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Observations ANNOUNCING THE PUBLICATION OF . . . The Texas Country Editor H. M. BAGGARLY TAKES A GRASS ROOTS LOOK AT NATIONAL POLITICS Edited by EUGENE W. JONES Foreword by HARRY GOLDEN With the freshness, flavor and style that belongs exclusively to him, H. M. Baggarly, the editor of the popular Texas country weekly, “The Tulia Herald,” speaks his mind on Presidential politics, from the campaign of 1952 to that of 1964, and all of the political issues that Americans have been concerned with during those years, including farm policy, Medicare, Social Security, inflation, civil rights, taxes and war. “Down in Tulia, Texas, not far from Amarillo, is an editor whose voice is not only reassuring but also heard more and more. . . . Now this voice has found a book which should have wide circulation, because it is more than an intelligent, brave man speaking, it is a point of view. Reading H. M. Baggarly’s editorials is like viewing a political history of our times. . . . To paraphrase H. L Mencken, if the South only had forty editors like H. M. Baggarly, it could rid itself of most of its problems in five years. If the country had forty such editors, it, too, could be on its way to its ultimate destiny. Well, we don’t have forty editors like Baggarly. It is still good to have one, here and there.” From the foreword by HARRY GOLDEN 352 Pages Clothbound Price: $6.50 Order your copy of the first edition today from your bookstore WORLD PUBLISHING CO. CLEVELAND NEW YORK LONDON Would there ever be such a time, such a place, and could there ever be beauty and ease and grace? San Antonio Bill Brammer’s The Gay Place came out in 1961, but although it concerned where I’d been working and what I’d been working on, I’ve just read it. From the gossip at parties I knew that the Guess Who game would take a couple of years to play out, and by not having read the book I was spared having to play. I knew my friend Bill had a character in there named Willie England that the Guessers of Who said was either Willie Morris or me or each and both of us. At a level an inch and an eighth below the conscious I knew that I had slightly less objectivity about myself than a jackass \(although once, when I was out in Midland to make a speech to the Unitarians there and a breathless matron told me I must be the one who was enamored of the college girl, I retime when I worked with Bill on the Observer, that he’s a very good writer, and here he was with his novel out before I had even got near mine. I did not want to put myself in a position where, already provoked by envy, I’d have to react against imitating him. Although I realize this is tiresomely personal so far, let me finish, with one more sentence, my confessional. From reading an early version of some of the book I knew I would resent Bill’s politics in the novelboth his contempt for the Texas liberals, so many of whom I knew to be people I would go to the wall with, and his adulation, a kind of disillusioned hero worship, of his Lyndon Johnson figure, Governor Fenstemaker, with whom I would not. Although perhaps none of the reviewers, as well as none of the people I’ve heard talk about the book, saw it this way, The GARNER & SMITH BOOKSTORE 2116 Guadalupe, Austin, Texas Mail order requests promptly filled MEETINGS THE THURSDAY CLUB of Dallas meets each the Downtown YMCA, 605 No. Ervay St., Dallas. Good discussion. You’re welcome. Informal, no dues. The TRAVIS COUNTY LIBERAL DEMOCRATS meet at Spanish Village at 8 p.m. on the first Thursday. You’re invited. ITEMS for this feature cost, for the first entry, 7c a word, and for each subsequent entry, 5c a word. We must receive them one week before the date of the issue in which they are to be published. Gay Place, set in legislative Austin, is a book about the corruption of the Texas liberals. Again and again Brammer returns to this melancholy melody, the liberals are soft, too pleasure-seeking, well off, or easy to buy; they are not hardeyed, and so they deserve the politicians’ contempt. The Gay Place is also contrapuntally a book about the persuasive and the convincing sides of a master politician. B rammer, who worked close to Johnson for a while, has woven into his Governor Fenstemaker literary variations on Johnson’s gamy folksiness, his genius for “getting something done” \(sometimes just their benevolent forms. But Governor Fenstemaker has almost none of Johnson’s demand to be loved, self-serving cynicism, and \( to adapt the title of Sengance of power.” On Brammer’s peripheral subject, the corruption and ineffectuality of liberals, his vision was prophetic, if not 20-20; his main vision, about the politician Fenstemaker half characterized, was astigmatic. In 1961, we could still, in optimistic moments, think of such matters as these as idle, as something to forget about on a picnic and at night. No more. Where are those liberals now, picked off by the power structure, worn into acquiescence, seduced by affluence . . . scattered to the plains and the sagebrush country, dragging it out in offices, selling insurance and oil leases . . . teaching school, still raging like sputtering Roman candles at parties, holding on somewhere. A few survive in place. There are new ones, too; new ones Brammer’s cry for innocence and mistake about power may help if they can read him right. Seven-card Stud The governor’s latest hullabaloo for the revision of the state constitution is for the birds. We respect the Texas League of Women Voters and realize that for a long time they and a lot of well-meaning people have been wanting to have a constitutional convention to rewrite the Texas Constitution. It is the very importance of this project that makes this a bad time to do it. A constitutional convention should be called when the body politic is healthy, in balance, and highly competitive. The elections to hold such a convention now would be dominated by the big-money tories of the Connally Democratic Party. We should not have a constitutional con November 11, 1966 11 “THE PIPE HOUSE OF AUSTIN” Will D. Miller c Son Magazines Daily Newspapers High Grade Cigars and Tobaccos Pipes and Accessories 122 West 6th St. Austin, Texas