The party’s over… I say tonight will fade from memory.” Truer words were never. LT. GOV. BILL HOBBY ended the session with significantly fewer friends than he had in January. He’d lost allies not so much because he had disagreed with them, but rather because he rarely let anyone know where he stood on a given issue. His leadership was arrogant, unpredictable and inconsistent. Hobby chose to run the Senate in the traditional way by forming a coalition with a few veteran senators. The danger in such a technique is that a lieutenant governor may presume that if his conduct meets the approval of key senators it also is approved by a majority of Texas voters. Such was the error made by the late great Ben Barnes. In Hobby’s case, by June his only really staunch supporters were the handful of conservative senators Bill Moore, Charles Herring and A. M. Aikin, primarily whose advice he had valued so highly. They should have been pleased with him: Hobby let them run the Senate. Oh yes, the It. gov. still has one other true blue friend and adviser Ben Ramsey, who was lieutenant governor ‘back in the bad old fifties, the Watergate years of the Texas Legislature. Hobby was Ramsey’s parliamentarian and he ran the Senate this year much like Ramsey did 20 years ago. Ramsey, now a railroad commissioner, has been a frequent visitor to the lieutenant governor’s apartment the past few months. The old hands especially Moore and Herring served Hobby poorly. Moore’s surly opposition to any measure tainted with the label of reform must have been an embarrassment to Hobby. “We’re wasting the whole session trying to prove we’re honest,” Moore complained ‘at one point. “I know I’m honest,” he said. Back when Ramsey was holding the gavel, and Hobby was holding Robert’s Rules, the Observer revealed that Moore had taken fees from four insurance companies while he was serving on the Senate Insurance Committee. The companies were put into receivership for questionable dealings during the insurance scandals. Today Moore is best known for his foul temper and his sponsorship of special interest legislation. Hobby appointed Moore chairman of State Affairs, one of the BIG committees. Moore ran State Affairs, as he did under Ben Barnes, with a fast gavel and a cavalier attitude toward the rules of the Senate. In the waning hours of the 63rd, Moore attempted to pass a bill that had yet to be approved by his own committee. When Sen. Tom Creighton, D-Mineral Wells, pointed out that the bill had been tagged for a hearing in State Affairs and could not possibly be ready for floor action, Moore belligerently told him he was mistaken. Hobby was forced to intervene and inform his duly appointed chairman that the bill was still in committee. As chairman of the Senate Jurisprudence Committee, Herring stalled many of Daniel’s reform bills for months. His committee can be blamed for the fact that three of the bills were not passed until the last day of the session. Janey Briscoe Creighton, a gregarious but incorrigible conservative, was on the outer fringe of the chosen senators. In praise of Hobby, Creighton told the Observer, “He’s the most independent man in politics I’ve ever known.” But, Creighton added, “He’s wealthy and he’s ‘arrogant. His main problem is that he needs to know people better.” That’s a charitable view. One reformer type who spent a good many hours with the lieutenant governor says that “talking to Hobby is like talking to a brick wall. He has this blank stare.” The gentleman, who wishes to remain anonymous, believes that Hobby’s problem has to do with brain power. “He can’t analyze bills on his own and he can’t judge the political dynamics of a situation,” he said. According to the Observer’s anonymous but reliable source, a church lobbyist visited Hobby late in the session in hopes of convincing him to pass Daniel’s reform package. He left the meeting in despair. “It’s hdpeless,” the churchman reportedly said. “Hobby doesn’t know the difference between the ethics bill and the lobby bill. He’s got them all confused in his mind.” The Observer asked one of the big corporate lobbyists what he thought of Hobby. “It’s my real belief”, the lobbyist said, “that Hobby’s motivation and desires are good, but … he is not very, uh, creative, and his job takes some creative thought. I don’t think Hobby really likes his job.. There’s too much aggressiveness and competition in the Senate for him. I don’t think he’s strong.” “Do you think he’s stupid?” “Well,” he said, “I was trying to work around that. I don’t think he’s carry-out dumb, but he’s not smart. He’s well-intentioned, though.” This lobbyist and others complained of Hobby’s indecisiveness. “With Barnes,” one said wistfully, “you knew if he was going to fight you or if he was going to help you.” Hobby’s inconsistency was illustrated by his action on Senate filibusters. It was common knowledge that Sen. Bill Patman was going to filibuster Jack Ogg’s bill to legalize extremely high interest rates on real estate loans when it came time to vote on House amendments to the bill. The time came and Hobby immediately recognized Babe Schwartz, who asked a few allegedly negative questions about the bill. Then Moore moved the previous question, meaning that Schwartz would be the only senator heard on the issue. Patman, of course, was furious. Hobby later admitted to reporters that he had discussed the tactic with Ogg, Moore and Schwartz in advance. He said he had no personal position on the bill, but he didn’t want Patman taking up the Senate’s time. “Filibusters make the Senate look silly,” he said. A few days later, Hobby let Doc Blanchard filibuster a school teacher contract bill. Although the bill’s sponsor, Oscar Mauzy, had enough votes to pass the bill, it died because of Blanchard’s talkathon. The teachers vowed to, remember and to take revenge. House Speaker Price Daniel, Jr., gets a B on his report card along with plusses for being tidy and getting along well with others. Even granting that Daniel had nothing to do with the full head of steam built up for ree-form before the session started, he did pass seven out of nine of his top-priority bills in creditable states of repair. The other two limitations on conference committees and one-term speakership were at least written into the rules for next session’s members to think about. If anything, Daniel suffered from overplaying the Mr. Clean role this session. When it was discovered that his white horse had some mud on it, there was a tendency to snicker about how the pure had fallen. The first lick was his “Members’ Day” Party, a commendable effort to replace the traditional Speaker’s Day, on which the lobby showers gifts upon the head of the House. Daniel announced that he would throw a bash for the members instead, June 15, 1973 3
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