The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997 Page: 454
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
An examination of the Miller insurgency also demonstrates the un-
popularity, even within ardently pro-administration circles, of various
measures deemed necessary to win the war. Whereas large industrial
manufacturers received rapid depreciation schedules, large tax credits,
and profitable cost-plus contracts from the War Production Board, small
businessmen complained bitterly about excessive governmental interfer-
ence and costly regulations. Numerous political problems resulted. In
Texas, where the state's most conservative Democratic elements, known
as the Texas Regulars, were in open rebellion against the president, a
rift over the Office of Price Administration (OPA) between two of
Franklin Roosevelt's staunchest defenders could have spelled disaster in
the upcoming election year.
Finally, the affair reveals both the lengths to which Johnson was will-
ing and unwilling to go to retain an ally and the skills that made him
such a successful politician. Although willing to be heavy-handed behind
the scenes, he never publicly shamed Miller, with whom he had to work
in order to effectively represent Austinites. The mayor needed to be won
back, not crushed and humiliated. Johnson, no matter how angry he
might become in the face of provocation, knew that kind of victory
would be too costly and responded accordingly. But all of his political
acumen was necessary to accomplish the task.
Johnson's relationship with Miller dated from the special election ne-
cessitated by Congressman James P. "Buck" Buchanan's death in early
1937. Speculation abounded in Central Texas that Miller, who had
made no secret of his congressional ambitions, would be a candidate for
the vacant seat.' It was Johnson rather than Miller, however, who joined
the crowded field running to become the Tenth District's new represen-
tative. Personally and through intermediaries he repeatedly but unsuc-
cessfully solicited the mayor's backing.2 Convinced that Johnson at age
twenty-nine was too young and politically inexperienced, Miller threw
his support instead to C. N. Avery, a prominent businessman widely re-
garded as the prohibitive favorite. Johnson's triumph thus came as a
Anthony M. Orum, Power, Money and People: The Making of Modern Austin (Austin: Texas
Monthly Press, 1987), 71, 112; Austin American-Statesman, Mar. 7, 1937; Austin Daily Tribune, May
25, 1941; Edward A. Clark to Anthony M. Orum, May 12, 1983, oral history interview, Tape 1
(Austin History Center; cited hereafter as AHC); Emmett Shelton to Michael L. Gillette, June 15,
1982, oral history interview (transcript), 48-49, AC 85-41 (Lyndon Barnes Johnson Library; cit-
ed hereafter as LBJL);Joseph H. Skiles to Michael L. Gillette, Feb. 14, 1979, oral history inter-
view (transcript), 32, AC 82-51 (LBJL).
2 Tom Miller to Lyndon Johnson, July 19, 1937, letter, File: "General-Miller, Tom
[1938-1939]," Box 5, House of Representatives Papers (LBJL); Sam Fore, Dan Quill, Oliver
Bruck, William S. White to Douglas Carter, Jan. 2o, 1965, oral history interview (transcript), lo,
AC 70-61 (LBJL); Mrs. Sam Fore to David McComb, July 12, 1972, oral history interview (tran-
script), 6, AC 76-50 (LBJL).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997, periodical, 1997; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/m1/532/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.