Independent Liberals Organize Political Intelligence Some 250 liberal Democrats from around the state gathered in Houston, Feb. 29, and formed the latest political organization on the Texas scene: Texas Organization of Franklin Jones Sr. of Marshall, Democratic Coalition co-chairman, who presided: “We’ve been tellin”em for years, so I think the title is appropriate.” In a more serious vein, the liberals, without dissent, endorsed the following candidates for statewide office: Don Yarborough for Governor; Albert Fuentes for Lt. Governor; Dan Sullivan for Congressman-at-large; Jesse Owens for Railroad Commissioner, and Fred C. Williams, of Dallas, a former newspaperman, for Land Commissioner. The liberals also approved a many-sided resolution which praised President Johnson for his “liberal approach” to the nation’s domestic and foreign problems, expressed “dismay and disgust” at the manner John Connally and Gordon McLendon have “teamed up” to oppose the liberal programs and policies advocated by Johnson, Senator Ralph Yarborough and Don Yarborough, and called for election of state and local officials loyal to the programs of the national administration. Yarborough, Fuentes and Williams spoke at the meeting, as did a spokesman for Owens and also a number of Harris County candidates. Pending further organizational plans, the group voted to use the office of Mrs. R. D. Randolph in Houston as a mailing center. The independents thus became the last of the statewide organizations banded together in the Democratic Coalition to form a formal structure. The other three are the Texas AFL-CIO, the Political Association of Spanish-Speaking Organizations and the Texas Council of Voters. V Since PASO endorsed both Yarbor oughs and Fuentes, it now remains only for the Negro members of the coalition to decide on their course. Labor is the only element of the coalition not officially supporting Don Yarborough and Fuentes so far. Labor’s newsletter Feb. 21 gives a special-screen emphasis to the remarks of the two Yarboroughs, Fuentes, and Dan recent COPE convention. V Observer readersfanciers of Texas politics of the right wingwill want to read Bob Sherrill’s piece in the Feb. 24 Nation on H. L. Hunt. Sherrill’s chief re portorial coup: he obtained, evidently from Wayne Poucher, the disaffected Life Line broadcaster, copies of memos from Hunt to Poucher telling Poucher what to say on his Life Line broadcasts. It is the thrust of Sherrill’s piece that Life Line should be denied their federal tax exemption as educational programs. Sherrill, who interviewed Hunt, quotes him saying: “I think we are being taken over by the communists.” and, “If we are not too far gone, if our freedom can be saved, Life Line will save it.” On LBJ, Sherrill quotes Hunt: “Johnson is the kind of President who can lead Congress around by its nose. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in there for three terms.” Sherrill states that Booth Mooney, the former Johnson staffer who wrote a biography of Johnson that has since been serialized in American newspapers, “turned Washington writer for Life Line”that is, a script writer for Hunt. V Laurence Stern advanced some in teresting revelations about Booth Mooney, too. The Washington Post staffer discovered that Mooney had dropped, from his revision of his 1956 biography of Johnson, a reference to the Americans for Democratic Action as “left-wing,” a statement that Johnson in the early 1940’s “staunchly upheld the doctrine of states rights,” and a tribute to Johnson by Sen. Mooney was Johnson’s executive assistant for six years during Johnson’s Senate career and is now “a Washington representative for the Hunt Oil Co.,” also quoted from letters from Mooney to Life Line’s closed three scripts on “the need for curbPoucher: “Enclosed is a suggested radio script, which Mr. Hunt requested that I write and send you.” The Post was one of the papers that published Mooney’s revised biography of Johnson. V Ed Ball, COPE director for Harris County labor, resigned after the county labor council decided against the course he advocated, which would have placed labor in the position of recommending to the Harris County Democrats that they not endorse Don Yarborough. Paul Gray, communications workers’ leader, argued that labor should not try to influence what the liberal H.C.D. did in the race, and this point of view prevailed. H.C.D. takes its stand March 8. V Fuentes has appointed E. B. Taylor, Dickinson businessman-landowner and radio station operator, his state campaign coordinator. Taylor is a long-time PASO supporter and was active in Don Yarbor ough’s 1962 campaign. . . . Cty. Cmsr. Al bert Pena, state PASO chairman, appointed attorney Charles Albidress, Jr., executive secretary of PASO to replace Fuentes, who had resigned, being a candidate. . . . It is being pointed out in San Antonio that when Fuentes was running for county treasurer he ran an advertisement for his candidacy in “The Militant American,” a right-wing, Birch-type publication of the Wainwright American Legion post, which listed Fuentes as one of a large group “helping in the printing and mailing of this newspaper.” . . . Martin Garcia, former PASO district director, has ceased his PASO activity in view of his candidacy for state representative. . . . About 450 persons attended a rally for PASO candidates in Crystal City. Fuentes was among the speakers. Don Vs. John g ov Don Yarborough says he will have main headquarters both in Austin and Houston Austin for public relations, Houston for organizations. His hard campaign begins this week. “Things are looking extremely good with regard to my leadership. It’s all back with lots of people added to it,” he says. The Dawson Herald in Navarro County became the first paper to endorse him formally: Connally deserves sympathy, but sympathy “should have no place in choosing a governor of any state,” the paper said. V In Dallas, Don Yarborough laid out his basic reasoning on his chances of winning. Predicting he will carry Dallas, he told the Times-Herald: “Connally has relied very heavily on Republican support. About 75% of his support last time, from studies we’ve made, was Republican support. Nearly 100% of the voters that will be going over into the Republican primary will be his . .. the exodus is going to be exceedingly large.” V Gov. Connally told Jon Ford of the San Antonio Express that the way he is thinking now, he is making his last race for public office this year, win or lose, and he plans to open a law office in San Antonio or Austin at the end of his public service. “There are too many other things I want to do. . .. This business gets old. It’s not your enemies who . hurt you most. Sometimes, it’s your friends . . . you can anticipate your enemies and be prepared,” Ford quoted him. V On his eastern swing, Connally spoke in New York, dedicated the Texas pa vilion at the fair, called on Johnson 45 minutes in the White House. He said re ports of his rift with Johnson were greatly exaggerated and that he told Johnson most Texans will be solidly behind him for presi dent. On his health he was widely quoted that he tires easily, but that he’ll probably get rid of the cast on his arm March 15-20. “But I still won’t be able to shake hands.” March 6, 1964 11
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