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Ralph W. Yarborough: The People's Senator

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  • Ram Lau
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Yarborough Ralph Yarborough From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Ralph Webster Yarborough (June 8, 1903 – January 27,
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 30, 2005
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Yarborough
      Ralph Yarborough
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

      Ralph Webster Yarborough (June 8, 1903 – January 27, 1996) was a
      Texas politician who served in the United States Senate (1957-1971)
      and was a leader of the progressive or liberal wing of the Democratic
      Party in Texas in his many races for statewide office. As a U.S.
      Senator, he was a staunch supporter and author of "Great Society"
      legislation that encompassed Medicare and Medicaid, the War on
      Poverty, federal support for higher education and veterans. He co-
      wrote the Endangered Species Act and was the only southern senator to
      vote for all civil rights bills from 1957 to 1970 (including the
      Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act). Yarborough was
      known as "Smilin' Ralph" Yarborough and used the slogan "Let's put
      the jam on the lower shelf so the little people can reach it" in his
      campaigns.

      Yarborough was born in Chandler, Texas as the seventh of nine
      children. He was appointed to West Point in 1919 but dropped out and
      became a teacher. Yarborough took classes at Sam Houston State
      Teachers College and worked his way into the University of Texas. He
      graduated from the University of Texas Law School in 1927 and
      practiced law in El Paso, Texas until he was hired as an assistant
      Texas attorney general in 1931 by then Texas attorney general James
      V. Allred. Yarborough was an expert in Texas land law and specialized
      in prosecuting major oil companies violating production limits and
      not paying oil royalties to the Permanent School Fund for drilling on
      public lands. Yarborough became famous for a million dollar judgment
      against the Mid-Kansas Oil and Gas Company for oil royalties, the
      second largest judgment ever in Texas at the time. Allred appointed
      Yarborough 53rd District judge in Travis County Austin after being
      elected governor, and Yarborough was elected to that office that same
      year in 1936. Yarborough's first run for state office was coming in
      third in the Democratic primary for state attorney general in 1938
      against the sitting Lt. Governor. He served in World War II after
      1943, ending service as a Lt. Colonel.

      Historically, Texas has been a one party state of the Democratic
      Party. Democrats would win every statewide office, a majority of the
      congressional delegation, and large majorities in the state
      legislature. Thus, general elections were formalities, and the real
      battles took place in the Democratic party primaries. The Democratic
      primaries would be heated battles between the conservative wing (pre-
      presidency LBJ, Gov. Shivers, John Connally) and the liberal wing
      (Yarborough) that identified more with the national party.


      Ralph Yarborough was urged to run again for state attorney general in
      1952, and he planned to do so until a personal affront by Governor
      Allan Shivers telling him not to run. Out of spite, Ralph Yarborough
      then ran in the primaries for governor in 1952 and 1954 against the
      conservative Shivers, drawing support from labor unions and liberals.
      Yarborough denounced the corrupt "Shivercrats" for veterans' fraud in
      the General Land Office and for endorsing the Republican
      Eisenhower/Nixon ticket for President instead of Democrat Adlai
      Stevenson in 1952. Shivers portrayed Yarborough as an integrationist
      supported by communist labor unions. The 1954 election was
      particularly nasty in its race-baiting by Shivers as it was the year
      Brown vs. Board of Education was decided, and Shivers made the most
      of the court decision to play on voters' racism. In one particularly
      odious episode, a black man was hired to drive around East Texas in a
      Cadillac full of Yarborough stickers and to be obnoxious and insult
      gas station attendants as slow. The man would say he was busy and had
      to hurry "to work for Mr. Yarborough." Yarborough made it to the
      primary runoff and came surprisingly close to beating Shivers despite
      losing almost all newspaper endorsements, being out-fundraised, and
      nasty attacks.

      In 1956, Yarborough made it to the primary runoff for governor
      against U.S. Sen. Price Daniel. After being endorsed by former
      opponent and governor W. Lee O'Daniel and making aggressive attacks
      on the Shivers-backed candidate Yarborough looked to win the runoff
      but lost by about 9,000 votes. It is believed (by Yarborough, his
      supporters, and biographer) that the election was stolen due to
      irregular voting in East Texas and other places and that Yarborough
      really won the runoff by 30,000 votes.

