johnson went along philosophically as well. They point out that the three times in recent history the Democrats nominated a conservativeAlton B. Park er in 1908, James Cox in 1920, and John W. Davis in 1924they were roundly beaten. “The Democrats are nothing if they’re not an amalgam of minority groups, labor union people, and those who want no part of a standpat conservative,” said one prominent Democrat this week just after Rayburn bared the ill-kept secret of Johnson’s candidacy. SAN ANTONIO The Strickland senatorial runof f campaign against Senator Henry Gonzalez was offensive and repugnant to reflective , observers. It exceeded any recent San Antonio or South Texas campaign in personal attacks and low attempts to arouse latent prejudices. Rep. R. L. “Bob” Strickland was tagged over a year ago to oppose Gonzalez after vain attemps to induce attorney and ex-Rep. Stanley Banks to run. This was Sen. Gonzalez’ first legislative race since his surprise election four years ago, and certain . conservative San Antonians did not . appreciate his liberal ideas or his independent mind. The pressure to win a conservative victory and unseat Gonzalez from his “undeserved position” drove Strickland to try to capitalize on existing prejudices among Texans, and explicitly on anti-labor prejudices. Obviously he was desperate. The May 4th Democratic primary gave Gonzalez 48 percent of the popular vote, almost but not quite enough to assure his nomination. But Strickland was mainly concerned because the legislative “team” that had for years controlled the Bexar County delegation in the House was whipped, trounced, and stomped in the first primary returns by an independent coalition headed by Rep. Franklin Spears. Voters resoundingly rejected the Team’s stand for a “broad-based tax,” a veiled general sales tax with food and drugs the only exemptions. The tax was conceived by oilman Rep. WASHINGTON Politics, as we all know, makes strange bedfellows, but I find nothing strange in the decision of the ScrippsHoward newspaper chain’s indorsement of Lyndon B. Johnson as the Democratic nominee for President. Is there another Democrat who better reflects the generally Republican viewpoint of Roy W. Howard? The arguments used by the ScrippsHoward newspapers in Johnson’s behalf must, however, have made many Democrats wonder if lanky Lyndon is running on the right ticket. The essence of the criticism directed against Johnson over the years by his own colleagues, as well as the Democratic Advisory Council, has been that he is a leader who does not lead. Run for Oil Once again the El Paso HeraldPost has asked why Texas does not get a reasonable share of its tax income from natural resources. This latest editorial is entitled “Respect Texas Law ?” and reads : 11 Governor Price Daniel says there is a growing disrespect for the -laws of Texas. Well why shouldn’t there be When Texans for the first seven months of the fiscal year paid a tax of $114,735,856 on gasoline made from about 5,736,000 barrels of their oil, while the total produced, 602,983,568 barrels, paid but $83,594,191? When the Governor’s own gas severance beneficiary tax yielded but $131,198? When the tax on crude oil is 4.6 percent and on cigarets 65 percent ? When the tax on natural’ gas is $34,724,935 and that on Texans homes and property is $35,416,256? Yes, how can the people have any respect for such laws? Obviously the state is run for the benefit of the exploiters of our natural resources, not the people of Texas. And may we ask another question, Governor Daniel? Why don’t you do something about it ? Why tax the oil -companies 4.6 percent when the Venezuelans and Arabs collect 50 percent from the same oil companies ? Frates Seeligson, whose defeat by the unknown John Alaniz was the surprise of the May fourth. returns. Strickland, as aTeam member, was weakened by the returns. He needed to bury the tax issue quickly \(at least on attack. HE OBVIOUSLY had the money necessary for heavy campaigning by radio, TV, and newspapers. At the onset 50 persons pledged $25,000 without a quiver. Contributions came easily from lawyers, businessmen, and others who desired to .defeat the only state senator of Mexican descent in Texas history. N So with an overflowing money chest, the campaign reverted to that certain viciousness that exaggerates hatreds and inflames prejudices.. Strickland spent most of his time stressing Gonzalez’ sympathy with labor. Friday night before the Saturday runoff, Strickland’s 30-minute television program featured a film of labor rioting, overturned -cars, and chaotic picketing. He asked if voters Wanted this kind of action in the Texas Senate. A line-up of mug shots of union organizers printed in a Life Magazine story on Jimmy Hof fa was used with the warning that this kind of men would run Texas if Gonzalez was re-elected. It was `:the Port Arthur Story,” adapted to -current fears. . Gonzalez never apologized for his feelings toward Jabor. He It’s traditional for Democrats’ and Republicans alike to agree that politics stops at the water’s edge: But Johnson has gone much further in urging his rivals, notably -Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, and Stuart Symington, to stop criticizing the President for what happened at the “summit” conference. Johnson takes the lofty attitude that he is “not going to do” Khrushchev’s work. for him, by sowing “disunity” in this country. This is what the Scripps-Howard papers find most attractive in his candidacy. In their editorial indorsement they said : “While others are yapping -, and second-guessing President Eisenhower, the tall Texan was unruffled in maintaining that the paramount threat was the rocket-rattling of Khrushchev and Malinaysky, and that America could not be made stronger by partisan acrimony.” Just what does that Mean, except’ for all to pipe down because Ike can do no wrong? It’s OK to Watch the Boys, said he remembered too well when his neighbors sat all day in a two-room shack shelling pecans for two cents a pound. He recalled that his best friend’s mother went blind working. in a garment factOry under incredibly poor working conditions and long hours. STRICKLAND was relying on a heavy vote from the uppermiddle class and -dominantly conservative northside ; he hoped, too. to in-flame labor-haters in other parts of the city. Northside voting fell of f sharply from the first primary. He had leaned too heavily toward the well-of I and perhaps had underestimated the minimum expectations of fair play among San Antonians, regardless of their politics. What he actually succeeded in doing was inciting Gonzalez’ supporters to such a rage, voters in the west, south, and east sidesLatins, teachers, Negroes, firemen, laboring peopleturned out solidly in Gonzalez’ favor. In the end the voters gave Gonzalez nearly a two-to-one margin. The incumbent’s moderate and humorous manner of fielding and striking back at Strickland’s charges revealed him not only as a consummate gentleman, but also as a keen student of politics. Perhaps the senator himself summed up the secret of his landslide success over Strickland when he remarked, “If he does not have dignity, it does not excuse me . if I do not have it.” Tom AND CAROL HATFIELD Johnson implies that any who dare criticize the Administration at the moment when events are fresh in the public mind may be doing the work of the communists. Is this any different from the old McCarthy technique? It is McCarthyism with a drawl. In the way we handled the U-2 incident, this government must bear a heavy share of responsibility for helping to revive Stalinism in Russia and for giving Soviet militarists their chance to rocket-rattle. That’s all that Stevenson, Symington and Kennedy are saying. If they’re wrong, is there any better way to discover it than to bring all the evidence out in the open ? That’s exactly what Johnson is against. It seems reasonable to believe that the least-of what we might expect in a Johnson Administration would be more secrecy, less information, and, perhaps, bigger and better mistakes in the delicate area of foreign policy. ROBERT G. SPIVACK But Remember Who’s Boss rkt Yeah –But Which Ticket?
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