Shining Hour at A&M ELECTION NOTES Houston Session vt” A secret meeting of some 20 Texas liberals with Sen. Ralph Yarborough in Houston was reported by the Houston Post, which found out about it and sent a reporter disguised as a union leader. Yarborough conferred with the group on the John Connally candidacy for governor and the possibility of his own entry into the race. Yarborough is expected to make up his mind by Jan. 20, two weeks before the filing dead line. Those present at the meet ing, held in the Las Vegas Motel on South Main, included Maury Maverick Jr. of San Antonio, Bill Sinkin of San Antonio, Tom Moore of Waco, Doug Crouch of Fort Political Intelligence Worth, Jim Sewell of Corsicana, Gaston Wilder of Beaumont, Edgar Berlin of Port Neches, Woodrow Seals of Houston, Olon Rogers of Houston, and Joseph Jamail of Houston. Yarborough, the Post said, told the group he felt that the election of John Connally as governor, with the backing of Vice-President Johnson, would be a blow to the Yarborough faction of the Democratic Party and that many people who have been attracted to the GOP in special elections would return to the. Democratic Party by Connally’s election. Maverick described the meeting: “A bunch of old friends got together to plan a Christmas and Ralph’s going to play Santa Claus.” Behind the session was the feeling in some Democratic circles that Connally’s campaign will constitute an effort on the part of LBJ to expand his influence in state government. Friends of Yarborough also believe Johnson has tried to block him politically in Washington, whenever possible, on Texas matters . . . Albert Pena, San Antonio Democratic organizer, did not attend the Houston meeting. He told the San Antonio Light he had to attend a county budget session. He said he does riot know whom he will support for governor. Pena worked closely with Johnson during the Gonzalez election and conferred with Connally on a recent trip to Washington. V Cong. Jim Wright removed himself as a possible gubernatorial candidate. “If this were a Senate race rather than a gubernatorial contest, I would be a candidate and devote to the effort every ounce of energy and conviction that I possess,” he said. He did not say whom he would support for governor. Wright did not get into the race, despite a generally promising outlook, !because: one, Connally would pre-empt many of the same financial sources; two, he is still in debt from the special Senate race; three, his primary object is the Senate; if Ralph Yarborough vacates his seat for governor he will run for the vacancy, or otherwise he would wait for ’66 against John Tower; he might not have wished to alienate LBJ. V Gubernatorial candidate Will Wilson called on the State Democratic Executive Committee to make its 20,000-name mailing list available to all party candidates. Charging it had become “a tool of the Daniel-Johnson political machine,” he thereby made an indirect attack on Connally. The Wilson letter will be referred to the executive committee. frof Houston liberal Don Yarbor ough, hoping to get liberal support for governor, was speak ing this week all over Texas. In Corpus he said Texas government needs to “rely more on the brains of its academic community and less on the brawn of its Austin lobby ists . . . The University of Texas board of regents should be corn posed of men possessing broad backgrounds of scholarship instead of narrow backgrounds in politics.” In Bryan, he reviewed “the years of apathy in Austin that have led to such deterioration in legitimate state services” and said “the existing decay is a red carpet invitation for federal action in a number of fields.” He said he had received a “flood of mail” after the Wright withdrawal asking him to run for governor. I A Belden Poll found Price Daniel leading the field as “first choice” for governor: Daniel 29 percent, Ralph Yarborough 18, Allan Shivers 12, Jim Wright 7, Will Wilson 6, Jack Cox 5, John Connally 4, Marshall Formby 1, undecided 18. Of the 29 percent who named Daniel, their “second choice” ran like this: Ralph Yarborough 35 percent, Shivers 20, Wilson 16, John Connally 5, Cox 4, Wright 3, undecided 17. V Cong. Bruce Alger and Sen. Tower were scored 100 percent on congressional voting by the conservative Americans for Constitutional Action. Democrats scored all the way from Cong. John Dowdy’s 71 percent to Sen. Yarborough’s 6. The state parks board approved a staff estimate of $2.87 million as the initial and minimum cost of facilities for a state park on Padre Island. Not included in the estimates: a highway costing about $8 million, annual operating costs including equipment, wages, and supplies, and land acquisition. Rep. Don Kennard of Fort Worth will decide by Jan. 1 whether to run for the state Senate against Sen. Doyle Willis. Kennard would have run. for Congress if Jim Wright had announced for governor. V County Judge Woodrow Bean of El Paso is considering running for either re-election or congressman-at-large. V Sen. Charles Herring of Austin announced for re-election. He has served two terms. V Atty. Gen. Wilson judged that Senator-elect Franklin Spears of San Antonio can continue serving as chairman of the House escheat investigation committee until either he or Rep.-elect Rudy Esquival, his successor in the House, takes the oath of office. vir Vice-President Johnson, speaking in Houston at a testimonial for Judge James Noel Jr., said demands that judges who render unpopular decisions be impeached will pave the way to a communist dictatorship. “A judge,” he said, “is the custodian of civilization and of all the basic values which we cherish in that civilization.” . . . Look Magazine, in a featured article, revealed that Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy tried three times to talk LBJ out of accepting the vice-presidential nomination during the ’60 Democratic convention. It claimed Kennedy urged him to drop from the race because “labor was in revolt, liberals wouldn’t take Johnson, and a Texan on the ticket would split the party and lose the election.” -During a tense four-hour session with Johnson aides, Kennedy suggested LBJ -become the Party chairman instead, although John Kennedy had said a short while before he wanted Johnson in the ticket. Look reported: “Johnson lay on the bed muttering ‘double cross.’ Lady Bird was on the verge of tears. Rayburn was apoplectic . . . There had been no communication with Jack Kennedy.” Then an intermediary called Jack, who said they would lose the Liberal Party in New York but “we’re going ahead with it.” THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 7 Dec. 22, 1961 Reprinted from the Autumn issue of Southwest Review: They come into the Alma Latina, glowering. They are bood ole boys. That’s what you say, when there is nothing else to say. They all look like they went to A. & M. That is, like deerstalkers at Thanksgiving. I can see them in the misty gray morning, with high-powered rifles and beady eyes, hunting the little ole deer. However, hats off, and though I digress: let us not belittle A. & M. It produced more officers than West Point and and V.M.I. put together in the last mass demonstrations, but if we must have wholesale crusades, we will have ROTC. I went to A. & M. once, when I was fifteen. I was even a ‘good ole boy, but I repent. I was in the cavalry. It was a .hellraising outfit, proud of beating butt, undistinguished, and the elite corps. The cavalry looked down on the infantry and the engineers. The cavalry spoke only to artillery. A. & M. was a great school. Everybody said it was. But, insufferable ‘Candide that I’ve always been, all I remember of that institution like a penitentiary in its desolate black valley like a slough of despond are bare barracks and saltpeter in the food and hazing of a gutsplitting and relentless nature. The terror reigned in its hollow halls. The SPCA would not allow animals to be mistreated as the freshmen were, nor did we come through the ordeal like Comanche braves. WE WERE as cowardly and sniveling a lot of cadets as ever dirtied their pants. We lost our human dignity. We were masochistic, indoctrinated early. We even put on airs in the cavalry, and did not speak to the other boys that didn’t have hard butts. The cavalry went around with butts calloused like oak, bruised a fine mahogany, very nearly gangrenous. The ideal color was smoked meerschaum. It wasn’t the manhandling that humiliated and degraded so much as the insane noise. Half the time the barracks sounded like a lunatic asylum. It wouldn’t have been so bad, if they hadn’t been so GODDAMNED LOUD! It was all right to beat us to death, but they didn’t have to shout us into a stupor. Of course, they were just good clean w:olesome country boys I KNOW I KNOW busting out with acne and puberty, and don’t get me wrong. A. & M. was a great school. Everybody said so. Elections .. . campaign committee, said of the election: “We’re not kidding ourselves. We know it is a traditional Democratic district, but we see that it is becoming respectable in Texas to be a Republican.” Small Vote In Rayburn’s old district, which has a population of only 213,374, the “Christmas Eve” vote is expected to be only fractional. It is generally conceded that a small turnout will be an advantage to the lone Republican in the race, Connor Harrington of Plano. In the Tower-Blakley runoff, Tower carried 34 percent of the 18,148 votes cast in the district. Bob Slagle Jr. of Sherman, longtime campaign manager for Rayburn, is the most liberal of the candidates. Other aspirants, all Democrats, are former state Sen. Ray Roberts of McKinney, Jack Finney of Greenville, and Roy Baker and David Brown, both of Sherman. The Denison Herald this week editorialized against Republican Harrington, put Finney in the same catagory, and urged its readers to “support a good Democrat for Mister Democrat’s congressional seat.” My old man said it would make a man out of me. Two boys in the cavalry died the year I was there, of -broken spines; and another, unable to stand the vicious concupiscence, jumped off the water tower. Then everybody whispered: he couldn’t take it. They turned out for chapel and obser”ed silence piously, and it was nobody’s fault, it says here, and the upperclassman who had the cursed luck to kill a freshman, inadvertently of course and because he hit high, was even commiserated with, for he was a jolly good fellow. I still think people from another country or planet would have thought everybody at A. & M. hysterical and crazy. But if they were, to show that insanity’s only relative too, nobody on the campus noticed it. Instead, there prevailed, despite the general misery and ignorance and degeneration, a determined lowdown communal spirit that, was certainly compulsory and holy in its fervor. We scourged ourselves like penitentes to be worthy of the alma mater. We were harangued, exhorted to love the alma mater, and each other like pansies, because anybody that went to A. & M. was automatically a good ole boy. We were blackmailed and beaten into having that loudmouthed school spirit. We were considered subversive unless we lost our identities in the common cause. We were admonished * to ‘get in there and holler ourselves hparse at the football, sweat blood, “and put on sackcloth and -ashes in defeat. We were made to cry and blubber at pep rallies like a bunch of Holy Rollers, but there’s no question, and it’s something the alumni can look back upon with pride: there is no gainsaying, that the students at A. & M. could ‘holler louder and make more noise in concert than any other college in America. ME, I HAD my shining hour at A. & M. It came to pass be cause. I fell out with Colonel Schmidt in equitation. The cavalry was a laugh to begin with: condemned horses with brands on their necks. Colonel Schmidt tried to make a monkey of me. “Did you ever ride a horse before?” he asked. I could have killed him. Colonel Schmidt was regular Army, but he liked ROTC. That sort of bastard, a Dutchman and martinet, with the bad grace to bully a cadet in front of the class. He saw to it that I got the bete noire of the stables. It was a hammerheaded gawky weed that kicked like a mule and pawed the ground and aibsolutely had
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