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The rule-ing class Austin Witness after witness at the Jan. 12 rules reform hearing began by humbly thanking the subcommittee for actually having a public hearing. Perhaps a few of them were digging at Roy Orr, chairman of the State Democratic Executive Committee, who had opposed the hearing. But most seemed really to regard it as wondrous kind of the subcommittee to allow the people to have a say in how to change the rules so that the people can have a say. “Grassroots participation” was the favored expression of the day, but the hearing itself was hardly a harbinger of the dawn of participatory democracy. While the subcommittee members presumably heard, they are under no obligation whatever to heed. And their overt hostility toward some witnesses made it clear that they’ve no bloody intention of heeding those particular voices of the people. The hearing opened with a subcommittee-sired draft of proposed rules \(destined to be known as “the Anderson rules,” much to the chagrin of William R. the take-off point. A few witnesses, including the governor, came simply to praise and endorse the Anderson rules. But most of them came to say, “Good work, but . . .” BUCK WOOD, director of elections in the office of the Secretary of State and a man whose expertise in party and electoral procedures is unquestioned, led off the witnesses and may have given the most objective appraisal of the Anderson rules heard all day. “This draft complies in all cases with state statutes,” Wood said. “It has been approved by the Fraser Commission [nee McGovern Commission] and so is obviously in compliance with the guidelines of the national party. But in my opinion, there is no fat in these rules at all. They comply, but they do not exceed at all. If there is any attempt to water them down at any level, I can almost assure you there will be a challenge delegation at the convention.” The subcommittee was assured of more than that and they didn’t care for it. Ed Wendler, representing the Students Legal Defense Fund, told the committee flatly that his group has “already set up the machinery to challenge anything weaker than the Anderson rules.” “I won’t sit here and be threatened,” committee member Jess Young announced dramatically. “I move his remarks be stricken from the record.” They were struck. But Wendler’s implication was echoed and even bettered by other witnesses. Not only are some liberals prepared to challenge in Miami if the Anderson rules are weakened, they are prepared to challenge if the Anderson rules are not strengthened. If Buck Wood is correct; the latter threat does not carry much weight. If the Anderson rules are followed, such a challenge delegation would not have a terribly strong case. But Carrin Patman, Democratic national committeewoman, who is an ex-officio member of the Anderson committee and who has worked actively in shaping the Anderson rules, notes the challenge potential in the word “if.” “I believe the Anderson rules afe in compliance as they are,” she said after the hearing. “If they are adopted as they are, there can only be one successful grounds for a challenge and that is if they are not followed.” Liberals felt differently. Billie Carr, the sine qua non of Harris County Democrats, did not attend the Jan. 12 hearing. Instead she sent a stiff message noting that it was difficult for working people to attend meetings scheduled for 10 a.m. on Wednesdays: she announced a rump hearing to be held the following Saturday. At the “working folks’ hearing,” Carr said, “The Anderson rules are a beginning. That’s all. I don’t think that because they’re offering us something better than what we’ve had in the past, we should take it. I don’t think we should agree to something just because it’s not so bad, not too bad. No, let’s go for what’s fair!” Carr feels that the moderates, or “Smith people,” among whom she clearly puts Patman, are trying to get liberals to go along with a half-a-loaf compromise that was worked out by the Smith people and the Barnes people with zero input from THE people. “Let’s not lie down and compromise,” she said. “The Anderson rules are a nice statement of purpose, but there’s not one thing in here to back up the good intentions: there’s no teeth, no bite, no enforcement of all these nice ideas.” It is instructive to take a look at the chronology that produced “these nice ideas.” THE McGOVERN Commission report came out in Sept., 1969. It contained recommendations for rules reforms by state parties designed to eradicate the kinds of injustice and chicanery that have marred the procedures of the Texas Democratic Party, among others, in the past. However, Elmer Baum, then SDEC chairman, did not appoint a subcommittee to bring the state party into compliance with the McGovern guidelines until almost a year after the McGovern report had come out. Baum finally named a state reform commission with Will Davis as chairman. Davis is himself a former SDEC chairman and had served as a member of the McGovern Commission. The purpose of the reform commission was unclear. Davis apparently decided that its function would be to study what rules changes were needed and make a report. Baum, who seemed to be a little confused about its purpose himself, may have assumed that the Davis group would actually write the rules. The first meeting of the Davis committee was held on June 20, 1970. Roy On was a member of that committee and came to the first meeting armed with a resolution that stated, in effect, “We don’t believe in the McGovern Commission and we’re not going to let them tell us how to set up our party and I move that this subcommittee be disbanded.” That resolution is one reason, among many, that liberals are not now inclined to believe Orr’s protestations that he will carry out the national guidelines and assure “full party participation.” The Davis committee met again on Dec. 7, 1970, and drew up a list of legislative changes needed in order to allow the party to comply with both state law and the national guidelines. Those recommendations were turned over to the SDEC at its meeting of Jan. 18, 1972. By that time, the SEC stock fraud scandal, implicating Elmer Baum, had broken and February 4, 1972 9