to a YAF convention .. . would do the opposite. I think it was even part of the Republican platform, [It was: the 1968 Republican platfrom is against recognition of Red China and its admission to the United Nations.] He said we would not recognize Red China. And now look.” Connelly’s sentiments were echoed by others: a number of smaller disenchantments culminating in the proposed visit to Peking. In the face of the overwhelming anti-Nixon displays, the pro-Nixon folk Carr and some libertarians plus a few odd-lot pragmatists, kept caucusing nervously. Should they nominate the President at the YAF mock convention? Would it be worse for him to go down to ignominious defeat or not be nominated at all? In a typically YAFian solution decided that although the result of nominating Nixon would be a Bad Thing, if one believes in a man, one must publicly support him. One might feel that what happens at a YAF convention has little or no relation to Real World politics, but it is well to remember the scorn with which the first “Dump Johnson” efforts were dismissed in 1967. It is the opinion of David Broder, Washington Post political analyst that Nixon cannot be re-elected without conservative support: he must have a conservative-moderate coalition to win. The conservatives cannot elect Nixon by themselves, but, as they proved in 1964, they swing a lot of weight within the Republican Party. YAFers and their like-minded seniors are extremely active politically the kind who go out and ring doorbells or stay in and stuff envelopes. Nixon needs them. There are indications that he knows he needs them. IN THE late afternoon before the night of the mock convention, another reporter and I went loping up to visit our libertarian chums in the Nixon caucus. We walked in on a meeting on which we had the effect of water on sugar. “Don’t mind us,” we said cheerfully. “We’ll just sit here and listen. It’s all off the record.” The meeters literally fled at our approach. Among the meeters were Tom Huston and David Keene, both past chairmen of YAF. Keene is on Spiro Agnew’s staff and Huston only recently left the White House staff. The catch-22 for the conservatives in rejecting Nixon is that they have nowhere else to go. Huston and Keene were united in their opinion that the YAFers who rejected Nixon in Houston would all be out working for him after the ’72 conventions. They further believe that it really isn’t the function of YAF, as a group, to operate on realistic considerations; they believe YAF functions as the keeper of the conservative faith, more concerned with purity than 4 The Texas Observer pragmatism. Having said all these valiant thing, Huston and Keene marched off to watch Nixon’s nose get rubbed in it. Even before the mock convention started, word was out that the fix was on. The advance text of a speech to be made by Docksai on Sunday contained the words, “The action we took last evening by nominating Spiro Agnew for President and Jim Buckley for Vice President . . .” The evening got off to a rocking start with a speech by Robert Bauman, a state senator from Maryland. By that time, some members of the press had invented a game, giving speakers a point for every cliche and every redundancy. Bauman was high-point man for the convention with a total score of 65 in a 13 minute speech. I spare you the quotes. The nominations were a lot more fun. There were more than 20 nominees including Sam C. Gass \(we never figured Joseph McCarthy \(who truly believes Kopechne, who gave her life in the cause against liberalism; Al Capp \(for whom the press invented the campaign slogan, “Show Strom Thurmond, “You know he’s not too old for anything!” and H. R. Gross, “In your heart, you know he’s cheap!” The finest nomination of the evening was made by a fellow in a yellow hardhat wearing a “Darwin is a Fairy!” sweatshirt. In finest hardhatese, the delegate from Illinois nominated the state’s favorite son RICHARD J. DALEY: “The mayor will go through those reformers like crap through a goose. . . . He knows the biggest problem we face today commie pinkos! He’s seen his opportunities and he’s took ’em. . . . Where he stands on military surveillance: if you ain’t got nothin’ to fear you should be for it. … Daley’s a man who believes God give the right for every man to vote, living or dead.” EVERY TIME someone was nominated, no matter how absurd, a splendid floor demonstration took place. Even the libertarian-anarchist who nominated. Nobody got a hand from the Cajun contingent out of Louisiana, whose members impartially cheered for all comers: “Hot boudin, cold coosh coosh; come on Whoever, poosh, poosh, poosh.” According to members of the Nixon caucus, the fellow who nominated Nixon was a ringer from the national committee job, noting that his nominee was the only candidate endorsed by Reagan, James Buckley, Agnew, Goldwater and Tower. Nevertheless, Nixon ran behind all of them on the first ballot. Reagan led with 258; Buckley was next with 210 and Agnew third with 206. Nixon got 26 votes. Agnew was put over the top by Puerto Rico on the second ballot \(after New Mexico announced its votes with the sobriquet Whoop! Is there a move to make it unanimous? NO! NO! The ayes have it. Is there a move to make Buckley unanimous for veep? NO! NO! NO! The ayes have it. Whoop! Whoop! Wave that Confederate flag. Teague announced that YAF would use its 27 staff members and a sum not to exceed $750,000 to “put our money where our mouth is.” None of the delegates thought YAF had $750,000 \(dues are a Apparently, the national committee plans to raise the sum on a special solicitation. The Nixon caucus promptly held a post convention press conference and announced that they had tried to withdraw Nixon’s name from nomination but were not permitted to do so. Carr condemned the “juvenile, underhanded tactics of the national board that have no place in this country or anywhere.” “Is the purpose of this caucus to embarrass YAF?” demanded some fink in the background. Carr calmed at once. No, no, great organization and all that. We’re not about to rake down YAF in front of the press. The attitudes of YAFers toward the press were enchanting throughout. The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek and the radio and television networks staffed the thing. At one point, a delegate came up to the press table and started needling reporters. At least we’re here, responded one of the effete, Eastern elite, I notice none of your conservative papers or magazines have sent representatives. “Oh, they don’t need to come,” said the delegate. “They know what to write.” According to the disgruntled Nixon caucusers and some Texas delegates, the real inside skinny is that YAF’s true fave is not Agnew but Reagan. According to these sources, Docksai and other national board members went to Reagan and told him they wanted to nominate him but he begged them to stave it off as he “couldn’t surface yet” and it would be “embarrassing to him.” Agnew was supposedly settled on as a consensus, compromise candidate because it would be so embarrassing to Nixon to have his veep preferred by “real” conservatives. M.I. Mountain climbing On the highest peak in Kansas Vertigo-burdened climbers Race claustrophobic speelunkers. Ascending separate sides They probe Hollows and Caves and Hidden Caverns for Birchercommieleftistklanners And other known perverts and subversives, Much to their mutual rage Finding only each other. DONLEY E. WATT, JR. Cuernavaca
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