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dt Explore our Oasis of Earthly Delights! extensive array of natural health and bodycare products ,zokzo comprehensive collection of herbs great gift ideas and much more! Yarborough at a Texas Observer fundraiser. “The credentials committees that were run by Shivers and Connally and these people would take legal delegations of ours and throw them in the street.” At least partly because of Yarborough’s election in 1957, the liberal wing of the party began to gain a footholdeventually so-called “Yarborough-Democrats” came to represent the mainstream of the party as conservatives slowly crossed over and became Republicans. By 1982, the year former Yarborough staffers Ann Richards, Jim Hightower, and Garry Mauro were elected in a Democratic sweep of statewide offices, the Texas Democratic Party was disagreeing over details. “They weren’t throwing chairs at each other like they used to,” recalled Caldwell. Mauro said the 1982 sweep could not have occurred without Yarborough. Sure, Mauro and others elected that year were either supporters or former aides of the senator, but Yarborough’s election to the Senate had laid the foundation by helping align the party with labor: “By the time ’82 rolled around, if you didn’t have labor support, you couldn’t win,” Mauro said. “Now, did anyone call Yarborough and ask for advice?” he said. “Hell no, he’d keep you on the phone for two hours.” Yarborough’s influence was not always obvious, nor was he alone responsible for the success of the liberal Democrats. While many liberal campaigns in the last half of the 20th century included people who had cut their political teeth working for Yarborough, those workers had also been inspired by many other liberal leaders and organizers of the era. But Yarborough may have been the most inspirational. To his armies of aides and supporters, Yarborough represented not just a bright man of impeccable character, a grassroots populist with a great capacity for public service. He represented not just good ideas and the liberal agenda. Yarborough represented hopehope that Texans could and would elect liberals. In the 1980s, the voters did so again. But those victories, now more than two decades old, ring hollow to younger generations who, like many back in 1957, have grown accustomed to the leadership of conservatives. “After our people took over in ’82, why that ended up being the high-water mark for liberal officeholders in the state of Texas,” Caldwell said. “And George Bush’s crowd moved in just about 10 years [later], and what do we have in the state now?” Few believe, in the ever-evolving and increasingly costly maelstrom that is Texas politics, that Yarborough’s shoestring, courthouse-step campaign tactics can woo Texas voters today. But many who remember him well believe the fundamental trait that got Yarborough elected can be used againMcCleskey called it Yarborough’s “willingness to dare.” Mauro called it his “courage to buck conventional wisdom.” Dugger termed it tenacity and unshakeable conviction. “He lost, lost, lost, and won,” Dugger said. “Tenacity. That’s the only thing that will withstand the pressures from the big money now.” With Texas once again dominated by conservative leaders, many of Yarborough’s old supporters are looking back on the hope the senator once gave them as solace that liberals can rise again. And their gaze is directed at the generations who never knew Yarborough, hoping they have the tenacity to bring a change. “He gave us a sense that this can happen in Texas,” said former state Rep. Sissy Farenthold, who ran unsuccessfully for governor alongside Yarborough in his failed 1972 Senate campaign. “And maybe a lot more will [happen] before this story’s over?’ A recent graduate of the University of Texas, A.J. Bauer is an intern on the business desk of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Massachusetts. + Mon.-Fri. 10-6:30 200 West Mary 444-6251 Sot. 10-5 SEPTEMBER 21, 2007 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21