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The one great rule of composition is to speak the truth. T II ORE :AU The Texas Observer We will , serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. An Independent-Liberal Weekly Newspaper Vol. 522 TEXAS, JUNE 24, 1960 10c per copy No. 12 Johnson of Texas: A Summing Up AUSTIN, WASHINGTON Lyndon Johnson is now a lively candidate for the Democratic nomination. What does he really believe? What kind of a man is he? Many have answered, but few have known. Often they have been too close to him: he is a brilliant advocate of all that he does and does not do. Often they have not studied long enough: he is complex, and has been in Congress 23 years. Sometimes they are glib, with anecdotes: there are so many, they appear everywhere around him. Sometimes they have done violence to the facts: his arrogance and vanity rouse strong feelings. And now and then they have answered from motives they do not admit: he uses his power cannily and sometimes ruthlessly. He is an emotional man and responds emotionally to what is written about him. One must put that aside and think of what is true and fair. There are several ways to find out who he iswhat man he is. There are the mounds of evidence. There are his voting records on every public issue. Texans know him from Texas politics. One can meet him and, later, think about him. He began his public life as a rural liberal, tending toward conservatism on labor and business; basically he has not changed. He has tried to combine countryside liberalism REA co-ops, dams and power on the rivers, water and soil conservation, farm price supportswith restraints on the unions and the Negroes. On welfare issues whose beneficiaries can be visualized as country people, social security and old age pensions, for example, he is liberal, but he has been relatively hostile. for a Democratic majority leader, to unemployment compensation. His best idiom is rural. He wants “friends who’ll go to the well with you.” He loves it back in Johnson City because, as his daddy said, “they know when you’re sick and they care when you die.” He has contempt for “some of the boys who will stand there talkin’ all day, just like a Beagle bayin’ at the moon. It doesn’t hurt the moon.” In Texas he has not felt that he can trust the liberal Democrats trying to organize in the cities; they have not trusted him, either. Since the real onset of their strength in political organization in 1956, he has formed coalitions with rural and small-town Democrats and big-city “conservative Democrats” against them. The main sources of his political money in Texas have been welloff farmers and ranohers, professional people, and big-city business: a few wealthy oilmen like Clint Murchison, Wesley West, the late Sid Richardson; the antiunion Brown brothers of construction; Dallas bank and insurance interests. His alliances in state politics correlate with his sources of political income. His well-financed presidential campaign suggests the possibility that business interests are becom ing dominant in the Democratic Party, as they do periodically, and that he is their candidate the most conservative candidate the Democrats are likely, even in a weak moment, to accept. The fact that his prospect has become even plausible raises fundamental questions about national politics. Will a relative conservative have the swing bloc at Los Angeles? His celebrated “moderation” has led Johnson into curious remarks about the two Republican presidential contenders. When Rockefeller “withdrew” from the competition, Johnson complimented him as “an able and progressive governor” and said he thought the Democrats “will ask him to serve his country by serving the next Democratic administration.” Should Rockefeller get the nomination, as he now would like to, Johnson would need all his fabled ingenuity to oppose him convincingly. Nor have Johnson’s statements indicated he would go full-hearted into a contest with Nixon. In 1957 he told the Republican Dallas News that Nixon is “an active, vigorous, informed, and dedicated leader of a. great party.” Ralph Toledano, associate editor of Newsweek, in his book, “Nixon,” quotes Johnson saying about the Vice-President: i “He is always fair.” Such remarks would look pretty good on Nixon’s campaign literature. The Texan’s ascendancy over the Senate’s Democrats signifies not merely his skill in organizing the traditions of the Senate into a power system ape:di -1g in himself. He could not have continued to frustrate the Senate’s liberals were there not among the majority of the Democrats there tendencies toward satisfaction with the national condition. This is what is most startling about his status in the national life, as he perceived himself when he decided to