Jim Wright’s Problems Washington, D.C. John Tower greeted me from behind the big desk in his Senate office. He had just returned from a campaign swing through Texas; this was just before he left again for about three weeks in Vietnam. ‘ Rushed as he was, Tower made it clear he had time for his “liberal friends.” He knows that disenchanted liberal Democrats elected him in 1961 and that the same thing could happen again in 1966. Senator, some people feel you have taken a more moderate position in the last year or two. Do you feel this is correct? “I don’t feel I have changed on any essentials. I think I’ve been pretty consistent in supporting what I’ve always believed. Sometimes the longer you are involved up here, your opinions change. I believe my basic position on issues hasn’t changed.” He did have one suggestion though . . . he’s been for some things recently instead of opposing everything. He cited conservation of natural resources. In addition, he voted yes on passage of the omnibus farm bill, his first affirmative vote on farm legislation since he’s been in Congress; yes on passage of the higher education bill, and yes in committee on reporting out the omnibus housing bill which included the controversial rent supplement section. He has also made some public statements that have deviated from the right-wing Republican line he has regularly upheld. Tower said he voted for the farm bill because of its cotton, rice, and dairy provisions. He said it was inevitable that somefarm bill would be passed and the bill as passed “looked like the best we could do under the circumstances.” Tower took an active role in working for the cotton section \(the Talmadge-Humphrey plan of diwas written into the bill on the floor over the objections of a majority of the Senate agriculture committee. Cotton was a strange situation which saw Tower lined up solidly with the Johnson Administration and Sen. Ralph Yarborough with the conservative agriculture committee. Higher education was a different matter. Though a former college professor, Tower has not been overly enthusiastic about any kind of federal aid to education. “I opposed elementary and secondary aid,” which was also passed this year, he recalled. “The higher education bill seemed to me to be an improvement over what we had in the past.” He explained his housing vote as a matter of tactics. “The longer we kept it in committee, the less chance we would have of changing it on the floor.” The banking and currency committee voted 10-4 to report the bill, so there is a question how much difference Tower’s vote made. He was the only Republican to vote in favor of reporting it. In a statement of individual views in the committee report, he said he had voted for approval “primarily because of several meritorious programs,” such as housing for the elderly and handicapped, urban renewal, public housing, and FHA mortgage loan insurance operations, and to give the Senate an opportunity to consider the measure. Senator, what do you think the issues will be next year? The Johnson Administration’s effort to issue should Tower’s Democratic opponent be Cong. Jim Wright of Ft. Worth, who voted in favor of repeal; however, Tower will get a lot of mileage out of being one of the leaders of the successful Senate filibuster against the bill this fall even if his opponent is the more conservative Atty. Gen. Waggoner Carr. Tower said he doesn’t feel Carr has any overpowering claim to the conservative V As we go to press this issue the evi dence is strong that Cong. Jim Wright, Fort Worth, has scraped his knees on the contribute to his campaign for the U.S. Senate because of his vote for repeal of him because of his 1964 vote against the reported unwillingness to put the screws to businessmen to get them to finance Wright’s campaign. Therefore, Wright is vascillating; whether he’ll finish the preliminary race around the track and announce for the Senate is the principal unanswered question now in Texas politics. V Item: Pundits continue to pass along whispers that Wright is having a lot of trouble raising money and that conservative Atty. Gen. Waggoner Carr, announced for the Senate already, has so much money in the bank for his campaign, he’ll have a hard time figuring out how to spend it all. V Item: Les Carpenter, Washington col umnist whose wife is Mrs. Lyndon Johnson’s press secretary, wrote Nov. 29, of the possibility of the President’s intervention for Wright: “That most likely will not happen.” Carpenter said Johnson watched F.D.R. fail in efforts to influence senatorial primaries and “learned the lesson. He is not one to repeat the mistakes of others.” Carpenter, who all but announced Wright for the Senate with a flat statement earlier in the season, now says “there is considerable doubt among political pros that Wright will actually run.” V Item: Wright said in Lubbock that Sen. John Tower, the Republican in vote in Texas. Carr’s establishing himself as the true conservative in the race, Tower said, “is his problem. I’m the incumbent. I’m running on my record.” Tower said he felt another issue would be Vietnam. A member of the Senate armed services committee, Tower believes he has a natural advantage in discussing the Vietnam war because of his first-hand knowledge. “I’m for standing firm,” he said. Tower made it clear he is trying to dissociate himself from the militantly conservative John Birch Society. He said he had spoken out against the society even prior to his intervention against a Birchsupported candidate in the Houston GOP county chairmanship race earlier this year. He said to his knowledge the society is on the decline in Texas. The GOP’s only remaining major office holder in the state said he felt his election was vital to the future of the two-party system in Texas. He said that it’s not so important that John Tower the person win, but that a Republican win. MARTIN FROST cumbent, can be beaten by “any good Democrat with a clear understanding of national problems if given an opportunity to get his story across to the people,” but that Wright himself is “not unhappy” where he is and that “I am not out to force myself on anybody. I don’t have to.” V Item: Sam Kinch speculated in the Fort Worth,Star-Telegram that Wright might have Johnson’s backing for Speaker of the U.S. House, which caused reaction from Washington that he might in about another ten yearswhen he gets enough seniority. V Item: Persons close to Sen. Don Ken nard say he’ll run for Tarrant County judge if Wright doesn’t run for the Senate. Kennard is very close to Wright and would not countenance that report if Wright was not in doubt; Kennard knows that -Rep. Howard Green, Fort Worth, is fairly far down the road of a commitment to run for county judge, himself. V Item: Despite his formal position that he is not running on any ticket, Gov. John Connally’s influence is now wheeled into position on Carr’s side against Wright. Connally agrees with Carr on 14-B; Carr glommed onto Connally’s announcement he would run by announcing immediately thereafter; and at his Nov. 16 press con ference, Connally said “Waggoner has made an exceedingly able attorney general,” has been “extraordinarily cooperative,” and “I have every confidence Waggoner would December 10, 1965 A Talk with Tower
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.