seat themselves, the outcome would not be close. Angelina County passed to caucus, voted 30-15 to reject the Connally committee report, but by the end of the roll call saw the lie of the land and re-caucused, siding this second time with Connally’s forces by seven or eight votes. Nevertheless, liberals in the convention were agreeably surprised by the number of counties that bucked the tide and went with them, including, in addition to Harris, the large and middle-size counties of Denton, Galveston, Grayson, Jefferson, and Smith. Counties whose delegations were more Johnsonian than Connallyesque voted uniformly with Connally. A close student of the complexion of the delegations said that Johnson could have switched these delegations to the side of the Bexar liberals with a “flick of the finger”: Bell, Brown, Cameron, Collin, Fannin, Jim Wells, Lubbock, McLennan, Midland, Nueces, Starr, Webb, Wichita, and Williamson. In Nueces, the caucus voted with Connally by a margin of six out of the 64 votes. Persons who might have done floor work for the liberals’ cause had a floor fight been mounted inside the convention said that delegations, getting the drift of things, began cutting side deals and caving; that is, falling away from a no vote on the credentials report. “Cratering” was another interesting word used to describe such developments. The final vote: 2137 to 664. As Harris retired from the floor to caucus, Moursund took the gavel and said only, “I am proud and honored to be your temporary chairman. Now let’s get to work.” The Houston people gathered around a steel girder off the convention floor, and Dixie shouted as best he could to them : “I want to say to you with candor that I’m not happy about the present situation. . . . We’re not gonna have any cheap talk.” No one would be bound by the vote on the walk-out, except that he would be as chairman, he said. Erwin had told him that if they left, “you leave all the marbles behind. He said that they would seat the other delegation.” Jim Smith of the steelworkers said that the night before Texas COPE had adopted a policy “unanimously” that if they were given a roll call vote on Bexar, labor would not rump. He said: “We believe it would be foolish for the liberals, for labor, for the Negro people, for PASO to walk out of this convention and turn over to the John Birchers waiting outside the right to name delegates to the national convention and the September convention and run the Democratic campaign, and for Ralph Yarborough.” Gould. Beech, recently a candidate for county commissioner in Harris, said: “We have reached a point where I cannot permit myself to participate in this kind of cynical, amoral approach to the affairs of the Democratic Party. We must abandon expediency.” Bill Kilgarlin, the Democratic chairman in Houston, said: “I don’t care if the vote had been 2,800 to 100: You cannot condone thievery when its exists. I don’t know how 6 The Texas Observer you stop stealing in conventions, but you can register a protest. . . . I ask you to leave the convention.” After a show of hands, the caucus moved into a closed room to’ take a count, and the speeches resumed. Dixie said at this point that “I personally am going to walk out,” whatever the decision of the caucus. “While I would rather take a beating with a stick than to bind myself on this solution, I personally cannot lead you this far down the road and fail to go the rest of the way,” he said. George Eddy rose to oppose the walk-out. “What do we have to gain by walking out?” he asked. “It will hurt tfie cause of those we honestly want to help, and I’m talking about Ralph Yarborough !and Lyndon Johnson.” Rep. Eckhardt revealed that “it was so seriously thought” that it would be best for this to be a consolidated convention united for Johnson and the Democratic platform, every effort was made to accommodate the other side, including an offer to share all the contested delegations, splitting their votes. “We need to stand for integrity in the Democratic convention. . . . I see nothing divisive in expressing our strongest condemnation of the steal of Bexar County.” Bill Foster, a member of the COPE administrative committee, said that Smith’s statement that the committee had unanimously taken a stand against a walkout “is not so.” \(Later Walter Gray, COPE director for several states, said that Foster “is It was clear on a showing of hands, Dixie ruled, that a majority wanted to walk out began. A reporter noted in his story the next morning that singers onstage in the convention were singing, “I can’t give you anything but love, baby.:’ G. J. Sutton, Negro leader in San Antonio, said, upon hearing of the decision, “That’s very encouraging,” and rushed to tell Pena and the others outside. OUTSIDE was, indeed, outside, hot and improvised, with speakers using a battery-powered trumpet-like amplifier held in the hand. “The late, late show. I’ve seen it four times,” sighed Lyman Jones of the state labor office .. “Well, I’d rather be right than king,” someone said. Dixie said first off they were all for Johnson and the Democrats’ platform, and this got a unanimous voice vote. Pena and Mike McKool of Dallas took their places beside Dixie. Voices identified themselves from Navarro, Midland, Lamar, Jefferson, Cameron, and Andrews counties, but Dixie had made no appeal for others to go into the sun, and not many outside the three big cities had. Estimates of the crowd ranged from . 500 to 800 the next day. Roy Evans, secretary-treasurer of state labor, was present ; Hank Brown, the state president, had gone back to the hotel ; neither of them were delegates in any case. This year, Dixie said to Pena and McKool, they had “got robbed,” but next year it might be Houston. “We are joining each other to protect each other and to give each other hope,” he said. “I hope this is a beginning of a spirit of brotherhood of the loyal Democrats of this state, and I hope we can make of the Democratic Party of this state something that \\ we can be proud of,” he said. McKool said he was for fair, square conventions, and “We’re happy to join anyone else who is against this kind of treatment.” Pena deferred to Kilgarlin, who said : “This is not an exercise in vain. This is showing true belief in principle.” Dixie advocated, rather than a bolt to Atlantic City, authorizing three persons each from the three major cities to “prepare a protest” to the Democratic National Committee and the Atlantic City convention on Bexar and Dallas counties and to claim the delegates to which the loyalists from these two cities would have been entitled had they been seated. This was agreed without dispute. Pena spoke then: “This is a real shot in the ‘arm for Bexar County, and I believe it’s a shot in the arm for the Texas and the Bexar County Coalitions. We have to stand together on four legs. We may have one that’s a little weak now, but a stool can stand on three legs. We won’t have stolen conventions in the future if we elect the right governor.” Rev. S. Clifton Byrd of San Antonio closed the meeting:’ “We thank Thee that we have such a caliber of men in the Democratic Party who will stand up for the rights of all mankind.” There was a good deal of sadness about all this. Mrs. Barbara Dillingham, one of the Harris liberals who walked out, had wanted to be a delegate to Atlantic City, and she was disappointed she would not be. “The trouble with being a liberal in Texas,” she said, squinting, “is you’re always in the sun. You’re either outside the convention trying to get in or inside on the way out. It would be better in Massachusetts, because the weather’s better.” INSIDE, Byron Tunnel’, the arch-conservative Speaker of the House of Representatives, had taken over the permanent chairmanship of the convention. The committees had met with dispatch the resolutions committee met for just five minutesand there was little or no controversy. As Erwin had predicted, with Harris liberals outside everything was going quickly. The delegates were decided upon: of the many interesting observations that might be made, it is perhaps most important that a number of labor people were among them from Dallas and Houston especially. Between 125 and 175 members of the huge Harris delegation had stayed in the convention \(including the core of the proConnally group, the steelworkers, and some seated or denied any prerogatives. Apparently even those who walked out can attend the September_covention as delegates if they wish. It was announced in a committee report that the services of Byron Skelton of Tern
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