pitch his presidential campaign to what he called “the great Amtrican middle, the new American majority.” Have even Democrats finally become too content for concern, too prosperous for an adequate public life, too compromised to lead the colored masses of the world? Upon the answers, much depends. Rising which prohibited state party officfals “from eliminating any votes on the grounds of illegality, irregularity, or fraud.” During ensuing investigations, the custodian of the poll lists disappeared into Mexico, it was alleged that the 203 names had been added in alphabetical order, some Latin-Americans in the late-reported group swore they had not voted, and the voter just ahead of the group of 203 said he voted just before the polls closed and no others were there when Editor’s Note This issue the editor of the Observer gives his summing up of the man whom Texas Democrats voted overwhelmingly last week to send to Los Angeles as a candidate for the presidential nomination. After discussing Lyndon Johnson’s ascent, role in Texas politics, and Senate power and reviewing his public record, the edito seeks to analyze Johnson’s character and methods and closes with his own editorial opinion about the Democratic situation in July.Ed. he left. A federal judge ruled that “the evidence make a prima facie showing of fraud” and authorized hearings in South Texas, but before they could be completed, Johnson’s lawyers obtained an order from Justice Black of the Supreme Court quashing the investigation on grounds of no federal jurisdiction. There was never any evidence that Johnson had anything to do with the voting in Precinct 13. His position on the matter is that there had been irregularities , in several counties, in both directions. The fact remains, however, that he and his lawyers resisted investigations to find out whether the 203 votes had been cast illegally, a fact which could become uncomfortable for him during a presidential campaign. 1959 the company had $2.5 million in assets and net profit of $430,432, according to Federal Communications Cmsn. records. In addition to land and other investments and KTBC radio and KTBC-TV, the only TV station in Austin, the LBJ Co. owns KRGV radio and TV in Weslaco. Through its 29 percent interest in KWTX Broadcasting Co., which operates radio and TV stations in Waco, LBJ Co. has acquired about 26 percent interest in KNAL radio, Victoria, and 15 percent of KTBXTV, Bryan. KWTX bought threefourths interest in Texoma Broadcasters, Inc., which operates KWII-TV in Ardmore, Okla., thus extending Mrs. Johnson’s holdings into that state. The Bryan TV station has asked the FCC to permit it to move its Bryan transmitter 35 miles closer to Austin. If this request is granted, the LBJ Co. ‘station KTBC-TV will be competing for the Austin TV market with a station in which the LBJ Co. has an interest. .Johnson is not a stockholder in LBJ Co. He has joined his wife as donor in gifts of shares in the company to their daughters; Sen. Johnson’s brother also owns stock in the company. Through the years there has been some interchange of employees between KTBC and Johnson’s extensive senatorial staff. Asked publicly last year if he has “some influence with the management of” KTBC-TV, he replied, “I’d like to think I do.” The LBJ . Co. stations are not unionized. Jesse Kellam, president of the LBJ Co., asked if he had : any policy with respect to union labor, replied, “No.” Johnson’s position about his public office as senator and the authority of the FCC over radio and TV stations is that there is no conflict of interest because he owns no stock in the LBJ Co. and has refrained from voting on confirmation of FCC commissioners since Mrs. Johnson first acquired stock in the business. Johnson’s connections w it h George and Herman Brown of Brown and Root, the world-wide construction firm, date back to the thirties when the Browns were small but already expanding operators. As Johnson rose in politics, Brown and Root received more and more government contracts. The Browns have been heavy financial supporters of Johnson’s campaigns, particularly in 1941 and 1948; Johnson and members of his staff use Brown and Root planes when convenient. The liaison is a source of many myths and jokes in Texas \(such as the quip that “Johnson has a deal -going with Brown and Root to buy Russia and lease it back doubt that it ‘has been an important and fruitful relationship for Johnson as a politician, nor that the Browns’ militant anti-union policies, about which there is deep bitterness in Texas labor circles, have influenced some of Johnson’s conservative votes on union issues. LBJ vs. Liberals Every presidential year since 1944, conservative Texans calling themselves Democrats have provided the money and muscle for the