Texas Regulators

Texas Regulars

A group of right-wing members of the Democratic Party began plotting against President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1944 they joined together to form the Texas Regulars. Members included Wilbert Lee O'Daniel,Martin Dies, Eugene B. Germany and Hugh R. Cullen. Supported by Texas oilmen, the group were also opposed to the fixed prices of oil and gas imposed by Roosevelt's government during the Second World War. They also campaigned against the New Deal, civil rights and pro-trade union legislation. The group disbanded in 1945 after they failed to remove Roosevelt as the leader of their party.

Former members of the Texas Regulars were also opposed to Harry S. Truman and his Fair Deal proposals that included legislation on civil rights, fair employment practices, opposition to lynching and improvements in existing public welfare laws. When Truman won the nomination in 1948, these men joined the States' Rights Democratic Party (Dixiecrats) and Storm Thurmond was chosen as its presidential candidate. It was thought that with two former Democrats, Thurmond and Henry Wallace standing, Truman would have difficulty defeating the Republican Party candidate, Thomas Dewey. However, both Thurmond and Wallace did badly and Truman defeated Dewey by 24,105,812 votes to 21,970,065.

These right-wingers continued to be active in politics after Harry S. Truman became president. In 1952 Hugh R. Cullen, Sid Richardson and Clint Murchison gave their support to Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Republican Party. His main political concern was in the preservation of the oil depletion allowance. He was therefore pleased by Eisenhower's decision to employ Robert Anderson (the former president of the Texas Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association) as Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of the Treasury. In this post Anderson introduced legislation beneficial to the oil industry.

This group were also great supporters of Joseph McCarthy. In 1952 Hugh R. Cullen, Jesse H. Jones, and Clint Murchison all provided funds for McCarthy. As Murchison pointed out in 1954: "We all made money fast. We were interested in nothing else. Then this communist business suddenly burst upon us. Were we going to lose what we had gained?"

Some former members of the Texas Regulars were also involved in the Suite 8F Group, a collection of right-wing political and businessmen. The name comes from the room in the Lamar Hotel in Houston where they held their meetings. Members of the group included George Brown and Herman Brown (Brown & Root), Jesse H. Jones (multi-millionaire investor in a large number of organizations and chairman of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation), Gus Wortham (American General Insurance Company), James Abercrombie (Cameron Iron Works), Hugh R. Cullen (Quintana Petroleum), William Hobby (Governor of Texas and owner of the Houston Post), William Vinson (Great Southern Life Insurance), James Elkins (American General Insurance and Pure Oil Pipe Line), Albert Thomas (chairman of the House Appropriations Committee), Lyndon B. Johnson (Majority Leader of the Senate) and John Connally (Governor of Texas). Alvin Wirtz and Edward Clark, were two lawyers who were also members of the Suite 8F Group.