THE CONVENTIONS GOP Just Can’t Embrace Minimum Wage San Antonio Speeches. speculations, and newspaper headlines to one side, the Texas Republicans refused to adopt or even hint that they might favor a state minimum wage in their 1966 platform. The chairman of their platform committee here for the state GOP convention, ex-Rep. Dick Morgan of Dallas, said ahead of time that there would be a plank “on” the minimum wage, and by that mysterious chemistry that goes to work at conventions, this had become the main question about the platform. As Morgan said, they could recite “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and make a statement on the minimum wage law, and they would still have an acceptable platform. When it came to it, the Texas Republicans were opposed to a minimum wage law, and there was no way to change the duck into a swan. Shortly before the mimeographed copies of the platform were lugged onto the convention floor for distribution to the press a platform written in closed meetings and adopted by the convention without change –Morgan was standing in an aisle of this city’s municipal auditorium, and Dallas Republican chairman John Leedom and another delegate approached ‘him. The other delegate said to Morgan heatedly, “You aren’t going to say anything ‘about minimum wage, are you?” From his tone he might have been asking if they were going to endorse abortion. This is all of what the platform said ‘on a minimum wage: “Texas Farm Economy: We recognize that prosperity in Texas is dependent on a strong economy with adequate wages for workers and adequate profits for business. The return to farmers and ranchers, particularly in South Texas, ‘must be increased. Likewise, farm worker wages have been lower than we would like and should be increased wherever and as soon as possible.” A few of the delegates regarded this plank ‘as the muffing of an opportunity. The Sunday-before-the-convention platform hearing had attracted Roy Evans, secretary-treasurer of the Texas AFL-CIO, who there called Gov. John Connally, Atty. Gen. Waggoner Carr, and Speaker Ben Barnes “monopoly, blah-blah, and yarns,” “a phony trio,” and who asked the Republicans to endorse $1.25 an hour, an industrial safety act, elimination of the right-to-work law, and improvements in the workmen’s compensation law. Bob Sanchez of McAllen, a leader in the Political Assn. of Spanishthe hearing that “I am a liberal Democrat, openly supporting Sen. John Tower for reelection because it will ‘help establish a functioning two-party system in Texas.” As the rumors circulated lazily about the closed platform hearings, one of the dele 8 The Texas Observer gates, from Houston, said, “This is the convention at which we get off dead center or get moving.” But asked what they were arguing about in the closed platform meetings, Morgan said, “Wording.” Obviously the plank on wages had been sandpapered until smooth and painted until -the grain was covered, but Leedom later was quoted saying that there had ‘been no “thrust” in the party for the minimum wage and some outright opposition to it. On the other hand the Republicans, in their platform, sought to offer what Tower wryly calls “discerning Democrats” a few pegs to hang their grappling hooks on. The convention endorsed, ‘of course, a strong two-party system, but also adult education for the educationally deprived, teachers’ salaries “competitive with -those of other states,” single-member legislative districts \(which would -result in the election of more Republicans as well as more pendent investigation of the [auto insurance] rate-making -process” and consideration to competitive rate-making, higher nurses’ salaries \(how much higher was not ination against Negro and Latin-American’s [in] the employment procedure of state and local government, particularly in administrative -and staff positions,” and opposition to ‘higher college tuition and to the removal of the food, drug, or farm exemptions from the state’s sales tax. The GOP resoundingly re-endorsed the state’s right to work law ‘and advocated, on industrial safety, “a non-regulatory Industrial Safety Board” that would promote safety programs, offer assistance, and make recommendations, ‘but evidently would not have enforcement powers. The Republican’s opposed inflation and advocated prosecution of the Vietnam war to a successful conclusion and “all efforts to obtain an honorable peace,” more police investigators and citizen support of the police, no new state taxes until state ‘govern-mental waste is eliminated, property tax relief for senior citizens, a comprehensive water program and anti-pollution legislation, revocation ‘of drivers’ licenses for drivers under 21 convicted of serious traffic violations, and the elimination of the party loyalty pledge on primary ballots. Although the Tex-as League of Women Voters petitioned the Republicans, as they did also the Democrats, to endorse state constitutional -revision, the subject was not taken up ‘in the GOP platform. THIS WAS A TOWER convention, a show staged to help elect Sen. John Tower. The junior senator held a couple of press conferences and delivered the keynote speech. The platform tracked his views and wishes. As the Democrat’s had a governor’s convention, the Republicans had a senator’. There was only a little dissension, -and it was kept well damped down. The Harris County delegation had been chosen by a ‘rancorous, protracted county convention at which the moderate conservatives prevailed over the right-wingers “-the whitehats” beat “the blackhats,” as the moderates style the conflict. The -struggle for control of the Harris County Republicans has become severe, with the bl’ackhats accusing George Bush, candidate for Congress in the Western district, ‘of too ‘much progressivism, and the whitehats accusing the blackhats of favoring Democrat Frank Briscoe against Bush and -of caring only about taking over party control in Houston as a base for nominating Ronald Reagan of California for president in 1968. By a 2925 vote, the State Republican Executive Committee sided with the whitehats on a dispute over “Rule 18,” which permitted the whitehats to get ‘their people ‘in as replacements for -absent delegates. As the convention got under way the blackhats let “Rule 18” go by without a challenge from the floor. Then, at a caucus, the Houston delegates had a love feast for the nonce, taking a loyalty pledge to support only Republican candidates and to say nothing critical about any Republican until the fall elections are over. The ‘temporary chairman of the conventin, Rudy F. Juedeman of Odessa, made ‘a few remarks as he took the gavel. “Never in ‘my life have I seen the American dollar so little in the marketplace and yet commanding such a high interest rate . . . Perhaps not since the Civil War has our country suffered -so much . . . rioting, disorder, and burning,” he said. However, ‘in keeping with Tower’s policy wishes, none of the convention speakers mentioned President Johnson in a negative way; criticism was directed agai’st the Administration, instead. Kellis Dibrell, the GOP candidate for -lieutenant governor, said he -showed his -speech -to Tower in advance and Tower ‘asked him to remove a derisive reference to “Johnson -grass,” which Dibrell did. Bush, looking fit and ‘happy, introduced Tower to the convention. First, though, Bush alluded ‘to his own problem’s in Harris County. He had been sick in the hospital, he said, and the county Republican executive committee met and -sent -him -a wire that they hoped he got well soon. “I was happy to learn that this resolution -passed 94 to 89. At.least it didn’t die for lack of a second,” Bush said. He was worried, Bush said, about the big spenders who graduate from A.S.U., “Arthur Schlesinger University.” The idea of “consensus” is -tarnished, the Admnistration’s popularity is at an all-time low, and people are concerned about crime, riots, “in-ability to do something successfully about ending the war in Vietnam,” and division in the Democratic Party.
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