PRAISE FOR RALPH, The Democratic Party Betrays Its Tradition AUSTIN Friends of Ralph Yarborough in Texas may be proud of him today. Four years he has sat relatively quiet in the United States Senate. He has voted with the public interest, as we expected him to ; but he has not said a great deal. Now, to help stem the powers crushing the Senate into consummating the biggest giveaway in American history, Yarborough is raising hell like never before on the floor of the Senate. With Kefauver, Gore, Gruening, Neuberger, Morse, Douglas, and others, he is battling a monopoly, and Texans can be proud they sent him where he is. One does not realize this, reading the daily newspapers of this state. A few of them have taken up muck-raking, an improvement that was much to be desired for many years ; in these few, there has been an attempt to present both sides of Texas issues. But search the dailies in vain for an adequate story of the struggle against AT&T! O N WEDNESDAY, August 15, for example, Yarborough delivered a major assault on the bill, coupling this with an attempt, under questioning, to excuse President Kennedy’s sponsorship of it as mere inThough this reporter perused many Texas dailies Thursday morning, he learned of this speech from none of them. When the senior senator from Texas takes the Senate floor for a major attack on his own President’s bill, that should be news in Texas. From the Congressional Record for that date, at any rate, we can read what Yarborough saidthough such delays, multiplied many times all over the country, may mean the difference between a population aroused about the space communications bill and a population mostly ignorant of it. Senator Yarborough’s speech is reported elsewhere in this issue. Marquis Childs has brought into the open the historical questions the present conflict has posed. ” ‘The little band of wilful men’ ” fighting this legislation, he said, “see themselves as defenders of the great mass of the people against the ever-increasing reach of corporate power. “They see themselves as the heirs of the Populism of William Jennings Bryan and the social advances of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. This was the ideological base from which the Democrats, beginning in 1931, made themselves the country’s majority party. If this is no longer to be the party’s base, these men are in effect asking : Then for what does the party stand?” If, eyes wide open, the Democratic President, the House of Representatives, the Republicans of the Senate, and a majority of the Democrats in the Senate will give the AT&T and the common carriers field it dominates ownership and profit-taking control of space communications, what has happened to the country? What does the Democratic Party stand for? At least, heretofore, the sky was the limit. Now they are giving even that away. THEY ARE GIVING it away, not to free enterprise, not even to oligopolistic enterprise, but to the most nearly perfect corporate monopoly in American life, American Telephone and Telegraph. In the nature of the case American foreign policy is involved, yet the sponsors have killed an amendment to provide that the State Department, and not AT&T, shall conduct negotiations with foreign nations on space communications. The governmentthe taxpayershave put up ten times as much money as AT&T to make space cornmunications possible; yet AT&T is now to be given a license to charge the governmentincluding the military services !for the right to use the system the taxpayers financed. AT&T is to be given inside access to the technological revolution in communications which might otherwise make much of its equipment obsolete and force down costs of communications drastically. Insistently, there drums through the long debates the question : Why? Why should it have become necessary for Senator Long of Louisiana to rise on the Senate floor and strongly imply that he had been offered in effect a bribe that would enrich him to the extent of between $5 million and $25 million? Why should it have become necessary for Democratic liberal senators who fought for John Kennedy’s election with all their energies just two years ago to accuse Kennedy, in Arthur ‘Crock’s words, “of selling out their common philosophy and the American people as well”? Why has Kennedy temporized and compromised rather than fight for the idealistic substance of his domestic legislation? Kennedy always has been more conservative politically than Adlai Stevenson, Estes Kefauver, Averell Harriman, and William 0. Douglas ; but he has also been more liberal than Lyndon B. Johnson. THE SENATORS fighting the space giveaway, according to Marquis Childs, “see the rich and powerful leaders of their own party leagued against them. At the head of this list they put Vice President Johnson. He is overlord of the empires of space, and a hefty empire it is, with billions in contracts.” After two years of vacillation and expediency in the national administration, we in Texas who are acquainted with Lyndon Johnson’s political style may be pardoned if we wonder whether we see his fine Italian hand at work behind the sorry scenes in Washington. Indeed, the columnist thought to be closest to Johnsonso close that he sometimes seems to be Johnson, to think through Johnson’s mind demanded, in a column denouncing the filibuster shortly after the vote imposing the gag on the liberals: “If the President does not now denounce and destroy this almost hysterical thrust at the heart of capitalistic democracy he will have surrendered to a small coalition of shouting demagogues and good but deluded men who are still Populists at heart in a world where Populism has been dead for half a lifetime . . . And he will have run away from that high noon show-down which sooner or later he must at any rate face with the leftwing of his party.” But much, much more is at work than a Texas farm boy turned political opportunist. We are brought around again to the question of the effects of affluence on our values and relevance as a national culture. Childs reported that the defenders of the Administration’s giveaway regarded the hold-outs as martyrs and soreheads, “sons of wild jackasses braying before the image of a past that is gone forever.” Yarborough rejoined: “Do they mean that the past of idealism is gone forever, that rampant, crass materialism has finally triumphed in America, and that now a billion dollars a year of the money of the taxpayers of the United States is to be given away to a giant corporation and that this is the wave of the future?” Surely, Yarborough did say, “wave” of the future ; do you know how Congressional Record misprints it? As “Wane of the future.” Are we the future’s waveor its wane? Is it not possible that our entire society has become so saturated with commercialism and with the profit-making value on every thoroughfare the neon, along every highway the billboards, at Christmas and Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day and Father’s Daythat we are losing our belief in our own morality? TO THE SENATORS who have braved the almost invincible forces behind the giveaway bill’ to sound this warning to the people and, because we are Texans, to Ralph Yarborough in particularwe send our thanks that they are there fighting as we who believe in the American past would fight if we were there. ONE CANNOT but wonder about the historical effect of the fact that the worst giveaway in the history of the country has been sponsored and effectuated by the Democratic Party. When one considers the acidic effect this will have on Democratic antimonopoly oratory for the next ten years, one can begin to sense the import of what has happened. Already, the Democrats are seri ously split on the question ; will they put a good face on and unite again now, or is the wound mortal, a death of a public idea about the Democratic Party that will reshape American politics? Just as it is too early to say quantitatively how monstrous the space giveaway will turn out to be, so is it too early to say whether the canker it has caused in the liberal conscience of the Democratic Party is ulcerous or cancerous. But it was an event, this Democratic-sponsored giveway, that will long be remem bered in the history of the nation. R.D. GLADIATORS, CONVERTS, THE LAST HUNDRED DAYS AUSTIN There was some talk going around before Mr. Kennedy went and got himself elected to the presidency, something about how he was going to set the world on fire with another First Hundred Daysyou know, like Mr. Roosevelt’s, only a lot more rambunctious, and more modern and all such as this great land of ours would never have seen the like. I figure it was those fire-eating liberals back East who got the whole notion started, and it caught on even down here in the Texas boondocks. I remember people saying to me, “Why, you let that Kennedy fellow get ahold of the reins, and after eight years of Ike and Dick, I tell you, that man’ll set the woods on fire.” Well, I believed them. It sounded like a pretty good notion, and whether or not it was justified, it had a good purpose, whipping up the left-wingers into a lather, and getting them all out to the polls. It was utilitarian, I believe is the word. Anyhow, I got lathered up myself in the course of the elections, and finally ended up believing in the First Hundred Days as a sure-fire phenomenon, one of those casts-of-thousands, never-before-brought-to-the-screen t y p e of events, something like Cecil B. DeMille was always producing for the public’s edification and enjoyment, only with trust busters playing the part of gladiators, and converts being won to modern economic theory rather than to primitive Christianity. YES, I BELIEVED them. And once I get an idea in my head, I don’t give it up easy. I’m not one of those fair-weather liberals who starts kicking and screaming when the going gets rough. Once I put my trust in a fellow, I figure I’ll give him a chance to show his stuff before I go hollering for someone else to take his place. As you probably remember, there weren’t any First Hundred Days. All the liberals back East who got that rumor started explained that Mr. Kennedy had to tip toe when he first started, because it would shock the public if there was a rough transition from the old administration to the new one. Congress wouldn’t like that, either, they said, because it would show that the new president was overeager. I kind of agreed. It would have been like shifting from reverse into high without putting the clutch in, and nobody likes all that grinding of gears. There was going to be a Hundred Days, I said, but it just couldn’t very well be the first hundred. After that, you recollect, Mr. Kennedy aided, or encouraged is a better word, the Cuban exiles in Florida in their foray into the Bay of Pigs, and a lot of people accused Mr. Kennedy of creating a bad image of our country in the eyes of some of the Latin Americans. But the boys up East pointed out that the whole mess was inherited from the previous administration, and you couldn’t very well hold him responsible for that, now, could you? I agreed that you couldn’t, and I was confident that the President was soon going to show his stuff. Well, things went along pretty quietly for a while, and I guessed he was ready to shove through that Hundred Days everybody had been talking about. Mr. Gallup took a poll and said Mr. Kennedy was a very popular man and was the idol of the American housewife, and it looked like he had enough prestige to put through about anything he wanted to, but before he could actually get a program underway, those ugly old Russians broke the H-bomb moratorium and tried to make us admit that East Germany is a country, when everybody knows it is just a Russian satellite, like Red China, and Mr. Kennedy was too busy standing up to Mr. Khrushchev to worry about the Hundred Days. A FEW OF US had hoped he wouldn’t let his military friends talk him into resuming testing and adding to the radioactivity, but it was explained to us that only a few thousand people would probably get cancer, and as many babies would be deformed, due to the testing, whereas if we didn’t test, those ugly old Russians would attack us, so I shrugged again and decided it must be worthwhile. After that, things reached a standstill in Berlin, and I told some of my friends that they could expect the Hundred Days to get moving any day. Some of the smart alec ones just smiled, but I knew Mr. Kennedy would come through. And sure enough, he pretty nearly did last spring. He told Mr. Blough where to get off, and I got my musket down out of the closet and oiled it up, because I knew when the Hundred Days got going, Mr. Kennedy might need the militia to keep things under control. It was a little disappointing even for an optimist like myself to see the President back down, though, and make Mr. Blough one of his unofficial advisers, and sort of sidle up to Big Business like he was trying to offer his apologies for having embarrassed them before the public. But a Kennedy fan of my acquaintance pointed out that no President really gets anything accomplished if he isn’t friendly and fair to all sides. “Mr. Kennedy deplores extremism on both sides,” he said, and I decided this was fitting and proper.
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.