Page 4


Conversation with Don Yarborough Houston It’s generally assumed by informed political people in Texas that Don Yarborough, the successful Houston attorney who narrowly lost his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor in 1962, will try to make John Connally a one-term governor by opposing him for renomination next year. In a discussion with the Observer in his Houston office recently, Yarborough said nothing to discourage this assumption and everything, short of announcing, to encourage it. He tossed a handful of firecrackers into the Connally camp, but he selected them, and lobber. them, with care; he was sensitive to the question of timing. The result was a rhetoric constricted by a formality of language of which he is not guilty on the stump. “I have one priority consideration at this time, which is to fully and completely pay off all the indebtedness from my 1962 campaign,” he said. He reported spending $290,000 \(compared to Connally’s reported $90,000, and has been cut to half that, largely by fund-raising dinners. One of more than $10,000. “There’s one significant thing I have noticed about these dinners,” he said. “The crowds are becoming increasingly large. I think that it does reflect a new mood, a new expectancy in the people. They are becoming restless, and they deserve leadership that is going to be directed toward the solution of people’s problems rather than corporation and big business problems. “Although the daily press has been outstandingly silent on the failures of the present administration,” Yarborough said of Connally’s team, “still the people have sensed the lack of concern and lack of leadership which has characterized the last lazy, unimaginative six months. “Although most of the failure has been in the negative sense, some of the most serious encroachment upon the public’s well-being has been of an affirmative nature, a perfect example of which would be the recent loan shark bill, which has done little more than legalize what was formerly illegal and place the hand of approval on practices previously regarded as unconscionable by outspoken social moralists for over a decade,” Yarborough said. What’s this? the Observer inquired. Has not Gov. Connally said the last Texas leg . . John Connally reported that he spent a record-breaking $572,480 in the first and second primaries of 1962 when he won the Democratic nomination for governor. His chief opponent, Don Yarborough, reported spending $288,061 in the two primaries. Some informed observers felt that more realistic totals would have been obtained by doubling each set of figures.”The Government and Politics of Texas, by Clifton McCleskey, Little, Brown and Co., 1963, p. 61. 6 The Texas Observer islature was the greatest of the century? “Well,” Yarborough responded to this inviting question, “I think it is very obvious that there are those within this state that would wholeheartedly agree with that statement. They would be the lobbyists, the heads of various international oil cornpanies, and I am certain that E. B. Germany and Allan Shivers would even say that it’s the most outstanding legislature in the history of civilization, because if their fondest dreams were to become a reality, they did, during the last legislative session. “There was leadership within the House of Representatives,” Yarborough said, “that knew their thoughts better than they do and saw to it that their desires and policies were executed into meaningful legislation for the special interests. It should also be stated that they had an exceedingly sympathetic ear when they brought their problems to the leadership of the Senate or made them known to the executive branch of the government. “I am reminded of the British chieftain quoted by Tacitus saying in respect to the Romans, ‘They leave us a wasteland, and call it peace.’ There is no doubt that this was one of the most harmonious legislative sessions that we have ever had. There has never been a closer cooperative spirit between the lobbyists, the executive branch, and the legislature, and I can assure you that concerned Texans everywhere are reappraising their political commitments in order that they may correct a condition which is reminiscent of the Allan Shivers administration.” CERTAINLY Connally’s administration is not reminiscent to one aspect of the Shivers period, for that former governor pledged that there would be no integration in Texas as long as he was governor, while Connally has appointed Negroes to high state positions and has inaugurated a policy of hiring qualified Negroes to state jobs. Politicians understand, of course, that the dispositions .of Negro voters would crucially affect a 1964 bid by Don Yarborough. What has Yarborough to say now on civil rights? “I am delighted,” he said, “that the people of American have sensed their destiny and are coming to grips with one of the central issues of our time,” he said. “I feel that public opinion will be the major force in bringing about meaningful legislation which will correct abuses which have taken place in the past. I have made statements on the Negro question as it has applied to the moral and economic development of this state and nation back two years ago, when no other Southern politician was willing to do so. I feel that generally speaking, the people of Texas are aware of the positions which I have taken on statewide TV or, for that matter, in other states.” He called attention to a speech he made to the Negro chamber of commerce of Austin June 15. According to the Austin daily, he told Negroes at that time that they should demand their rights, and that they should not work with laggard Negro leaders. He recalled also that in this speech he commendedthe Kennedys for their forthright civil rights stands. \(See also, “It was my good fortune to speak to the Young Businessmen’s League in March at Raine, La., a statewide organization,” Yarborough continued. “The text of my speech was that equality for all people was the demanding urgency of our time and that unless the entire South answered to its responsibility and unless businessmen had the courage to champion an unpopular cause and to face a temporary criticism of their contemporaries and friends, then there would be a very serious situation that could arise, with the attendant unfortunate economic and social effects which \\ordinarily accompany such a condition.” He also said, Yarborough recalled, “that the South is on trial while the United States itself is on trial before the international tribunal of public opinion, and the swiftness with which we bring about a total solution to this problem and the manner in which it is brought about will have far-reaching implications in terms of the global aspirations of this country. Freedom cannot be spread by the face of tyranny and fear.” IN PRACTICAL POLITICS, Don Yarborough’s future is closely associated with the situation and wishes of the senior Texas senator, his unrelated namesake, Ralph Yarorough. With this in mind, the Observer asked for comment on Sen. Yarborough’s situation. “I join many Texans throughout our state,” Don Yarborough replied, “in commending the senior senator for the courageous role that he has played as one of the outstanding progressive statesmen in the history of our state and nation. It is my feeling that his historical place in this country is becoming daily more secure, and that all segments of our society in all regions of this country are becoming increasingly aware of his stature and courage. “On a political level, I feel, that it is becoming increasingly apparent that the economic establishment of this state would have great difficulty in unseating him if they were unwise enough to make the effort.” In pre-1961 Texas politics, Don Yarborough would not have been likely seriously to entertain an attempt to cut off Connally’s political life after one term. It is the shifting of conservatives from the