managing it all as in the days of yore. Well, almost. Eddie Bernice Johnson says no one needs to speak for her, she’ll speak for herself, thank you, and she does. “I’m not for Roy Orr or Earl Luna or any of his clan.” The Rev.-Rep. Zan Holmes worries that she has been too sharp. If only she’d been a little more conciliating. . . . Hall Timanus wishes to speak in support of Roy Orr. Billie Carr wishes to speak in support of Johnson. Then, thunderbolt! Up steps a Wallace lady for Johnson! A gutsy soul, name of Ms. Prescott. She who helped Farenthold locate the roll this morning and stave off bloodshed in District 20. Wallace folk, no lovers of the Establishment, begin flaking all over the room. Good Hubert Humphrey liberals who have fought Earl Luna for years go for Johnson. In-delegation alliances germinate and later bear strange fruit. Interminable roll call vote. Lubbock, with 79 votes, casts 79 votes for Eddie Bernice Johnson. What is happening in Preston Smith’s home town? Everyone knows it’s over when . . . Travis County, 116 votes. Travis County casts four for Orr and . . . For one brief shining moment, every one loves Travis. That’ll teach Roy Orr to put us in the back of the bus. O euphoria, victory parade, gracious speech by Johnson, satisfaction at having bested the bastards. Then the dingy realists start pointing out that we haven’t won a thing. Vice-chairwoman, a piddly post. For this one convention, phooey. It was probably part of the overall strategy, the old labor leader trick, always let them win one from the chair so they’ll think they’re running things. But a proud Briscoe man says, “Who else but my man could offer Roy Orr a face-saving post that would let him cut his own throat?” On is publicly gracious in defeat. District caucuses to elect members of the various committees and sprronnnggg delegates to the national convention. Screams, shouts, fights, speeches, blood, curses, ACTION! Good times in District 16, Dallas. The Wallaces and the uncommitteds deal with each other to shut out the McGoverns and the Humphreys. It turns out that many of the folk here who signed up uncommitted are actually Wallaces. Bloodshed is prevented by a happy geographical distribution of allegiance groups: the uncommitteds are between the McGoverns and the Wallaces. A McGovern stands to shout at his enemies at the other end of the delegation, “All right, buddy, we’re going to Miami and you’re not going to get a thing.” A Wallace shouts back, “Get your butt off that chair or else! You just hold it down, buddy.” Results of the senatorial district caucuses give the uncommitteds 30 delegates; the Wallaces, 34; the McGoverns, 20 and the Humphreys five. Quick work with pencil and pocket slide rule reveals that the McGoverns were lunched, convention-wide; as were blacks, browns, women and young folk. All this must be rectified by the committee to select at-large delegates. The committees go off to meet. The interminable wait begins. Billy Goldberg wants to nominate Barney Rapoport for national committeeman. Hank Brown tries to talk him out of it. Discussion near fisticuffs. Rapoport, consulted by phone, asks that his name be withdrawn in furtherance of party unity. The Patman affair. Carrin Patman, two years national committeewoman from Texas in what is ordinarily a four-year term, inexhaustable fighter for the reform rules that made this madhouse possible, has been offed by Briscoe. He nominates Ms. Roland Blumberg, who has pots of money, for Patman’s position. Can we make a floor fight? Yes, Patman has the McGovern and Humphrey support cinched and probably some Wallace support too. Should we make a floor fight? Everyone says yes including Patman up until 6 p.m. Then some of Briscoe’s minions come to Patman. They tell her she is personally obnoxious to Briscoe. That they think she can win a floor fight but Briscoe will pin it on his personal prestige. It will be that kind of a fight and he will not work with her if she wins. He will take it as a personal affront if she does not withdraw. His door will be closed. Patman goes backstage to consult higher Briscoe minions. They repeat the same story. She goes in to see Briscoe, who is watching the convention on closed circuitTV furnished by a Dallas crew to whom he paid $50 an hour to come videotape this democratic gathering so he could watch it on a tube in the basement instead of having to appear on the floor like a mortal. Briscoe confirms what Patman has been told. They think she can win but he will make it a personal fight. Patman is like the drowning man going down for the third time, except it is not her past flashing through her mind, it is her political future. She’ll win. He’ll be bitter. She won’t be effective because he won’t cooperate, he won’t talk to her. Worse, he’ll be bitter against her supporters. That will cut him off from the very people in the party to whom he most needs to listen. She thinks Briscoe might make a good governor, but not if he listens to no one but Earl Luna. She’ll be shutting off his communication with all those good people. She can’t do it. She’s got to give him a chance to prove he can be fair, a chance to become good. She withdraws. Later her supporters tell her that she chickened out. That the very fact Briscoe would pull such a low trick, this moral blackmail, this Roy Orr-originated piece of garbage proves that Briscoe is no good. She should have fought. Look at who he nominated in her stead: Patman’s friends Eddie Bernice Johnson Ms. Prescott seconds Johnson nomination. July 7, 1972 15
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.