Page 7


Thoughts on the Senate Election .. . How Party Generals Blundered It Away HOUSTON The professionals have been giving us amateur political analysts much to ponder since the Neanderthal Armageddon of last May 29. The postbattle critiques, like the struggle itself, have been filled with irony, humor, glee, genuine shock, and expost-facto complacency. Gov. Daniel, who pushed Cowboy Bill to the brink of the open window, applied part of the “credit or blame” to “defecting Democrats.” Bill himself, still lying bloody in the courtyard 36 hours after his defeat, observed : “I have had hell beat out of me by both a liberal and a conservative.” GOP ex-Chairman Thruston Morton saw it as the biggest Republican triumph since Gettysburg”a smashing victory,” despite the fact that Tower received less than half his November vote in edging Ole Bill by a thin 10,000 votes. Mr. Sam frowned over his pince nez and explained the cold reception of his warm endorsement of Blakley: “If the million qualified voters who stayed home had gone to the polls, the Democrats would have gotten three-fourths of them.” One anonymous commentator, a Democrat holding high office, was quoted as saying, “I feel like an undertaker who has just conducted a $10,000 funeral. I’m very happy, but can’t afford to show it because of the grief of the friends of the deceased.” Lyndon took cover behind the breastworks of a massive silence, a defense manfully breached at last by Lyndon himself with the words, “Repeat after me : ‘John G. Tower . . ” If this public hari-kari of the Johnson ego stirred inappropriate emotions beneath the togas of LBJ’s colleagues, senatorial courtesy somehow reduced guffaws to silent giggles. As the New York Times’ Arthur Krock explained, “Traditions of behaviour require that no senator shall indicate, except by compassionate symbols, his awareness that another is passing through a painful experience.” BUT THESE COMMENTS tell what more often than why. The Observer and the Wall Street Journal came closest to answering the larger question, and Krock’s article touched the answer. The Journal asserted that “No Democrat can be safely assured of victory in a Texas statewide race without campaign help from liberallabor forces. And these forces are unwilling to do battle for the lesser of two evils ; they can be counted to back only those candidates who will vote the liberal line on most central issues.” And on the subject of Jim Wright, for whom some moderate tears have been shed : “Although Mr. Wright has compiled a 50% liberal voting record in Congress, he had been on the conservative side of late on the biggest issuespublic housing, urban renewal, labor reform, minimum wage liberalization, and federal aid to education.” .. . Krock said the “opening of the political entertainment” was passage of HB 158, the legislation which allowed Lyndon to run for two offices. Krock said : “The not altogether agreeable surprise this acceptance was to the Texas Democrats . . . was first indicated when they met in state convention subsequent to Los Angeles. Although the choice of delegates, made in the previous spring, had been carefully screened by supporters of Johnson’s presidential aspiration to exclude his critics, the convention committed the Democratic candidates for state office . . . to a platform that specifically repudiated the national platform Vice President.” LBJ offered no objection to this repudiation. The large population increases in THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 5 July 1, 1961 the cities and the growing strength there of the GOP, along with the loosening of the Democratic brass collar, were very important factors, as the Observer suggested. More important is this: “. . . ‘moderate’ leaders of the Democratic Party, Johnson, Rayburn, and their colleagues … have countered therising Republican menace in recent years by tactically playing the various conservatives, moderates, and liberals within the strife-town party one against the other.” This latter observation hit close to the heart of the matter. The party’s generals have been having too long a fling to tunes of personal glory. They have misjudged and mismanaged, from the last days. of Beauford Jester to this very moment. The generals have failed to realize that liberal leaders, though they want nothing for themselves, will not sulk in their tents while Johnson and Rayburn and Daniel divvy up the loot among the champions of the enemy. Mrs. Frankie Randolph, in a widely circulated letter, showed Democrats the way to stay home : “I can’t vote for a Republican ; I won’t vote for a Dixiecrat.” Franklin Jones With all the current hullabaloo in the dailies that the forthcoming special session was not “necessary,” we are pleased to reprint this fine exposition of the liberal stand as set forth by Rep. Tony Korioth of Sherman in that hectic last day of the regular session.Ed. AUSTIN What we do here this day, this month, and this year will be with us the rest of the century and maybe as long as there ‘is a Texas. We are here setting patterns for generations. We are not just passing taxes on the people of 340 million dollars, but billions for the generations yet to come. This is what government is all about. This is what we were elected to do. The local bills, the regulation of loan sharks, providing a water programthese are all important, but taxing and spending is the stuff of government. What we do now decides who we are as public men. IWANT to tell you what happened when we, your House tax conferees, tried to reason, tried to compromise, with the Senate tax conferees. We met with them a total of ten times. We were determined not to be unreasonable and prepared to go part of the way with them if they would come part of the way with the chamber that is constitutionally charged to originate the tax bills. The senators were very congenial. Senator Lane entertained us with his East Texas jokes. They listened to what we had to say for the House’s point of view, then they told us it was their bill, or nothing. They knew, as did all of us, that Governor Price Daniel would veto this bill. They knew they were following a purely destructive course. Why, I do not know. We tried to talk to them about a deductible sales tax. We tried to talk to them about a Pennsylvania-type sales tax, as embodied in Mr. Atwell’s H. B. 700. We tried to talk to them about a gas pipeline tax. We tried to talk to them about a corporate income tax. We tried to talk to them about shifting more of the franchise tax burden on to businesses headquartered outside of Texas. They would have none of it. They would not make a single concession to any of the points of view and Darrell Carter, by