_4400001*.. *:OOONDNT: Bob Sherrill ‘Uttf4044: Alich Daniel DIALOGUE <> Rebuilders Vindicated as Larr y L. Kint;k*footon; to Harris, 0 x ar naT tan Reid AtiStIll’ A. R. \(Babe red Schmidt, Tehachapi, Cal.. CONTRIBUTIlitiPP400$: Warren Burnett, Nina Butts. Jo Clifton, Craig Clifford, John Henry Faulk, Bd Garcia, 441…#0:1Ar.:5pFpcle Laurene6-Jolidon. Mary Lenz, Matt LyonGrOg.Miisei!, Ur . Paul Sweeney. Lawrence Walsh. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Alan Pogue; Russell Lee Scott Van Osdol. CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Jeff Danziger. Dan Hubig. Kevin Krenek, Ben Sargent, Gail Woods. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we ,find it and the right as we see it. We are dedic atoll to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation :,of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or nii,rrepresent the troth r.i serve the interests of he power or rater to the ignoble in the human spirit . Writers are responsible_ r their own work, but not for anything they have i not themselves written, and in publishing them we do nor necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal of free voices. Business Manager Frances Barton Assistant Alicia Daniel Advertising, Special Projects Cliff Olofson Editorial and Business Office 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 Tat Texax Obsener between issues in January and .the TeNas Observer Publishing Co., 600 AY:eist.7t..b.Street.,Aistin .pitid at Austin. Texas. 56. One year rate for full-time students. $13. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Mtcrotilrn editions available from University Microfilms Intl 300 N. 7.ech Road, Ann Arbor, MicMgsn 4810[i …,:.COpyright19 -133-::6y Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved Material may not be reproduced without permission, $1gAs’rER:. *tut form 3579 to: 690 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 7870. -: 2 OCTOBER 28, 1983 It is usually easier to shake a hungry dog loose from a bone than to shake Ronnie Dugger loose from an important point in an argument. I was surprised, consequently, when he gratuitously conceded an important point which the Observer has defended in the past. I refer to the strategy, advocated in the 1960s by the Democratic Rebuilding Committee, of liberal Democrats voting for Republicans such as John Tower for the Senate and George Bush for Congress when their conservative Democratic opponents were at least as conservative as they were. Dugger is not alone among liberals who, from the vantage point of 1983, believe that their strategy at the time was mistaken, even if well-intentioned and based on plausible assumptions. Yet the history of the past two decades in Texas has borne out the wisdom of the Rebuilding Committee. We now have in Texas genuine two-party competition in presidential nominating politics, in primaries for statewide office, and in general elections for president, statewide officeholders, and increasingly, for lesser officeholders as well. The results of the 1982 elections demonstrate what is possible, under favorable conditions, for liberals in a twoparty setting. They not only have a much better chance of choosing progressive Democratic nominees, but of electing them in November. Of course, both Republicans and liberals have worked for a competitive two-party system in Texas, operating from opposite premises: each group has believed that its forces will be able to mobilize a winning coalition once the electorate is presented with “a choice, not an echo.” It remains to be seen which of these premises is correct, over the long haul. Was 1978 or 1982 the typical election year? But in any case, the liberals and their moderate allies now control the Democratic party machinery, and they are in a better position to field progressive and moderate nominees than ever before. If they can overcome the low voter turnout that has traditionally plagued their “natural constituency,” the new Democratic party in Texas has an excellent chance to neutralize the impact of the recent Republican surge. This turn of events is partly the result of the Rebuilding Committee and partly the result of the McGovern-Fraser reforms, which liberal “rebuilders” had a hand in shaping and implementing. True, it would have been nice if John Tower had not proved to be so durable a senator. But every advance has its cost. Twenty-three years of Tower is well worth the changes that have occurred, especially when one remembers that if it had not been he in that office, it would have been a crony of the Shivers-Connally machine. Chandler Davidson, P.O. Box 1892, Houston, TX 77251.
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