Hon. Carr will be easily led. He’s already leaned so long in that direction his left leg must be shorter than the other. Thus he is dangerous; a real potential mischiefmaker. Tower. I CONFESS a bit of personal bitterness toward Senator Dugger’s last hurrah, though trying hard to be a sport about it. A national magazine had been conned into buying an article about his Independent, works-gumming candidacy and a New York newspaper had agreed to send me trooping across Texas for six weeks for the purpose of recording the three-way senatorial campaign for its daily columns. For weeks I have read of old Texas campaigns \(Pappy O’Daniel’s money-gathering flour barrels and nasal hillbilly concerts My Decision on Politics Having decided March 22 not to run for for the U.S. Senate, I wrote a statement saying why. Since I released it I have had no regrets or second thoughts; I believe I have done the right thing. Here is the statement : I was impelled, earlier this year, to file my intention to run for the U.S. Senate as an independent not only or mainly by the situation in the Senate race, but also by the unhealthy lack of real debate in the mass media on Vietnam. I believed this lack of debate was letting us drift into nuclear war over China in a general defaulting of our collective national conscience. This, the last two months, has changed. The televised Senate hearings, Senator Robert Kennedy’s increasing national leadership for a compromise peace in Vietnam, and the Gallup and other opinion polls including the one showing 88% of the people favor negotiating with the Viet Cong if they are willing to negotiateleave the President no grounds for not knowing that the country is gravely divided on Vietnam, that the people do not want a general land war in Asia, and that we want the Vietnam fighting stoppedhonorably, but stopped. In my opinion, the national debates now proceeding on Vietnam have made it clear that the President has a duty to de-escalate the war, not further escalate it, and to refuse to be finessed by the other side into the bog of a general land war or nearer the brink of the abyss of nuclear war. In the new situation in the country, I have found myself returning, in my reflections and plans, to the work I have been preparing to do for a long time. Believing that I am likelier to do more good as a free and independent writer than as a politician, I have decided not to run for the Sehate and to go back to my work. It has from the stump; Allan Shivers’ old, spookfilled drama of The Port Arthur Story; crusty ole Jim Ferguson’s bawled invecthem, and the conventional prattlings of Hons. Tower and Carr, with the learned, classical, straightforward campaign Senator Dugger would bring to the people in defiance of tradition and common political sense. I was ready to show Senator Dugger off as a bigger hero than Batman, James Bond, and Bobby Kennedy rolled into one. Alas, the opportunity has gone up in smoke. Even editors in distant reaches instinctively know that a Carr vs. Tower campaign will have all the wit of George Lincoln Rockwell, all the depth of Ronald Reagan, all the sparkle. of Step-n-Fetchit, and all the public appeal of a week-old newspaper. If chinwhiskers come back, I may run. taken me a while, trying to be a politician, to realize it, but I prefer to try to make my contribution at the typewriter, not the microphone. I have been thinking about this for two or three weeks, and there have been many factors: the concern of some candidates that a number of voters would stay out of the primaries to qualify to sign the petitions to get me on the ballot, thus hurting liberal candidates in the primaries; difficulties in getting the necessary signatures; the millions of dollars available for the conservative candidates as against my prospects for getting enough money for a serious TV campaign; my prospects of winning in November ; the question of what effects, whether helpful or harmful to the causes in which I believe, a campaign in Texas of little impact might have; the question of my political vulnerability after twelve years’ having ‘my say in hell’s despite in a journal controversial by commitment; the fact that I feel out of character as a politician and would not be prepared to run again and again until I won. Such factors weighed with me, but none alone was decisive. For instance, although I think a strong case can be made that I wouldn’t have won, I believe that I might have. Until Senator Fulbright and many others stepped into the national conscience authoritatively on Vietnam a n d China through TV, the reasons for my running weighed more heavily with me than those for not running. Now, while I still regard it as the most difficult decision I’ve had to make, the reasons for my not running are conclusive with me. I have searched out and now announce my decision this early for two reasons. First, I decided that being in doubt, I should get clear in my mind and avoid wasting good people’s time and work. Second, there is now still plenty of time for anyone else who wants to run for the Senate as an independent to do so. It is not known by the citizenry, but the requirement that independents must file for office by Feb. 7 is probably invalid. Attorneys have told me that it is invalid for the legislature to provide that independent voters can get a candidate on the ballot by petitioning in the summer after the primaries, but to prevent them from selecting their own candidate by requiring that the candidates shall have filed three months before the primaries. This in effect requires independent voters to act as a political party, which of course they can’t. The law must mean that independent voters have the right, after the primaries, to circulate petitions for a candidate of their own choice. A high state official told me that the Feb. 7 filing requirement for independents “wouldn’t stand up in federal court 15 or 20 minutes.” If someone else wants to run as an independentgo to it. I have been concerned, these last few weeks, only to make my decision in good faith. I have done this. Those who believed or alleged that my motive, filing, was to beat Mr. Carr were, as I’ve said, mistaken. I meant to beat them both. I hope, at least, that I have suggested to independent Texans a way to end one-party, big-money domination of Texas life if the Texas Democrats continue to offer the Texas voters only reaction and a tragic provincialism. I believe the registration of 600,000 free voters this year means the end, this May or at the latest by 1968, of one-party domination of Texas I believe the national Democrats can now again take over the Texas Democratic Party and this new optimism in the poll taxless situation has also contributed to the changing of my belief as of Feb. 7 that innovations were required if the Texas situation was soon to be changed. I have walked for weeks in the meadows, on the mountains, in the tunnels and caverns of my soul and these times, reaching my decision. I begrudge no one his own opinion of it, but let no one think I have taken it suddenly, or lost, or without trying to think of everything. I have consulted many of my friends, but the decision is mine alone. No one from the White House or the other candidates’ camps asked me not to run. When I went down and filed, I did it on my own; now I go back to my work, and for good, on my own. I am sorry to have caused a stir to no purpose. I thank everyone who offered to help or sent contributions. Of course I’ll return all the contributions. The travel and phone money I spent, I’ll pay myself. Now that I am no longer a factor in the Senate race, the Observer is of course again free to comment about it. With the Senate situation lapping over into many areas of politics, the constraint we felt not to use the Observer to the advantage of my candidacy was hemming us in con siderably. I’m glad this is no longer true. R.D. April 1, .1966 15 Observations
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