In 1968 Mrs. Randolph sold me the Texas Observer for a dollar “and other valuable considerations. ” I remember I went down to the bank and got a new dollar; I thought that if it was going to be a dollar, at least it ought to be a good looking dollar. At that time she wrote: “What happened was that I became the Texas Observer’s old fairy godmother. After the paper became practically selfsupporting I asked Dugger to acquire my interest in the Observer so that there would be no complications at the time of my death. For, after all, I am a little long in the tooth.” I think the Observer has carried on faithful to its founder’s idealism and tenacity. When progressives swept into the statehouse in 1982 for the first time in our lifetimes, the Observer was there, and that is the same thing as saying that Mrs. Randolph was there. Because some of the new people are progressives of varying degrees and because we helped elect them and so are more responsible for them, she’d keep a sharp eye on them, and hold them to the highest standards, The $10 Program We invite organizations and individuals to sell new one-year Observer subscriptions. For each subscription the selling organization or individual will receive $10 commission. Like most publications, the Observer spends almost that obtaining a new subscription by mail. We prefer, however, that the money go to hard-working groups or individuals instead of to the post office and paper companies. Organizations and individuals authorized to sell subscriptions under the program will be provided with forms and sample copies. The only requirement is that individuals who wish to try this must have their own subscription paid up at the regular $20 rate. Commissions on subscriptions to be billed will be paid on receipt of the bill payment. Neither renewals nor subscriptions for a period shorter than a year receive commissions. If you want to take part in this program, contact the Observer at 600 W. 7th St., Austin, Tx. 78701, or phone 512-477-0746. No PAC’s or campaigns, please. Good books in every field JENKINS PUBLISHING CO. The Pemberton Press John H. Jenkins, Publisher Box 2085 g34 Austin 78768 and when they’d backslide, she’d give them holy hell. Our relationship was principally personal, and back in 1968, I wrote about that: In loving her, I am not unusual; she is surely loved by more people in the community of the good in Texas than any other woman. The feeling about her is such, the idea that she is to Texas what Eleanor Roosevelt was to the United States suggests itself, unbidden, to many minds. Nor does the thought weaken on examination, for she is also hated, as Mrs. Roosevelt was. But with Mrs. Randolph, there is still another dimension: because, in day to day politics, she has so much moral and practical power, and she is so damned honest and blunt, she is feared by those she does not favor. Mrs. Roosevelt engaged in many good works, complementary to the New Deal, but she did not take a workwoman’s approach to precinct politics. Mrs. Randolph does, and this has made her formidable in Texas in a way that Mrs. Roosevelt was not, in the country. Although some of her friends call her Frankie, giving no offense, I have never felt that I wanted to do this. To me she has always been Mrs. Randolph. She is a grand lady, utterly without pretense. She speaks plainly from her strong and unflagging capacity for moral feeling. She is a better judge of politicians than I am; on two or three test cases, where she has been skeptical and I have not, she has turned out right. She appreciates and stands by integrity, no matter her dislikes. That is what she looks for in a public man, integrity in the service of humanity. She knows she has found it in Ralph Yarborough, in Bob Eckhardt, in some whose names are not heard because they lost. When she sees it in others, especially in younger politicians, she is willing to give of herself to help. She knows the difference between words and work. I have never known a time when anyone’s rhetoric took her mind off the reality of poor people, and racial prejudice, injustice, unfairness, selfishness. She is as ready to consider any new idea for the reform of society as anyone, older or younger than thirty, I have known. She likes good Scotch, she smokes cigarettes, she works crossword puzzles, and she reads seriously and widely, and for relief from all of it, too. She is married to a gentleman who is thoughtful and reflective, and they have great community and happiness in their young ones. Now by the way, she was not a feminist. I remember asking her what she thought about women running for office, and she thought that men should mainly, that women were better at detail work. She wasn’t ahead of her time on every issue. We usually talked at the worktable at her Wednesday Club, or at lunch or dinner in a restaurant, but most often at a table at the back window at the Randolphs’ home on Meadowlake, by their garden. I thought that perhaps the thing I should do today would be to try to reconstruct what I would say to her and what she would say to me if we were talking today. That may be a way to show you you who didn’t know her, who are younger what she was really like. That’s really where we knew each other, Mrs. Randolph and I, in long private talks. I would tell her what a wonderful United States senator Lloyd Doggett would make. That he’s the only legislator we’ve had in Austin in my lifetime who is comparable in humanism, idealism, and competence to Bob Eckhardt. And I think she would agree with this. I would tell her that Senator Doggett has on his office wall a quotation from Sam Houston: “Do right, risk consequences.” And she would agree that this is what it’s all about. I would tell her how proud she and I and the Observer and all of his friends can be of Jim Hightower. And she would be proud of him. She would tell me that Ralph Yarborough, Judge Woodrow Seals, Judge Wayne Justice, Bob Eckhardt, and Billie Can have kept the faith. That they have never let the people down. She would call certain other names in this roll of honor, and I would take that in. I would tell her that Ronald Reagan must be defeated, that he does not care about the people, that he is moving us into nuclear war, and she would agree with that. We would puzzle about the Democrats’ next nominee for president. We would know Cranston is good probably the best of the six or seven although not likely. We would not spend much time on Hart, Hollings, or Askew. We would agree that McGovern should announce if solely to have a forum for his issues. We would hope with misgivings that Kennedy would come in and be the nominee. And we would know that despite Mondale’s lapses, he is being unfairly maligned. That the general and widespread accusation that he is a candidate of special interests is an ingenious and unfair distortion of the fact that he is simply rebuilding the Democrats’ Roosevelt coalition and seeking to represent it. Calling the interests of the people special interests this is a very special trick that’s being pulled on Mondale. He well may become our only answer to Ronald Reagan. We’d better look down the road to that hour and 4 SEPTEMBER 30, 1983
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