Page 11


Alf Wink III WIMP arimposoliklik A Mb.. 1 W AO A i r 1 a 1114 ..311 II I I Ali The Texas Observer MARCH 29, 1968 A Journal of Free Voices A Window to The South 25c Political Intelligence The Presidential Race go0 Eugene McCarthy’s success in New Hampshire and Robert Kennedy’s entry into the presidential race have emboldened some of Texas’ liberal leaders to take public stances against President Johnson, angered some Texas congressmen, elicited patronizing and hostile editorials in the Texas daily press, and discomfited the state’s Democratic party hierarchy. gor Kennedy and McCarthy backers in Texas planned to get together earlier this week in Houston to discuss what they can do to oppose Johnson most effectively in his home state. Two plans of action contemplated include a presidential preferential primary, pitting Johnson, McCarthy, and Kennedy, on May 4, the day of the Democratic and Republican primaries. A second course of action being considered is sending a rump delegation to the Chicago national convention, particularly if anti-J o h n s on forces make some significant inroads into the extent of party control now exercised by Johnson and Gov. John Connally. At Chicago the rump delegation could publicly embarrass Johnson by the charge, whether true or not, of the president’s having had to steal control of the Texas Democratic convention to maintain control of his own home state delegation. A couple of days before the Houston meeting the McCarthy people in Texas, led by Don Allford, Austin, decided not to participate in that gathering. Allford explained that the affair looked like a “Kennedy rally” to him. He said he and other McCarthy people are not willing to throw in with RFK’s forces at least, so long as McCarthy is himself waging a campaign independent of Kennedy. It appears, then, that two anti-LBJ groups will function in Texas, awaiting signals from their respective candidates. The tactics mentioned above will be considered by each group. Guerilla Activity v There is still little thought that either Kennedy or McCarthy can make much headway against Johnson in Texas. But the national anti-administration cam paigns can, it is reasoned, be emboldened and encouraged by guerilla political activity in Texas. 10 Anti-Johnson people in Texas believe McCarthy would run better in the state in November than would Kennedy, there being a more deep-felt antipathy to RFK than to McCarthy, given Kennedy’s central role in keeping the presidential nomination from Johnson in 1960 and the rather widespread understanding in Texas of RFK as a “ruthless” man. Yet Kennedy can be expected to have support among the state’s two major racial minorities, Negroes and MexicanAmericans, that McCarthy does not have. McCarthy’s candidacy is understood as against the Vietnam war; Kennedy is anti-war, too, voters realize, but he benefits in minority precincts from his close association with the JFK administration, a regime that was successful in projecting a concern for the status of minority groups and the impoverished. “Every home on the west side has the Virgin of Guadalupe on the wall and a picture of John Kennedy right next to it,” as one San Antonio liberal leader puts it. The visit of Sen. Ted Kennedy to Rio Grande City and Edinburg last summer during hearings on including farm workers in the National Labor Relations Act caused great excitement among MexicanAmericans in the Valley. Most anti-Johnson people in Texas credit McCarthy’s courage in challenging the president, are somewhat reserved about Kennedy because of his waiting so long to get in the race, but suspect that Kennedy has the better chance of wresting the nomination from Johnson and, if so, would run better in November than would McCarthy, though possibly not in Texas. Liberals Speak v The escalating challenge to Johnson nationally has moved some Texas liberal leaders to alter their public stance. Texas liberals, most of whom oppose Johnson, had held their tongues about their deep-felt antipathy to the president. It had been felt that -LBJ couldn’t be op posed successfully in Texas and that ef forts at opposition would adversely affect the prospects of liberals in statewide and local races. In February Texas Liberal Democrats declined to pass resolutions opposing US policy in Vietnam and supporting McCarthy against Johnson. With Kennedy’s entry into the campaign three top TLD leaders wired RFK of their support and announced this support publicly. They noted in their wire that Kennedy was the preferred candidate of 90% of those persons who responded last fall to a TLD poll of its membership. The three TLD leaders who contacted Kennedy are Ron Platt, chairman; Bill Thomas, a vicechairman; and Latane Lambert, secretary. Platt, a 27-year-old government pro fessor at Lamar Tech, has been named head of the Kennedy campaign in Texas. He worked in the West Virginia and Wisconsin primaries during John Kennedy’s 1960 campaign. A state headquarters will be opened in Austin soon, Platt says. DDT with Gene g # The Dissenting Democrats of Texas, whose leaders last year were working with the national draft-Kennedy movement, then switched to McCarthy, are sticking with McCarthy. Don Allford, DDT leader_, wired Kennedy when the New York senator was evidently preparing to enter the race; Allford urged Kennedy not to run, saying “Your entry would only confuse and dilute the anti-Vietnam support mobilized against President Johnson.” Opening the DDT state headquarters in Houston Allford said, “McCarthy does not need Kennedy’s help now, which he should have had back in November.” V McCarthy is expected to bring his campaign to Texas this spring, speaking in Houston and, possibly Dallas and Austin. 1/ Sen. Ted Kennedy told the Dallas Times-Herald his brother Robert will not campaign in Texas in deference to the president. goo DDT now claims more than 3,000 members and has chapters in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Waco, El Paso, San Marcos, Galveston, and Denton.