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The Mercurial Life of zr Department, paralyzed the timid Eisenhower White House, and was feared by his colleagues in Congress, especially after he campaigned againstand helped to defeatMaryland Senator Millard Tydings, who’d had the temerity to cross McCarthy. In time, Senator McCarthy and his chief counsel, Roy Cohn, purged government libraries of “dangerous” books and even challenged the U.S. Army’s commitment to “fighting Communism.” Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson told intimates that McCarthy at the moment was “too powerful to challenge,” though he confided that the Wisconsin demagogue was a drunk barely able to tie his own shoes. Many money men in Texas who supported LBJlargely because he supported the oil depletion allowance, which made the first 27.5 percent of oil profits tax free \(a boondoggle if sided with conservatives in their intra-party fights with Texas liberals for the good political reason that he knew the conservatives would winalso were white-hot McCarthyites. Indeed, Texas was a hotbed of McCarthy supporters; when the Texas legislature invited “Tail Gunner Joe”as he liked to be calledto speak to it, State Representative Maury Maverick Jr., was booed and reviled when he offered an amendment seeking to include Mickey Mouse in the invitation resolution. Even when the U.S. Senate finally decided that McCarthy’s excesses had weakened him enough that he could be censuredand he was, in December of 1954LBJ was careful to conceal his masterminding of the censure effort behind the scenes, so as not to arouse the wrath of Texas money men who remained McCarthyites. Governor Allan Shivers, a nominal Democrat, mocked Ike’s opponent Adlai Stevenson’s accent \(“Are they likely to the Eisenhower camp in the 1952 election; his Lt. Governor, Ben Ramsey, the anti-labor, anti-liberal, anti-intellectual equal of Shivers, presided over the State Senate and ruled the Legislature with a whip and a glare; the first thing he asked newly elected solons was, “Are you on the team?” Unless they quickly responded in the affirmative, they received no further recognition, no favors, no breaks. “You could wind up being appointed to what we called ‘the Toilet Paper and Ice Water Committee,” recalls former State Legislator and Congressman J. T. Rutherford. Daily newspapers in Texas were slavishly adoring of the reigning powers: The El Paso Herald-Post was the only big-city daily to endorse Adlai Stevenson for president. The voices of liberal Democrats in Texas were few and faint in the Texas hinterlands. In an atmosphere in which most adults were so tame and docile, if not fearful of being branded as a Red, who could expect a bunch of kids running a campus newspaper in Austin to charge the barricades? Then, quite suddenly, it seemed, here came this baby-faced rebel from Deep East Jesusnot even a Texan, nowand before you could say “I Like Ike” he was making sport of the pieties and mores of the Ruling Texas Establishment. How dare this smart-assed kid piss on the well-shod and shined feet of the mighty? The Powers were as surprised as they were shockedlargely because, for most of his first three years as a Daily Texan staffer, Willie Morris had not made much noise. His job as a freshman columnist was to read the exchange papersi.e., other college newspapers from all across the USA and in his column, “Neighboring News,” summarize items that would reveal what was happening or being talked about on other campuses. Willie would write in later years that he had received an education from reading those exchange papers, especially comments about national and world issues. Strangely, however, he rarely shared them with his own readership; mostly he seemed to have used items that he could joke about and that helped him end with a good punch line. Frankly, those early columns if read today are not impressive. Nor was there much that distinguished Willie’s sophomore columns and stories, when as the newly named intramurals coordinator, he wrote about campus sports. As a junior, writing a weekly column called “The Round-Up,” Willie began to poke fun at politicians and local mores, making use of satire and parody, but little foretold the firestorms he would start as editor-in-chief. That top job was gained by winning an election involving the entire student body. Willie Morris campaigned hard, hand-shaking and personally soliciting votes. His campaign platform promised Fair, hard-hitting editorials; a free thinking, tolerant, virile liberal Texan; conscious desire to prevent an inert, indifferent University populace; sincere effort to make Texan respected, if not agreed with; elimination of cliques on staff; more staff spirit and unity; complete editorial independence; daily columns by editor, managing editor; interpretive columns by campus authorities; weekly summaries of local and non-local news; sensible campaign to produce more readable interesting Texan; Union expansion; cre MARCH 10, 2006 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11