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THURSDAY DISCUSSION GROUP meets at noon weekly at the YMCA, 605 North Ervay in Dallas. No dues. Everyone welcome. governing authority of the party. The Brunson rules delete that provision and offer chairman-oriented rules instead. For example, subcommittees, appointed, naturally, by the chairman, have more power than the SDEC as a whole under the Brunson rules. Both drafts of the rules contain the following statement: “No action of a subcommittee of any standing committee shall replace or supercede the actions or authority of the committee as a whole and any actions taken by subcommittees shall be subject to review and revision by the superior authority of the full committee at its subsequent meetings.” However, the Brunson draft adds: “Provided, however, any subcommittee report not accepted by the full committee must be returned to the subcommittee for further action and the full committee may take no further action without the prior approval of the subcommittee.” The chairman is also empowered to create, disband, add to or subtract from subcommittees at will. County chairmen are relieved of certain of their powers under the Brunson rules. Chairman-appointed subcommittees are again given precedence over SDEC members in the matter of nominating people to fill party office vacancies. The Brunson rules attempted to excise even the rather feeble party loyalty requirement in the Anderson rules. The Anderson rules state that anyone who accepts party office at any level, including delegates and alternates, must agree to support all the party nominees in November or face removal. The Anderson draft has no enforcement mechanism for the party loyalty clause. The rules reform subcommittee, in one of the view votes on the 29th in which it overrode Brunson and Orr, decided to reinstate the loyalty requirement. But the area in which rules reform is most powerfully gutted by the Brunson draft is that of minority representation. The Anderson draft is not terribly strong in this area: it offers a splendid statement of intent and follows it with only indirect enforcement suggestions. But every one of the enforcement provisions in the Anderson rules to insure minority representation has been removed in the Brunson rules: no young people on the state committee, no one-third of the opposite sex requirement for the delegations, no provision for equal representation of the sexes on state convention committees, no caucusing by precinct at the state convention. Even the Anderson rules’ toothless statement that “the convention shall make every effort to encourage minority participation \(blacks, direct relation to their proportion in the population” was deleted from the Brunson rules. Carrin Patman, who worked on the Anderson rules, said, “There’s no point in arguing the Brunson rules aren’t , in compliance the Fraser Commission says they are. But the Brunson rules nowhere provide any way to implement the requirements for minority representation. They have simply ripped out every implementation provision we had in.” THE POLITICAL ramifications of the Brunson rules range from the obscene to the hilarious. If, big if, Preston Smith, Ben Barnes and Lloyd Bentsen line up behind the Anderson rules and leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that their support is genuine rather than for form’s sake, it is unlikely that the SDEC will pass the Brunson rules. However, the timing of the SDEC meeting at which the rules will be voted on is, of course, up to Orr. And Orr & Co. are apparently busy. Earl Luna, the right-wing Dallas County chairman, is reportedly trying to line up the county chairmen to endorse the Brunson rules at their Feb. 11 and 12 meeting, a factor that will weigh with some SDEC members. One certainty is that if the Brunson rules are passed, there will be a Texas challenge delegation. Liberals, young people’s groups and women’s groups in several cities are already gearing up for that. In fact, such a challenge may well be headed by some of the “respectable,” i.e., non-liberal, big names in state politics. One of the many ironies in the situation is that the conservatives are now attempting to win support for the Brunson rules by calling the Anderson rules “the liberal rules.” In truth, the state’s more Machiavellian liberals are rooting madly for the Brunson rules, seeing in them a cinch for a challenge delegation to get seated in Miami. The latest liberal paranoid \(if that is not are actually a plot to get liberals to support the Anderson rules. The thinking is that no one would propose anything as bad as the Brunson rules in all seriousness: therefore, conservatives must have set up the Brunson rules to scare liberals into going for the half-a-loaf Anderson rules. “Then when we complain about the unfair provisions in the Anderson rules, they’ll turn on us and say, `Aha, but you supported them,’ ” a Houston lawyer prophesied gloomily. Liberals, young people and women are talking more and more seriously about setting up a challenge even if the Anderson rules are passed. Particularly since the Fraser Commission destroyed its credibility with liberals by okaying the Brunson rules, liberals are saying more openly that the Commission guidelines leave a good deal to be desired. “They only recommend proportional representation, they don’t require it,” said one Democratic activist. “I think we can set up a challenge that can convince the convention in Miami that we need to go beyond what’s required in the guidelines and get to what’s fair.” M.I.
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