newspaper, radio, and direct mail, helped Democrats to remember that a vote for Tower was a vote for a two-party system, a defense against a repitition of recent wrongs, and a method of repudiating the generals who have always asked the supreme sacrifice for their personal goals in the name of Democratic tradition. Where Blakley was concerned \(and others “is a custom more honored in the breach than in the observance.” The generals have underestimated the intelligence of Democrats, who could not fail to note that Rayburn and Johnson will give aid and comfort to a man like Blakley but will leave a Ralph Yarborough hanging in the barbed wire. The generals, in selecting Blakley for the interim seat and endorsing him in the runoff, poured salt into the wounds of the party’s minority blocs. In Harris County, for example, 40,000 Negroes voted in the general election, and 90% of these voted for Kennedy. In May this number was diminished by over 30,000, and the percentage by about a third. The generals could accept a Texas victory from believers in civil rights, yet they could appoint a Blakley to heap abuse upon the personification of Negro aspirations, FHA administrator Robert Weaver. The biggest strategic blunder, of which have found varying degrees of acceptance in this House. The only thing they were willing to consider, the only change they wanted any part of, was the replacement of the unfair Senate tax on Texas gas producers with a 1% raid on the permanent school fund. They have already made clear they would rather tax Texas gas producers than the interstate pipelines. But now they had a second thought : rather than tax Texas gas producers, they will tax generations of Texas. school children yet unborn, and yet unregistered to vote, which is probably more pertinent. As for the Senate’s sales taxthey would not give an inch. There is only one conclusion the people and the members of this House can draw : the Senate wants to tax gas producers but not the Eastern pipelines, and the Senate wants to tax the masses, but not the upper classes. All the, while we were meeting we could sense, in the inflexibility of the Senate conferees, the bitter, hardened fruits of the Citizens for a Sales Tax lobby’s work. . . They have tried to tell the press that they are really running a civics class for us legislators. They are teaching us our responsibilities to finance the appropriations bill. In fact, the sales tax lobby committee, it has been charged, and it has not been denied, is manipulated by two lobbyistt whose take for this session is $45,000. That’s good paying civic work. I bet a lot of unpaid city council members, and a lot of parents who go to PTA meetings, and a lot of collectors for United Fund, would like to turn their hand at that kind of civic work. In restraint we have neglected the plain truth. It is time to tell the people that the Eastern lobbyists have snuck in their carpetbags and are trying to cram it down Texans’ throats. I do not think any of you doubt that I am as concerned as you are that the teachers get a raise; that our sick and impoverished old people get care ; that our mental patients have psychiatric care; that our prisons be freed from the specter of riot ; that our troubled youngsters get a chance at care and a new environment when they go home from reform school. What is our responsibility to them course, was the state aid to Lyndon Bill, HB 158, which changed two primaries to suit his timetable and permitted him to run for both senator and the vice-presidency. It worked all right. But it also worked for Tower. The generals were right in one thing: They rallied their “moderate” troops as always. Moderates will usually follow the flag of conservative Democrats to beat the Republicans or the liberals. But many conservatives have begun to consort with the GOP, and Texas liberals may never again ride into ambush to accomplish their own defeat. H OW COULD Democrats fail to hear the distant trumpets of the generals whose betrayals led them into Shivers’ 52 ambush, thence the valorous discretion of inaction in Yarborough’s ’54 fight against Shivers, forward to tactical slaughter at Fort Worth in ’56, through the folly of HB 158, down to the conventions in ’60 that ousted the Democrats and repudiated the Democratic platform, on to the appointment of Blakley, finally to the mock epic battle of Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum. As Krock concluded, the Texas farce probably “certified this paraphrase of a saying of Lincoln’s : `You can’t fool all the people if you make them laugh too hard to go to the polls’.” DEAN JOHNSON and what is our responsibility to our whole people? Our responsibility is not to get the job done; it is to get the job done right. Our responsibility is not to get the job done before next Tuesday; it is to get the job done right if we have to stay here to Christmas to do it. Our responsibility is not to tie on the feed-bag with the lobby ; our responsibility is to do for the people, all of the people, what we know in our conscience is right and fair. When we were elected, they elected us to be true to our consciences. We cannot go home until we go home in good conscience. ISAY NOW, we have just begun to fight. We will fight them now; we will fight them in the spel cial session ; we will fight them in the winter ; we will fight them as they string the lights on Congress Avenue for Christmas crowds. Maybe the people do not know that we are fighting for them. In this chamber we know each other pretty well, but we do not know the 9 million Texans and they do not know us. But by the time we get through fighting here they will know who we are and what we are fighting fortheir rights, a fair tax for them, and for their children and for our children. I hope we can get a tax bill that will be fair to the people. We will not get that tax bill by panicking now and letting the Senate’s gutTexans tax bill get by us. We will not get it by passing the buck to the quiet, determined little guy in the Mansion. As most of you know, I have never supported the Governor before, but his actions on the gut-question of government, how we raise our money and how we spend it, I think entitle him to hold his head high beside those of Jim Hogg and Jim Allred as one governor who has stood up for the people when the standing was hard. If the Senate will not be reasonable now, the House must stand fast with the Governor. Together we can win for the people. Bearing together the risk and the wounds, we can save the day for the average man in Texas. He may never know who did it, but we will know, you will know, I will know. That should be enough. TONY IWIIIOTH `Patterns for Generations’