The GOP Mainstream in Texas Dallas The only thing flowing in the “mainstream” of Republicanism in Texas is Goldwater. The state GOP convention in Dallas’ Memorial Auditorium was a case of hero worship from start to finish. The cliche that harmony reigned supreme would be an understatement. It was a cinch that the 56 Texas votes at the national convention were going for the Arizona senator. He had won by a 3-1 margin in the straw vote of May 2 and had been endorsed by 158 county conventions. Gov. William Scranton, the late-challenging Pennsylvanian, telephoned Sen. John Tower before the convention, but apparently received no encouragement. The president of the Philadelphia National Bank, William Hughson, scouted the delegates for Scranton and couldn’t find even “a half a vite.” A pretty girl handing out Scranton literature couldn’t get delegates to accept it. A lone picket for Scranton, George Ferris, 62,. a Dallas investments salesman, appeared in the balcony. A woman sitting near him raised her umbrella and tried to hold it between him and the photographers who flocked to that area \(her antics only when he tried to get on the convention floor : he was not a delegate. On convention eve Goldwater spoke at a $100-a-plate dinner for which all 1,500 hotel ballroom seats had been sold out days in advance. The 1,000 or more Republicans who attended the convention made this the largest state GOP convention in Texas history. The spirit here reminded one of the hoopla associated with national conventions: signs, speeches, shouting, and songs from an organ and two bands \(one of Enthusiasm reached a peak during an eightminute demonstration when Goldwater took the platform shortly before noon. It was cut off only when the crowd was told the senator had to make his speech and fly back to Washington. NEVER BIN MY WILDEST DREAMS did I imagine the reception Tin Dallas] would be anything like this,” Goldwater told them, “and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.” His prepared speech was mainly a criticism of Administration foreign policy, in contrast to the night before when he had spoken out primarily on domestic fiscal policy. Newsmen got some of their best copy from his extemporaneous remarks both times. At the dinner he ad libbed criticism of a “weak-kneed foreign policy that is leading us into World War III just as surely as we were led into World War II by stupid ineptitude.” Shouts and whistles hailed this. At the convention he frankly asked Texas Republicans for their convention delegates and urged a united effort to win the election. He told the Texans to “act like adults’ and to fight Democrats instead of other Republicans. He advised: “Don’t carry grudges.” In further replies to recent criticism, he said no one Republican can “destroy the party.” He said that in order for their admitted minority party to win, the GOP has to appeal to the “unhappy, disgusted, disenfranchised Democrats . . . who believe as we do about the problems of our country.” There was hostility among the delegates to anything remotely anti-Goldwater. Sen. .Tower’s mention of New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge was greeted with boos. Goldwater’s mention of “the radical press”‘ in his convention speech provoked hoos and hisses, and he felt he had to caution, “Don’t boo anybody.” The first resolution, as expected, “irrevocably committed” the Texas delegates to Goldwater “until personally released by him.” State Chairman Peter O’Donnell, Jr., of Dallas announced that this pushed Goldwater over the 655 total needed for first-ballot nomination at San Francisco next month, and pandemonium broke out. The tone of the substantive resolutions can be conveyed in a few excerpts: “We oppose continued trading with Communist countries. . . . We favor, and strongly urge, the official recognition of a policy of victory over Communism. . . . We oppose the expansion of the federal government in the field of domestic affairs. . . We oppose the Democratic Administration’s proposals for federal aid to education,’ medicare, and its so-called war on poverty. . . . We also oppose the Democrat Administrations punitive civil rights bill. . . . We oppose limitations on our constitutional rights to keep and bear arms. We favor moves by our government aimed at returning agriculture to a market-controlled economy.” \(In his remarks to the convention, Cong. Bruce Alger, Dallas, had . said the GOP under Goldwater will “put an end. to the Soviet armed campCuba” and “will reinstate capitalism as our economic sysJUST TO NAIL everything down, another resolution bouhd the Texas delegation to the unit rule on all national convention votes. This caused a brief floor fightthe only open dissension of the day. Jack Porter of Houston, former national committeeman, summed up arguments against the policy with the remark from the platform that the state convention “might just as well send two or three persons to cast all our votes.” He and other party leaders, including the resolutions committee majority, had favored some small amount of decision-making authority for the delegates. A real test of sentiment was sidestepped by resolutions chairman Frates Seeligson of San Antonio when he accepted a floor amendment to the proposed unit rule resolution. It changed the word “may” to “shall” in instructing the Texas delegation to vote as a bloc on everything. Rex Cleveland of Fort Worth argued from a floor microphone for the word change because “I want a delegation in line with everything that Barry Goldwater stands for.” He also drew some boos when he mentioned that Texas Republicans went for the nomination of President Eisenhower over Sen. Robert Taft at the 1962 national convention. Cleveland’s hint of a double-cross brought Porter to the platform to defend the 1952 delegation, which he headed. “I want to straighten Mr. Cleveland out,” Porter said. Hecklers booed and hissed him, and Porter told them: “Whoever you are over there, I’ve been here long enough to, say a few words.” Convention chairman Tad Smith of El Paso hustled to the microphone with praise of Porter as “an honest man and one of the finest Republicans in Texas.” Many of the delegates applauded. Goldwater’s advice against booing four hours before was forgotten when Don Riddle of Lamar County shouted from the balcony that “the majority is not always right,” and this caused booing. James Ray of Fort Worth closed the debate on the unit rule by asking Riddle, “How much longer are we going to be ruled by the minority?” JANIS WILSON June 26, 1964 3 it
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