Republicans’ national cam paigns to carry the state. In state elections they back “conservatives,” in national elections, Republicans. Matters can become very complicated by conservative, currently loyal Democrats like Gov. Price Daniel, for examplebut one plain fact to be kept in mind is that there is a continuous struggle between Democrats and Republicans in the Texas Democratic Party. In 1952, evidently with the consent of Speaker Rayburn and Sen. Johnson, Gov. Allan Shivers’ delegation from Texas was seated at. the national Democratic convention in preference to the Texas loyalists led by Maury Maverick. Shivers returned to Texas and led the state campaign for Eisenhower, with Daniel joining him. Sen. Johnson, who had supported Richard Russell of Georgia for the nomination, announced for Stevenson and warmly introduced him in Fort Worth, but in other speeches often failed to mention his name and generally argued that because of congressional seniority it would be best for Texas and the South if the Democrats won. A presidential candidate himself in 1956, Johnson entered into the liberals’ inevitable charge against Shivers. After the liberalJohnson coalition had won the st at e presidential convention, Johnson tried unsuccessfully to defeat the loyalist Democrats’ choice for national committeewoman, Mrs. R. D. Randolph of Houston. Though he maintains he could have defeated her, 1,100900, he finally yielded to a tumultuous convention. That fall, a coalition of Johnson, Rayburn, Daniel and Shivers supporters plainly, upon a well-lit stage, “stole” the convention from liberal Democrats’ control. First they seated the contested liberal El Paso delegation; then,. learning El Paso would vote to seat the contested liberals from Houston the decisive question they reversed themselves and threw out the El Paso liberals, and the liberals from Houston with ther_i. This was a decisive event. Even though the Majority Leader, Speaker of the House, and outgoing and incoming governors opposed seating the liberals from Houston, 145 of Texas’ 254 counties voted to seat them, and the issue was decided by unseating El Paso and letting the Houston conservatives vote to seat themselves. Johnson had decided to .do battle with liberal Democratic organization in his own state. Johnson once again ran what seemed like a hide-and-seek campaign for the Illinois governor while the liberals did what they could on their own. The stateStevenson headquarters, under Johnson’s control, actually mailed out copies of a polemical Holmes Alexander column hailing Johnson as “boss of the Lone Star State” but saying Stevenson “is petering out badly as a campaigner,” “should ‘be made of sterner stuff,” and would be opposed by “as many as 40% of union members.” The fact was, Johnson ran his lukewarm Stevenson campaign with moderates who just barely were for Stevensonbut were very much for Johnson. From the shambles the liberal Democrats salvaged the “DemoHis biography has been told many times. The essential facts: He’ was born and raised on a farm in a family which had fallen on hard times, bummed to California after high school, worked on a Texas road gang, got through a small Texas teachers’ college with good grades by taking odd jobs as janitor and secretary, taught in Houston, went to Washington as a congressman’s secretary, became Texas director of the National Youth Administration, married the daughter of a wealthy East Texas family, in 1937 ran for Congress on the Presidents court packing plan and won, lost a race for the Senate in 1941 by 1,311 votes, perhaps because of an East Texas “long count,” served a spell in the Navy, won his Senate seat in 1948 by 87 votes out of nearly 1,000,000 cast, and in 1953 became Senate Democratic leader. The loser in the 1948 election, Coke Stevenson, said he had been “robbed.” Six days after the runoff primary, Precinct 13 in a South Texas boss-run county had added 203 votes to its unofficial complete total-202 for Johnson, 1 for Stevenson. Johnson signed a petition for a state court injunction The Johnsons are very well fixed; in fact, are millionaires a number of times over. Mrs. Johnson is the principal owner of the LBJ Co., which owns or has a financial share of four radio stations and five television stations in Texas and Oklahoma. Johnson said last year that $2 million had been invested in the one Austin alone. The Dallas News, in 1952, editorialized that “at least one senator now campaigning for GovCongress as a barefoot boy” but by 1952 was worth more than $1,000,000. The News wanted a full public accounting. In 1954, Dudley Dougherty, running against Johnson, assumed the editorial referred to Johnson. A Cuero Record editorial a few years later said “the present highly acclaimed leaders of the Democratic