Vol. LXIV, No. 12 June 23, 1972 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Advocate. Forum Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701. Telephone 477-0746. 74:EIP-’74;-7 Let’s glow . . ignore the fact that the idea has already been declared unconstitutional. IT IS unproductive to keep repeating that Briscoe ran as Mr. Nowhere Man, but it happens to be one of the few things anyone knows about him. Bo Byers, Austin bureau chief for the Houston Chronicle, attempted a sympathetic post-runoff analysis of Briscoe. “What kind of man is Briscoe?” Byers wrote. “What is his political philosophy? What programs would he propose . . .” Ordinarily, the victorious candidate would have just finished spending months and months answering exactly those questions. With Briscoe, it’s still a mystery. Hank Grover, the latest living proof that Texas Republicans will do the stupidest thing possible in any given set of circumstances, intimated on election night that Briscoe is actually a liberal. And Byers noted hopefully that Briscoe has said he would not veto a bill giving collective bargaining rights to public employees, if the Legislature were to pass one. In truth, Briscoe is one of the most status quo oriented candidates this state has had in a long time. There’ve been some who wanted to take the state backward and more who were willing to see it pushed forward here and there, but insofar as one can deduce anything about Briscoe’s plans, he just seems to want to run the state honestly without otherwise changing it. That, in itself, would be a notable achievement. And he is unlikely to move us backward. But unless he turns out to be considerably more forceful than we have any right to hope given his performance to date, it is probable that some of the state’s problems will fester and grow worse as Briscoe does nothing about them. Briscoe’s farm-to-market roads and screwworm record is no comfort to the state’s urban areas and his efforts to overcome his rural image and/or orientation during the campaign were worse than pathetic. Surely his most outstandingly nothing statement was on mass transit. \(“Mass transit, uh, is a problem. It’s a real problem. We need to do something about our urban transportation needs. We sure do. And, uh, I intend to do something about our urban One area in which we can expect some improvement is in the presence of a new “gang” in Austin. Obviously Briscoe has big money ties, but it’s a different kind of big money from what we’ve been used to seeing. Perhaps it’s only a function of the myths created by “Bonanza” and popular entertainment of that ilk, but somehow big ranchers seem to be a more solid, reliable group of biggies than big insurance men, oil tycoons, etc. One egregiously wealthy young rancher from Uvalde who travelled with Briscoe during the campaign looked with amazement and supercilious amusement on some of the ambitious types who were already bootlicking around Briscoe. “I don’t need any money; and sure don’t need a job,” he said. “I’m just doing this because Dolph is my friend.” Briscoe, who has to be smarter than his public utterances indicate, is said to recognize the creampot love of some of those around him. Those lobbyists who wired him donations at 9:35 p.m., May 6, should probably have saved their money. Plutocracy is not democracy, but more public officials who don’t need money will mean more who can’t be bought. IN THE plus ca change vein, we can expect another “dull, colorless” governor and another young, ambitious lieutenant governor, not to mention a young ambitious attorney general, a young, ambitious land commissioner and a young, ambitious speaker. In the “dull, colorless” field, there is little question that Briscoe will make us yearn for the inimitable P. Smith. Smith, you will recall, said marvelous things such as, “Some people like to live in slums.” Just last week during the governors’ conference in Houston, he said he was against “warfare and other things of that nature.” We will unquestionably miss P. Smith. Briscoe never says anything at all. One reporter has fantasized the perfect press secretary for Briscoe: an old jukebox obtained from the Vending Commission. The selection buttons will be labelled “Taxation,” “Pollution,” “Appropriations,” etc. You just push a button and a recording of Briscoe will come on saying, “Actually, I don’t have a . position on that issue just yet. However, my staff is, uh, working on it and I will have a release for you. . . .” His first problem-solving effort is encouraging. In the face of certain revolt by at least one wing of the Democratic Party if SDEC chairman Roy Orr were to chair the state convention, Briscoe cajoled the assorted factions into accepting his campaign manager Calvin Guest as convention chairman. Guest may not be as a good a chairman as the alternative hit on by the out factions themselves EDITOR Kaye Northcott CO-EDITOR Moll Ivins EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger REVIEW EDITOR Steve Barthelme Contributing Editors: Winston Bode, Bill Brammer, Gary Cartwright, Sue Horn Estes, Joe Frantz, Larry Goodwyn, Harris Green, Bill Hamilton, Bill Helmer, Dave Hickey, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Larry Lee, Al Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, Bill Porterfield, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, Buck Ramsey, John Rogers, Mary Beth Rogers, 2 Roger Shattuck, Edwin Shrake, Dan Strawn, John P. Sullivan, Tom Sutherland, Charles Alan Wright. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the . rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with her. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that she agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. BUSINESS STAFF Sarah Boardman Joe Espinosa Jr. Marcus Mosbacker C. R. Olofson The Observer is published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Single copy, 25c. One year, $7.00; two years, $13.00; three years. $18.00; plus, for Texas addresses, 5% sales tax. Foreign, except APO/FPO, 50c additional per year. Airmail, bulk orders, and group rates on request. Microfilmed by Microfilming Corporation of America, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock, N.J. 07452. Change of Address: Please give old and new address, including zip codes, and allow two weeks. Postmaster: Send form 3579 to Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701. THE TEXAS OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co. 197 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher A window to the South A journal of free voices
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