vote for Bush and Smith. Few who worked for Yarborough in the spring showed any enthusiasm for the fall campaign and it seems unlikely that the liberal apparatus which worked hard, for example, to get out the vote for Humphrey-Muskie two years ago will be moved to man the trenches for Smith and Bentsen. Whether their inaction will be decisive is anybody’s guess. The AFL-CIO’s political wing met a day after the convention and voted a weak, rather mealy-mouthed endorsement of the Democratic Party while stating that the endorsement was not binding on union John Kenneth Galbraith, Who Needs the Democrats and what it takes to be needed, New York: Doubleday, 86 Austin In the too-plush offices of the Democratic National Committee in downtown Washington they speak of John Kenneth Galbraith in much the same tone that General Motors executives reserve for Ralph Nader. Wounded-bear retorts from such armored and insensitive creatures as DNC treasurer Robert Strauss make one suspect Galbraith is drawing blood. Who Needs the Democrats simply says what some have tried to say before: That if the Democratic Party exists solely to win elections and to perpetuate itself through lowest common denominator appeals, then it deserves a quick, painful death. That was the message of the Mississippi Freedom Democrats who went to the convention in 1964 only to be sold out by Hubert Humphrey; it was the message of the kids who quit school and sloshed through New Hampshire for Eugene McCarthy two years ago; and it is the message, essentially, of those dropouts and reformers who now are talking fourth party, voting Republican to cleanse the Democratic Party or a La Raza boycott. Which is not to say the party must die. Galbraith, who served four Democratic presidents and offended the party leadership under each, believes the existence of deep and critical concern for the party assures that it will endure: No matter how much you may dislike it and vice versa, you cannot escape it. And the reason is the raison de etre of the party. The Democratic Party, not the Republican Party, not third parties, is where change occurs and thus where the action is. This follows, in turn, from the deepest political instinct of the American people. It is this instinct that the natural access to political influence by those with a grievance is through the Democrats. It is the party that is open to participation and responsive to pressure … Even the alienated when they get alienated get alienated from the Democrats, not the Republicans. members. Presumably, few union funds or efforts will be channeled into the Smith and Bentsen programs. The liberal walkout in Dallas was a face-saving gesture, but only a weak one. For those delegates, the convention ended as it began: without leadership, without unity of purpose, and with only deadly pessimism as a common characteristic. To the degree that the liberal delegates in Dallas represent the shape of things back home in their counties, the once significant liberal movement of Texas faces a pretty bleak future within the Texas Democratic Party. GALBRAITH, WHO now teaches economics at Harvard, methodically examines the party’s symptoms and comes up with a prescription. He contends that the party’s appeal has depended heavily upon Keynesian economics \(which, in application, have depended upon fat arms the unions, gradual progress toward racial equality, and what he calls a “super power mystique” in foreign policy. Each has gone sour. Democratic economics still looks good on paper, but big unions, uncooperative corporate gains, and a leadership reluctant to make planning work through the use of wage and price controls have combined to deliver steadily larger doses of inflation and economic inequality to the people. To avert further disaster, Democratic administrations have relied on massive infusions of defense spending, with full support from the liberals. “It was how one proved he was a Keynesian and for the Welfare State without being a Communist,” says Galbraith. In foreign affairs, Democrats have failed at keeping the peace. Which is why, Galbraith suggests, Nixon’s fraudulent and dangerous approach to ending the war in Vietnam is supported by a majority of the people. “The people compare Nixon’s policy not with a perfect one but with what they had before. Between continued escalation under the Democrats with all its anxieties made deeper by President Johnson’s oratory, and de-escalation under the Republicans, there is a difference as between night and day.” Even the welfare state was a hoax. East Texas old folks who turned out loyally for Ralph Yarborough in the ‘fifties and ‘sixties on promises of government medical care now curse the day Medicare was passed. In concept it was groovy. In real life it is an inadequate program making minimal medical attention available at a high cost in inconvenience and red tape. The doctors who fought the scheme for years are getting fat on it. One need not belabor the poverty program, the Job Corps, Model Cities, and the others. THAT THESE domestic programs haven’t worked, that racial equality still does not exist, that we seem to always be at war these are Democratic sins primarily because the Democrats were in power. What has made the sins seem far worse than their commission has been the accompanying clamor of self-congratulation, the endless promises of more to come and, the soaring rhetoric which too often substitutes for simple truth. Thus Galbraith paints his portrait of LBJ. These, then, are the crux of his complaints, and any thoughtful Democrat has surely pondered most of them. His alternatives must not be taken as gospel, because they reflect the isolation from political reality which is characteristic of a Harvard economist who writes novels, dabbles in foreign affairs, and enjoys politics as a sideline. But they are alternatives, something most Democrats are lacking these days, especially in Texas. He advocates a “general presumption against incumbents” in Democratic primaries and, in November, support for Republicans where there is little or no difference between them and their Democratic opponents. He believes the seniority system in Congress must be destroyed and urges that it be made an election issue. No state has the stake that Texas has in the seniority system, and, therefore, no state has such a high potential for evil, thanks to chairmen Mahon, Teague, and Poage. \(Patman is in a power, House and Senate committees will be top-heavy with Southern conservatives from one-party states. In that climate, racial equality and social reforms are unlikely to be high among priorities. Galbraith believes the party must become more concerned with the problems of the cities and must take a broader view toward domestic reform. The party must cease to regard the word “socialism” as something illicit or indecent. And, finally, he says the party must lead the way to a reassertion of control over military and commercial institutions which are redirecting our national and international interests. Who Needs the Democrats, like most Galbraith writings, is infinitely quotable, a shade too elitist, and just a tad glib. But with Lloyd Bentsen at the helm in Texas, every word rings true. GALBRAITH DIDN’T stop with the hook. Readers will recall his letter to the Observer Aug. 7 in which he urged Texas liberals to vote for George Bush over Bentsen in the November election for the U.S. Senate. He also has called for the defeat of Super-hawk Senator Gale McGee of Wyoming, who is otherwise a liberal, October 2, 1970 5 Who needs them?