      Nevertheless, Yarborough's runs for governor had raised his stature
      and popularity in the state as he had been campaigning for six years
      straight for office. When Daniel resigned from the Senate in 1957 to
      become governor, Yarborough ran in the special election to fill the
      empty seat needing only a plurality of votes (no runoff needed) to
      win. Ironically, his many runs for governor made him best positioned
      to become a U.S. Senator. Yarborough won the special election with
      38% of the vote to join fellow Texan Lyndon Johnson in the Senate. In
      office, Ralph Yarborough was a very different kind of Southern
      senator. He refused to sign the Southern Manifesto opposing
      integration and supported national Democratic goals of more funding
      for healthcare, education, and environment. Himself a veteran, he
      worked to expand the GI Bill of Rights to cold war veterans.

      In 1958, Ralph Yarborough easily defeated conservative William A.
      Blakley in the Democratic primary and cruised onto victory in the
      general election against Republican Roy Whittenburg. As a senator,
      Yarborough got Congress to pass and John F. Kennedy to sign, a bill
      making Padre Island a national seashore.

      Ralph Yarborough rode in the Dallas, Texas motorcade where John F.
      Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Yarborough was in the same
      convertible as Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, "Ladybird" Johnson,
      and secret service agent Rufus Youngblood, only two cars away from
      the presidential limousine.

      In 1964, Yarborough again won the primary without a runoff and went
      on to general election victory with 56.2% in LBJ's 1964 Democratic
      landslide, this time defeating future president George H.W. Bush who
      attacked Yarborough as a left-wing demagogue and for his vote for the
      Civil Rights Act. Yarborough denounced Bush as an extremist to the
      right of that year's GOP nominee for president Barry Goldwater and as
      a rich easterner and a carpetbagger trying to buy a Senate seat. It
      has been found that John Connally was covertly aiding Bush instead of
      party nominee Yarborough against President Johnson's wishes by
      teaching voters how to vote split ticket.

      Although Yarborough supported Johnson's domestic agenda, he was
      critical of his foreign policy and the Vietnam War after Johnson
      announced his retirement. Yarborough supported Robert F. Kennedy
      until his assassination, then Eugene McCarthy until his loss in
      Chicago, and finally Hubert Humphrey for President in the pivotal
      year of 1968. In 1969, Sen. Yarborough became chairman of the Senate
      Committee on Labor and Public Welfare.

      In 1970, South Texan businessman and former congressman Lloyd M.
      Bentsen Jr.. won an upset victory against Yarborough in the
      Democratic primary when Yarborough was focusing on the general
      election. Bentsen played on voters' fears of societal breakdown and
      urban riots and made an issue of Yarborough's opposition to the
      Vietnam War. Yarborough was an antique out of place in the modern era
      he claimed. Said Bentsen, "It would be nice if Ralph Yarborough would
      vote for his state every once in a while." Bentsen went on to win the
      general election against George H.W. Bush.

      In 1972, Ralph Yarborough made a comeback effort to win the
      Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator to challenge Republican Sen.
      John Tower. Yarborough won the first round of the primary, coming
      short 526 votes of a full victory. Again, Yarborough suspected vote
      fraud from the conservative wing. He lost in the primary runoff to
      Barefoot Sanders in an anti-incumbent sweep after the Sharpstown Bank-
      stock Scandal despite neither being an incumbent nor involved at all
      with the scandal. It was Ralph Yarborough's last run for office.

      He died in 1996 in Austin, Texas and was buried in the Texas State
      Cemetery (the Arlington of Texas). Ralph Yarborough left a legacy in
      the modernization of the state of Texas and achieved political power
      at a peak of Texas's national power during the Johnson years. In a
      state now famous for closeness between business interests and
      politicians (LBJ, George W. Bush), Yarborough was combative with the
      dominant industries of oil and gas, always pushing for petroleum's
      fair share of the public burden.

      Yarborough also was one of the last of the New Deal Democrats and
      liberals in a conservative southern state. The window of opportunity
      for a liberal in Texas to reach such a high office was narrow,
      between the Great Depression and the Great Society. Yarborough
      represented this brief political moment, both preceded and followed
      by conservatives (Phil Gramm) and reactionaries ("Pappy" O'Daniel).
      Ralph Yarborough is remembered as the acknowledged "patron saint of
      Texas liberals." Yarborough easily makes the list of greatest
      conservationists from Texas with his success at making Padre Island,
      the Guadalupe Mountains, and the Big Thicket into protected parkland
      (the last one after he left the Senate). Supporters and former aides
      that rose to prominence include Jim Hightower, Ann Richards, and Gary
      Mauro.

