`The Late, Late Show’ Liberals Take the Sunshine Again Houston Despite behind-the-scenes attempts by liberal Democrats here to achieve a compromise 50-50 split on all contested delegations to the state Democratic convention on June 16th, Gov. John Connally’s forces insisted on seating a rump conservative delegation from Bexar County, and any chance of harmony evaporated. Having his way 3-to-1 on the test roll call, Gov. Connally dominated the convention and will lead a delegation mad_e up mostly of his friends and supporters to Atlantic City to work for President Johnson. In a brief talk to the delegates, Connally told them he hoped they would cooperate with Johnson in everything he wanted, including his candidate for vice-president. To the convention, as it closed, Connally expressed his appreciation. To the press behind stage, he said he thought the credentials committee report barring the Bexar liberals from the conventionseating the Harris liberals and the Bexar and Dallas conservativeshad been objective. “Every district caucus nominee has been honored,” the governor also stressed. Caught between a desire not to harm President Johnson’s political situation in Texas or elsewhere and the prospect of abandoning Bexar loyalists they believed to have won their county convention “almost two to one,” the bulk of the Harris County liberalswalked out of the convention and joined the Dallas and San Antonio liberals in a rally outside. The liberals will ask the Atlantic City convention to recognize the claims of the liberal Democrats from Bexar and Dallas that they should have been seated in the coliseum here instead of their conservative counterparts. Connally was asked what percentage of the delegates to Atlantic City are liberal. “No effort was made to classify them along those lines,” he said. “They’re all good Democrats and they’re going to support the President.” The Connally convention endorsed Johnson’s drive for a “Great Society”using the language, “regardless of race, creed, color . . .”and Connally was asked if this was an endorsement of his programs. “I would say it was more an endorsement of his leadership. You choose whatever words you wishhis aims, his goals,” the governor repied. The President “should be happy” with the resolution, Connally said. “We’re for the President, period.” At this point a man wearing a delegate’s badge, but obviously not a member of the 4 The Texas Observer press, asked Connally from the periphery of the reporters clogged around him: “Are you for his program?” “Well,” Connally said, “I don’t know what his program is. I know what part of it is.” The convention had proceeded in a spirit of “harmony and good fellowship,” and “the vast majority of the delegates supported us,” Connally concluded. President Johnson’s influence was nowhere exactly to be found, but it was there, on Connally’s side. For instance, A. W. Moursund, the President’s close friend and one of the two trustees of the Johnson family fortune, was the temporary chairman of the convention. The average delegate probably found it hardto conceive that Moursund, not previously a conspicuous figure in state politics, would have accepted this role without the President’s assent. A widely-played report that the President was sending a “peace corps” to Houston was denied by the White House, but a spokesman close to Connally was quoted that the President did not think the convention needed to go on record for the President’s programs and that he was content for Connally to handle the convention. The Democratic Coalition and the forces behind Sen. Ralph Yarborough emerged from the convention in fair spirits despite the events of the day. Albert Pena, the county commissioner who survived a serious challenge to his re-election in San Antonio and who is the chairman of the state Political Assn. for Spanish-speaking Organizations, was one of the chairmen of the liberal San Antonio delegation, and he says that the decision by the Harris liberals to forego their prerogatives and honors in the convention to stand in the sun with San Antonio and Dallas liberals marks a high point in the history of the Coalition. Supporters of Texas labor’s participation in the Coalition, specifically state president Hank Brown and secretary-treasurer Roy Evans, concede they lost a number of labor delegates to the Connally side. Reports that Brown and Evans face stiff opposition inside the labor movement, starting at the Brownsville convention of the Texas AFL-CIO in August, are running strong. Brown and Evans took on two named leaders of the United Auto Workers, including Hiram Moon of Fort Worth, and the two state leaders of the building trades -in letters to national labor officials recently. Labor’s support of the Democratic Coalition of Negroes, Latin-Americans, liberals, and labor was the crux of the issue in these letters. LARGE CROWDS appeared at both the RalphYarborough and John Connally dinners. They were being held at the same time at the Rice and the Shamrock, respectively. Yarborough’s speech concerned national politics and his own reelection, mostly; only in disclaiming any ambition for a party office and expressing again his hope the state convention would endorse “the President and his programs” did the senator take a specific stand about the issues of the moment. Yarborough visited, with delegates after the banquet, but flew to Washington the next morning for the hot and heavy civil rights voting. After a brief recess the hotel ballroom at the Rice filled up again with 1,000 or 1,200 persons for the liberal caucus, as near to a mass meeting of the state liberal movement as there has been in the last five or six years. The chairman of the liberal Houston delegation, Chris Dixie, said the rumor was that the Harris liberals would be seated, but not those from San Antonio and Dallas. “Our moral standards in the conduct of political affairs have become so low that you can calculate who is not going to be seated by counting how many votes the powers that be need to control the convention,” he said. The Houston group were not planning a rump and wanted to avoid it if possible, Dixie said, especially to avoid hurting Sen. Yarborough in his campaign for re-election. They are for Johnson 100% and see nothing more they can expect from his as President. “Before that he was Lyndon Johnson and some of us got mad, but it’s purely cobwebs in the past,and I for one don’t want to live in the past,” he said. “Those times when Lyndon Johnson was climbing his way up through the crooked ravines of Texas politics are forgotten as far as I am concerned.” Connally had been elected resoundingly, and Dixie proposed to give him due respect. In fact, Dixie said, they were just trying to find “a way out of the unhappy dilemma in which we find ourselves.” A delegate from Wichita Falls told the crowd he had “amused himself” during the day by chatting with delegates from his district. George Cowart of Port Arthur said everyone is for President Johnson : “just today I read where Allan Shivers, who has not supported a Democrat for 12 years, is for President Johnson, too.” Mrs. Lillian Collier of Mumford struck a different note. “We can take this convention over if we half try,” she said, and “If we let our delegation go up there and not
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