FROM: EDWARD P. MORGAN AND THE NEWS Friday, November 7, 1958 American Broadcasting Network Putting the overplay of maudlin pollyannaisms aside, sometimes, surely, a man's finest hour really is in defeat. Ugly as the circumstances were, bitter as the consequences are, that hour has arrived for a sensitive, civilized Congressman -- ex-Congressman now -- from Little Rock named Brooks Hays. For eight successive terms -- 16 years -- Hays, a Southern Democrat, who gave that label a mark of distinction and not disgrace, had served his district and his native state of Arkansas in the House of Representatives. It was he who tried to moderate the differences last year between the president and Governor Faubus, and avert the emotional tornado that finally broke over Little Rock's Central High. For his pains, Faubus cut Hays down at the polls last Tuesday by a dubious trick which may even yet be challenged in the courts, though not by the victim himself. A man accomplished in breaking pledges even to presidents, Faubus did not scruple to keep a solemn promise to support all the Democratic candidates, Hays included. Instead the governor released his executive assistant, one Claude Carpenter, to help hatch a covert plan sprung in the last eight days of the campaign to confront Hays with a write-in candidate in opposition. "I fought like a tiger," Hays said afterward, "but it was too late." He got 49 percent of the ballots but his opponent, an extreme segregationist named Dr. Dale Alford, beat him by 1, 249 votes. Alford ran in a beclouded category as an "independent" and a move has already begun to have him excluded from committee assignments in the House. But there was no vindictiveness in Hays himself as he returned to Washington today and held the largest news conference of his career. Almost to a man, reporters who crowded his office clambered forward to shake his hand afterward, leaving their standard shield of cynicism behind. My colleague, Benjamin A. Franklin, was moved to scrawl a personal aside on his notes which read. "Hays was gloriously, militantly tolerantly RIGHT about everything. He is a religious but not pious man. He knew he was right even in bitter defeat and it radiated from him almost blindingly." Another awed reporter remarked "if there was ever a Congressman who ought to go to Heaven, it's Hays." Something, I am sure white supremacists would agree, must be done to restore some objectivity to Washington journalism. Hays began by reading a long statement from Edmund Burke which concluded thus: "Your representative owes you not his industry only, but his judgment, and he betrays you instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion." He said he had not been repudiated or renounced by the people of Little Rock. "There is still enough good, will so I can be heard." And he intends to speak and speak and speak, at home and throughout the country, hammering at three points on the racial question: a non-violent solution must be sought; the lips of the clergy -- both pro-and anti-integration must not be sealed; justice must be sought for the Negro on the local level. When a reporter, obviously with Hays in mind, asked for a comment on the fact that while "the people who stand for law and order are punished and defeated, few mob leaders are brought to book," the Congressman recalled an anecdotes "My daddy, who is 86," Hays said, "once told me about a friend who was critically injured when a jackass kicked him in his barn. The doctor came, examined the man, then knelt over him and said he was going to die. 'I sure do hate to have it written on my tombstone that I was killed by a jackass,' the man said. 'Couldn't you make me live long enough to die of pneumonia?'" Hays said he wouldn't challenge the write-in move but he hoped, others would. "All those southern boys better look out from now on," he said, "because if Faubus can do it in Arkansas then any governor anywhere can knock off someone he doesn't like in the last few days." A churchman, Brooks Hays will do most of his speaking for moderation in his capacity as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Four Baptist ministers in Little Rock, incidentally, campaigned, against him.
This is Edward Morgan saying good night from Washington.
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