      The University of Texas at Austin Press published a biography titled,
      Ralph W. Yarborough: The People's Senator, by Patrick L. Cox. It
      features a forward written by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA).
    • Greg Cannon
      I ve been going through a backlog of messages in my email account and just barely noticed this one. I m interested in Senator Yarborough, as he s one of the
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 5, 2005
        I've been going through a backlog of messages in my
        email account and just barely noticed this one. I'm
        interested in Senator Yarborough, as he's one of the
        liberal politicians to ever succeed in Texas. I had no
        idea he defeated George H.W. Bush in the 1964 senate
        race!

        I have a good history book that mentions him, The
        Establishment In Texas Politics: The Primitive Years,
        1938-1957.

        There's a Yarborough street in El Paso that I thought
        was named after him, but have been told it was named
        for some other Yarborough. Though one of the links
        below mentions that when he worked at an El Paso law
        firm he worked with the man that my high school was
        named after, William Henry Burges.

        http://www.pstx.org/1999/memorials.html
        http://www.patricklcox.com/For_the_media/Reviews/reviews.html
        http://www.cemetery.state.tx.us/pub/user_form.asp?step=1&pers_id=3272
        http://www.io.com/~eighner/works/memoirs/ralph_yarborough.html
        http://spot.acorn.net/jfkplace/09/fp.back_issues/32nd_Issue/jfk_texas.html
        http://www.jfklibrary.org/j112263a.htm

        And here's an article on one of Texas' current
        senators who's trying to blame recent courthouse
        violence on activist judges:
        http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/3117839

        --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:

