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,ArgwAslailx” Secretary Connally .. . a . Austin John Connally’s nomination as secretary of Richard Nixon’s treasury is an ironic turn in Texas politics, since Connally’s most significant achievement as governor was keeping Texas a one-party, Democratic state. His defection to the Republican Administration will have a profound effect on this state’s political power structure and more than a little impact on national politics. Tom Wicker has called the appointment “the most interesting in years.” Syndicated columnists have inundated the nation’s editorial pages with informed reports, reliable rumors, speculation and innuendo regarding the significance of the Connally nomination. Most of it is contradictory. It will take some time for the dust to settle so that one can clearly see the new political configuration. At the outset, however, there are a few observations that can be made without much hedging: political act. Richard Nixon will need Texas’ 26 electoral college votes to return him to office in 1972. The defeat of GOP senatorial candidate George Bush despite the vigorous support of the President and Vice-President indicated to Nixon that the Republicans alone could not swing Texas in 1972. So the President turned to the leader of the state’s conservative Democrats, the “Month of May Democrats,” as Texas liberals loyal to the national Democratic Party like to call them. The conservative wing of the party declined to support Adlai Stevenson in the fifties and many Texans who call themselves Democrats voted Republican in the presidential contests of the sixties. ‘\(Kennedy won in Texas by only 46,000 votes in 1960, Humphrey by a mere campaigns for the Republicans in 1972, his presence in the Republican Cabinet will encourage the Texas business establishment -1 to support the incumbents. Nixon hopes that the appointment of a Democrat to the Treasury will defuse the issues of unemployment and inflation, which the Democrats used so successfully in the 1970 election. This strategy has limitations, of course, since the leaders of the national Democratic Party are considerably to the left of the conservative Connally. And as Joseph R. Selvin has 1, written, “If things get worse, or do not improve enough between now and November, 1972, the voters will blame Nixon again not Connally, in his subordinate role as treasury secretary, and not the Democrats who will have been vigorously attacking the Nixon economic policies.” Connally is a man of considerable political and executive abilities. He is expected to become Nixon’s major liaison with the Congress, where his close ties to the conservative Southern Democrats may help Nixon get the “working majority” he wants. how Connally’s new job will affect Texas Democrats, but one thing seems certain: It hasn’t helped Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes’ bid for the Senate any. Barnes was one of many political cronies who were astounded by Connally’s nomination. The normally glib lieutenant governor refused for hours to speak with reporters while he pondered the situation. \(There is a rumor, which the Observer has been unable to verify, that Barnes, in a Legislative Budget Board meeting when he heard the news, growled, Barnes is a protege of Connally and Lyndon Johnson. He doubtlessly expected the active support of both men when he runs for higher office in 1972. With Connally in the Cabinet, it will be awkward for Barnes to run against Republican John Tower. The betting is rather one-sided in the Capitol Press Room right now that Barnes will choose to go for the governorship rather than the Senate. Democratic Party is somewhat weaker than it was before Connally decided to go to Washington. Dallas Morning News reporter Richard Morehead wrote that many conservative Democrats in privacy admit they “feel they have suddenly become political orphans.” It was Connally who spearheaded the successful Senate campaign of Lloyd Bentsen last year, Connally who led the strongest wing of the Texas Democratic Party. Now it will be up to Bentsen or Barnes to pick up the pieces of the state party machinery. BEYOND THESE rather safe assumptions, the ramifications of the Connally nomination are uncertain. Nixon’s choice is the subject of lively speculation in Washington and in Texas. One of the most puzzling questions is why Connally accepted the post. There have been reports that Connally was offered and turned down the positions of Secretary of Defense and Treasury in 1968. Despite the fact that Connally campaigned for Hubert Humphrey during the waning weeks of the 1968 presidentical campaign, he apparently gave some aid to the Republicans. William Chapman of the Washington Post recently came up with a fresh version of the story. He said it came from “a highly reliable Texas source who was aware of Connally’s meeting with the Nixon forces both Republican and Democrat in mid-October, 1968, at the Sheraton-Dallas Hotel.” Chapman quotes his source as saying, “We made it clear that we wanted to see Nixon elected and that we wanted to know where he stood. Connally told us he thought it would be best for the country if Nixon were elected President. We talked about people who would be helpful politically and financially to Nixon friends of Connally who were Democrats.” According to Chapman’s source, Connally was asked if his name could be used to solicit funds and endorsements for Nixon from conservative Democrats, and the governor said it would be okay but that he personally would have to pay “lip service” to the Humphrey campaign for fear of losing his standing in the Texas Democratic Party. Connally has admitted he met with Republicans, but said he did not give them a formal of his contributors. Despite the varying accounts of Connally’s role in the 1968 campaign, there is little doubt that the former Democratic governor has been on cordial terms with Nixon for some time. Their friendship was renewed last year when the President appointed Connally to the Ash commission on White House organization. Some observers believe that, this time, Nixon strongly urged Connally to join the Cabinet and demanded a quick decision. Connally, concluding that he had nothing to lose, said yes, according to the theory. The quickness of the decision would explain why the appointment came as a surprise to almost everybody, including Republicans close to Nixon like John Tower and Democrats close to Connally like Ben Barnes. There have been conflicting reports on whether Connally’s old mentor, Lyndon Johnson, was consulted by Connally. The most popular theory seems to be that he was as surprised as everybody else. In contrast to the Quick Decision/Nothing to Lose Theory is the Connally Must Have Cut a Powerful Deal Theory. “Why, then,” asked Time \(Dec., and a powerful Democrat, now decide to sit in Richard Nixon’s Cabinet unless there was more in it for him than met the eye? There was speculation that the President is positioning Connally as a possible replacement for Spiro Agnew in 1972.” And the Dallas Morning News asked, “Is it not beyond the realm of possibility, as one insider theorized last week, that January 8, 1971 3