Official Austin gathered in banquet and bade goodbye to Governor Price Daniel this week, although he is only 52. No one assumed he would try to return to politics, after his crushing third-place finish in the Democratic primary earlier this year ; the kindest remark passed on that question was Vice President Johnson’s quote from Churchill that every politician advances by hard labor and, having fallen, wants to rise again. Nor did anyone come right out and say, though many meant, that it was too bad he lost, for it was a night of many awkwardnesses, not the least of which was the presence of Gov.-elect John Connally at the head table. The Vice President read, almost without improvisation, from a text. With 2,300 guests, at $10 a head, he said, “if I were in the Governor’s position, I don’t know whether I would express gratitude to those presentor announce the start of a new campaign.” He said that earlier in the evening he told Governor Daniel that John sent his warmest regards, and Price looked at him and said, Just how this happened spontaneously and still found its way into the Vice President’s text handed to the sparsely represented press was one detail not officially explained. Johnson’s speech went down well, because his subdued and sympathetic tone conveyed that he understood that what has happened to Daniel is painful and could happen to anyone. As the master of ceremonies, Railroad Commissioner Ben Ramsey was his unorthodoxly witty self. He introduced Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez, who frequently, when a renegade in Ramsey’s Texas Senate, availed himself of the filibuster, “I called on him when he was a member of the Senate many times. He said, `I have nothing further to say.’ ” Giving the ages of the Brooks Sisters, a trio whose most conspicuous performer is a nine-year-old Gene Krupa, he noted that the sisters had run their kid brother in on him, and he didn’t have his age, but “I’m gonna judge him about six.” When ex-Atty. Gen. John Ben Shepperd’s’ turn came to narrate a picture album of Daniel’s career, Ramsey built up Shepperd as a man who had “falsified his age so he could be a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce longer than any living individual.” 16 The Texas Observer So Long Associates of Daniel’s chimed in with the compliments of the hour. Supreme Court Judge Joe Greenhill stressed his benefactor’s legal skill; another member of that bench, Zollie Steakley, read an exhausting fourminute panegyric, every sentence sounding like the climax of an oration. The various speakers celebrated Daniel for fighting the sales tax \(“if you’ll pardon the expression,” said state appropriations, saving the tidelands, and punishing narcotics traffickers. Johnson singled out, as Daniel’s accomplishments that would outlive us all, the pre-war Texas pay-asyou-go amendment, the tidelands quitclaim, and, in a joshing allusion, the present sales tax. Daniel’s thankless opposition to the present sales tax was not spoken of. perhaps in deference to the sensibilities of the lobbyists in abundant attendance; no one all evening mentioned, either, any of the four laws for which liberals will remember Daniel, the lobby registration law, the beach bill, the bank escheat law, and the natural gas pipelines tax that is now being tested. The most difficult event of the evening was one of the earliest, John Connally’s speech. He was, of course, in an awkward position, the victor invited to address a banquet of the friends of the vanquished; but the special difficulty was that he did not seem to have mastered his exultation. He was pretty hepped up. “One of the reasons I’m delighted to be here,” he said toward Daniel, “is that this is your appreciation dinner, and not mine”; and again, as to the preparation of the evening’s guest list, “When my name came up, there was a deep, long silence. Then somebody said, `Aw, go ahead and invite himif it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have had this affair, at all.’ ” During the eating, through no fault of his or Johnson’s, those who had the boldness to advance to the long head table tended to choose one or the other of them for visiting, a circumstance perhaps not entirely dissociated from their powers of office; and now, having gone slightly too far, so that a laugh ended up sounding a little like a crow, he went all out to compliment the Governor. “Texas is proud of you,” he said . . . honor, decency, dignity, sincerity, dedication. “Your career,” he said, “will serve as a benchmark for my efforts for the people of this state.” It was a gracious attempt, though it left unanswered the question why he had run against him. A question Governor Daniel did not miss! “Not too much mention has been made about what happened to old Price earlier this year,” he said, when his turn finally came. He told Connally, “I never doubted your ability to make Texas an excellent governor. I simply doubted your timir. g.” Everyone joined in the laughter. “I underestimated your running ability and I overestimated the call which I seemed to hear,” \(and Daniel extended a delicately opened hand, forepublic.” He admitted he was proud of his work and gave all the credit to his co-workers, whom he had stand, the auditorium lights raised. He thanked Johnson for keeping him on key committees in the Senate. He recited a homely poem that ends, “God make me worthy of my friends.” He is a sentimental and a Christian man, and when he called attention to the large delegation from his home county, Liberty, he flicked a tear from his cheek ; he drew out a white,handkerchief and used it there. God knows what’s best for everyone, including governors, he said. He appreciated most of all that people came to honor him when he was losing power. “I appreciate your coming to my inauguration, but I far more appreciate your being here tonight,” he said. Mrs. Daniel was given, on behalf of the throng, a Lincoln Continental. R.D.
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