Jim Wright has supported American foreign policy as it has evolved. His response to the Vietnam situation may be taken as characteristic. When President Johnson ordered the sinking of small boats reportedly attacking U.S. vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin, Wright said “it would be difficult to imagine a more perfect response” in that it was firm but not excessive.’ When, in the middle of last year, Congress approved an additional $125 million for the war, Wright said it showed “that the American people are sick and tired of the indecisive stalemate in Southeast Asia. Wars are for winning.” He said it is a “cruel irony” that when the U.S. has nuclear weapons that “could wipe out the Soviet Union several times over and still have adequate military power to demolish the war-making potential of Communist China,” guerillas in a jungle are frustrating our military power. “You can’t use a 50-megaton bomb to root out a bald of faceless subversives hiding among people friendly to us,” he explained. He hoped limited advisers and aid would avoid “the full-scale commitment of U.S. troops to battle” in Vietnam. 2 At present his stance is one of continued support of the President’s policies in Vietnam. Wright’s assessment of the situation in the Dominican Republic contained elements of disagreement with Johnson’s positions disagreement somewhat quietly suggested. Wright said in July that the rebellion was “the logical result” of a military junta’s previous seizure of power and “was in its inception, Communist-inspired.” Johnson had stated U.S. troops went in to protect Americans and prevent a communist take-over. Wright said Johnson’s “swift and decisive intervention . was necessary to save American lives and to restore some semblance of order.” He also said “The Organization of American States backed us even though we probably violated its charter by our unilateral intervention.” 3 He advocates paying off the federal debt. He is opposed to the government charging users’ fees at the national parks. He has introduced a plan to make the electoral college vote conform literally to the popular vote. He wants parents given a $300 tax credit for every child in college. He ran for the U.S. Senate in a field of six in 1961 and finished -a strong third behind Senator Tower and Bill Blakley. Two other candidates on the side of the national Democrats, Maury Maverick and Cong. Henry Gonzalez, both more liberal than Wright, were in the race, also. In 1964 Wright did not discourage widespread speculation in the daily press that he might oppose Sen. Ralph Yarborough in the spring primary, and persons represented as close to him were frequently quoted slamming Yarborough. Wright announced for re-election to the U.S. House, however, saying the reason he wasn’t opposing Sen. Yarborough basically was that he favored harmony in the Democratic Party in Texas. According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, “Wright told reporters that he regretted seeing Don Yarborough announce that he would run for governor [against John Connally]. ‘It’s been my personal hope that we achieve a maximum degree of harmony in the Democratic Party,’ he said. 5 Wright is now gunning for Tower, and has been for some time. As early as 1963 he was quoted, “I have yet to accept a payment for a speech and I’ve made between 600 and 700 of them. But the junior senator regularly takes gratuitiessometimes as high as $1,000.” 6 In February this year A Book Review Corpus Christi Much of Jim Wright’s political prose is too puffy to be of interest. He worries an issue back and forth, back and forth; he camouflages plain ideas in sentences designed to promote deep breathing; he expatiates on the increasing interdependence of labor and capital, the evil of school dropouts, the folly of hating the government; and his praises of President Johnson vary only as you might imagine a range from the rococo to the baroque. Sermonizing, he talks down, giving the people too long a talk to on too obvious a moral, his language lofty as though his spiel was philosophy. But he’s more a preacher than a huckster that’s something, and it would even be a comfort, as he prepares to run for the Senate, if only his humbug didn’t exceed his lucidity. His book,* which he declared solemnly in public that he himself wrote, \(a it’s better in parts than most of his stuff, if you skim the chaff. This may be so because, \(he having written it, and one assuming he does not write his own newsto sound like a preacher is bound to be duller than a preacher trying to sound like a statesman. It’s maddening to be told what everybody either knows or would just as soon he didn’t, and to be told this as though it was worth one’s time to hear. “The Congress is the mirror of the people,” for instance; “The average congressman today is 52.7 You and Your Congressman, by Jim Wright, Coward-McCann, Inc., New York, 1965, $4.95. Wright issued a release in which he rebuked Tower for “spreading misinformation” on the poverty program and other federal legislation.’ Stories have been planted by persons close to Tower recently that the senator thinks Wright would be easy pickin’s, and Wright has hit back that prevent him from being nominated by the Democrats in fear that Wright would beat him. According to the Dallas News, Wright is having trouble financing his prospective race for the Senate, getting turndowns from businessmen in Dallas, Houston, and Fort Worth, apparently because he voted for repeal of 14-B of Taft-Hartley, whereas “Atty. Gen. Waggoner Carr, Wright’s potential opponent in the Democratic primary, is in a position to run a well-financed race for the Senate.” 8 ‘Wright’s Newsletter, Aug. 10, 1964. 2Newsletter, June 1, 1964. 3Newsletter, July 5, 1965. 4congressional Record, Feb. 4, 1964, p. 1847. Wort Worth Star-Telegram, Feb. 2, 1964. 6Dallas News, Nov. 17, 1963. 7Wright news release, Feb. 24, 1965. 8Carl Freund in the Dallas News, Sept. 8, 1965. R.D. years old,” and Cong. Lloyd Bentsen of McAllen “once listed his occupation simply as ‘Capitalist.’ ” This congressman over here is “highly respected,” that one is “a fair-minded man,” and those two over there are both “highly respected.” Furthermore, “There really are some days when it would be better if one just stayed in bed,” even though “The best that a good congressman can reasonably hope for is to leave a decent footprint on the sands of progress.” \(As for leaving an indecent footprint on the sands if Wright had let people think the book was ghost-written, but a cook is not held responsible for the plumbing, nor a politician for prose; if one perseveres, and has a straightforward curiosity, one can learn some things. IN THE FIRST PLACE, the American congressman has become an errand-boy for hordes of beseeching, garrulous, imperious, favor-seeking constituents. They hound him and he fails them at his own risk. Wright also gets 160 letters a day and once made 114 speeches in ten weeks. He confesses resentment \(in his characteristically oblique and leaden way: “It is natural, I suppose, for a congressman on occasion secretly to resent the disproportionate share of his time and energies which must be consumed with good old Fourth of July comes through: The congressmen “work for Sam Smith, by gosh, and he is entitled to their ear. As a matter of plain justice, he truly is. And September 17, 1965 .7 Foreign Policy; Politics Other Matters Piety vs. Power
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