        >
        > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Yarborough
        > Ralph Yarborough
        > From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
        >
        > Ralph Webster Yarborough (June 8, 1903 � January 27,
        > 1996) was a
        > Texas politician who served in the United States
        > Senate (1957-1971)
        > and was a leader of the progressive or liberal wing
        > of the Democratic
        > Party in Texas in his many races for statewide
        > office. As a U.S.
        > Senator, he was a staunch supporter and author of
        > "Great Society"
        > legislation that encompassed Medicare and Medicaid,
        > the War on
        > Poverty, federal support for higher education and
        > veterans. He co-
        > wrote the Endangered Species Act and was the only
        > southern senator to
        > vote for all civil rights bills from 1957 to 1970
        > (including the
        > Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act).
        > Yarborough was
        > known as "Smilin' Ralph" Yarborough and used the
        > slogan "Let's put
        > the jam on the lower shelf so the little people can
        > reach it" in his
        > campaigns.
        >
        > Yarborough was born in Chandler, Texas as the
        > seventh of nine
        > children. He was appointed to West Point in 1919 but
        > dropped out and
        > became a teacher. Yarborough took classes at Sam
        > Houston State
        > Teachers College and worked his way into the
        > University of Texas. He
        > graduated from the University of Texas Law School in
        > 1927 and
        > practiced law in El Paso, Texas until he was hired
        > as an assistant
        > Texas attorney general in 1931 by then Texas
        > attorney general James
        > V. Allred. Yarborough was an expert in Texas land
        > law and specialized
        > in prosecuting major oil companies violating
        > production limits and
        > not paying oil royalties to the Permanent School
        > Fund for drilling on
        > public lands. Yarborough became famous for a million
        > dollar judgment
        > against the Mid-Kansas Oil and Gas Company for oil
        > royalties, the
        > second largest judgment ever in Texas at the time.
        > Allred appointed
        > Yarborough 53rd District judge in Travis County
        > Austin after being
        > elected governor, and Yarborough was elected to that
        > office that same
        > year in 1936. Yarborough's first run for state
        > office was coming in
        > third in the Democratic primary for state attorney
        > general in 1938
        > against the sitting Lt. Governor. He served in World
        > War II after
        > 1943, ending service as a Lt. Colonel.
        >
        > Historically, Texas has been a one party state of
        > the Democratic
        > Party. Democrats would win every statewide office, a
        > majority of the
        > congressional delegation, and large majorities in
        > the state
        > legislature. Thus, general elections were
        > formalities, and the real
        > battles took place in the Democratic party
        > primaries. The Democratic
        > primaries would be heated battles between the
        > conservative wing (pre-
        > presidency LBJ, Gov. Shivers, John Connally) and the
        > liberal wing
        > (Yarborough) that identified more with the national
        > party.
        >
        >
        > Ralph Yarborough was urged to run again for state
        > attorney general in
        > 1952, and he planned to do so until a personal
        > affront by Governor
        > Allan Shivers telling him not to run. Out of spite,
        > Ralph Yarborough
        > then ran in the primaries for governor in 1952 and
        > 1954 against the
        > conservative Shivers, drawing support from labor
        > unions and liberals.
        > Yarborough denounced the corrupt "Shivercrats" for
        > veterans' fraud in
        > the General Land Office and for endorsing the
        > Republican
        > Eisenhower/Nixon ticket for President instead of
        > Democrat Adlai
        > Stevenson in 1952. Shivers portrayed Yarborough as
        > an integrationist
        > supported by communist labor unions. The 1954
        > election was
        > particularly nasty in its race-baiting by Shivers as
        > it was the year
        > Brown vs. Board of Education was decided, and
        > Shivers made the most
        > of the court decision to play on voters' racism. In
        > one particularly
        > odious episode, a black man was hired to drive
        > around East Texas in a
        > Cadillac full of Yarborough stickers and to be
        > obnoxious and insult
        > gas station attendants as slow. The man would say he
        > was busy and had
        > to hurry "to work for Mr. Yarborough." Yarborough
        > made it to the
        > primary runoff and came surprisingly close to
        > beating Shivers despite
        > losing almost all newspaper endorsements, being
        > out-fundraised, and
        > nasty attacks.
        >
        > In 1956, Yarborough made it to the primary runoff
        > for governor
        > against U.S. Sen. Price Daniel. After being endorsed
        > by former
        > opponent and governor W. Lee O'Daniel and making
        > aggressive attacks
        > on the Shivers-backed candidate Yarborough looked to
        > win the runoff
        > but lost by about 9,000 votes. It is believed (by
        > Yarborough, his
        > supporters, and biographer) that the election was
        > stolen due to
        > irregular voting in East Texas and other places and
        > that Yarborough
        > really won the runoff by 30,000 votes.
        >
        > Nevertheless, Yarborough's runs for governor had
        > raised his stature
        > and popularity in the state as he had been
        > campaigning for six years
        > straight for office. When Daniel resigned from the
        > Senate in 1957 to
        > become governor, Yarborough ran in the special
        > election to fill the
        > empty seat needing only a plurality of votes (no
        > runoff needed) to
        > win. Ironically, his many runs for governor made him
        > best positioned
        > to become a U.S. Senator. Yarborough won the special
        > election with
        > 38% of the vote to join fellow Texan Lyndon Johnson
        > in the Senate. In
        > office, Ralph Yarborough was a very different kind
        > of Southern
        > senator. He refused to sign the Southern Manifesto
        > opposing
        > integration and supported national Democratic goals
        > of more funding
        > for healthcare, education, and environment. Himself
        > a veteran, he
        > worked to expand the GI Bill of Rights to cold war
        > veterans.
        >
        > In 1958, Ralph Yarborough easily defeated
        > conservative William A.
        > Blakley in the Democratic primary and cruised onto
        > victory in the
        > general election against Republican Roy Whittenburg.
        > As a senator,
        > Yarborough got Congress to pass and John F. Kennedy
        > to sign, a bill
        > making Padre Island a national seashore.
        >
        > Ralph Yarborough rode in the Dallas, Texas motorcade
        > where John F.
        > Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Yarborough was in
        > the same
        > convertible as Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson,
        > "Ladybird" Johnson,
        > and secret service agent Rufus Youngblood, only two
        > cars away from
        > the presidential limousine.
        >
        > In 1964, Yarborough again won the primary without a
        > runoff and went
        > on to general election victory with 56.2% in LBJ's
        > 1964 Democratic
        > landslide, this time defeating future president
        > George H.W. Bush who
        > attacked Yarborough as a left-wing demagogue and for
        > his vote for the
        > Civil Rights Act. Yarborough denounced Bush as an
        > extremist to the
        > right of that year's GOP nominee for president Barry
        > Goldwater
        === message truncated ===
      • Ram Lau
        Don t forget that LBJ was running for reelection that year and plenty Dixiecrats still haven t fully converted to the Republican party. To be exact, it wasn t
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 5, 2005
          Don't forget that LBJ was running for reelection that year and plenty
          Dixiecrats still haven't fully converted to the Republican party. To
          be exact, it wasn't until after the Wallace 68 campaign.

          Ram


          --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@y...>
          wrote:
          > I've been going through a backlog of messages in my
          > email account and just barely noticed this one. I'm
          > interested in Senator Yarborough, as he's one of the
          > liberal politicians to ever succeed in Texas. I had no
          > idea he defeated George H.W. Bush in the 1964 senate
          > race!
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