identical to that used in the Rodriguez decision \(see Obs., Reference to “wealth of the state as a whole” was deleted, leaving the legally meaningless, but emotionally important “equal educational opportunity.” For fathomless reasons or nonreasons, Nancy Palm, the ever-unpredictable Republican honcho of Harris County, and her henchpersons went off on a tear about equal educational opportunity. Ray Republican gray fox, is reported second-hand to be entirely nonplussed by the phenomenon. The Houston Republicans seem to have taken it into their heads that equal educational opportunity is tantamount to busing, if not worse, and they were prepared to trade it for r/w. Ironically, word reportedly came from no less a personage than Republican Sen. John Tower that “equal educational opportunity” is, in fact, the official Republican Party euphemism for an alternative to busing. But there are some differences between the two meaningless issues which make them untradeable. One is that labor, with not the issue of r/w but its clout on the line, might try to sell out the blacks. Selling out blacks is, after all, a traditional practice with an extensive if not honorable history. But for that very reason, it is especially repugnant to the bleeding heart libs \(not to mention the more than its fair share of strategic errors during the convention, but selling out the blacks was not destined to be one. For the same reasons, trading r/w for a reinstitution of the ceiling on welfare was rejected by labor-lib strategists. The constitutional ceiling on state welfare spending did for many years work considerable evil in the state. But now, with even the hardest-dyed reactionaries ready to more than double the ceiling, and with revenue-sharing taking the bulk of the welfare burden off the state anyway and with the feds ready, any year now, to institute a guaranteed annual income it looked like a cheap trade for the libs. But . . . once again, it would open labor to the charge of selling out blacks. During the last week of the convention, the daily session began with an oft-repeated scene of delegates wandering up to other delegates, generally old friends and political comrades-in-arms whom they were no longer sure were on the same side, whatever that was, and inquiring, “What’s the play?” “Dunno. You know?” “What’s the drill?” “Dunno. You know the game plan?” “You on the team?” “Which team? I ain’t on no team Ray Hutchison is quaterbackin’.” NOW SUCH was the extent of the confusion, folks, that although the nominal leader of the “team” \(a term reserved in House usage for the speaker and his else had become a photographic negative of Satin pretty Austin Rep. Ray Hutchison, the silver-haired and silver-tongued Dallas Republican, has been a big fish since near the beginning of last session, his first in the Legislature. During the Constitutional Convention, though, he has become a genuine whale. And in the late days of the convention, if it’s botanically possible, he began looking mighty like the catbird. His clout took on mythic proportions in the telling, until even Sherman Fricks was further inflating it by referring to it constantly. The accumulation of clout is a mysterious process. Hutchison is bright, articulate and skilled in persuasion and legislative technique. Equally important, he has been near the front of the pro-r/w troops since the beginning. When it was demonstrated that labor could not command enough votes to approve Submission Resolution Two, “Hutchison’s people” became the people to be dealt with. It was just about then, too, that the moderate-to-conservatives began to be called “Hutchison’s people.” Obviously, Hutchison did not have absolute control over those votes. Just to begin with, the Republicans in the Lege don’t form a solid bloc of their own. The Houston Republicans are particularly factious, being for the most part Nancy Palm Republicans and not John Tower-Fred Agnich-Ray Hutchison Republicans. Throughout the convention, the Houston Republicans have gotten more exercised about the “equal educational opportunity” guarantee than about any of the issues Hutchison has labored over. Furthermore, Hutchison’s pre-eminence in his own delegation is shared with Agnich, a long-time legislative and party power in his own right. Nonetheless, with every other bloc of votes going soft as a plum duff, the designation “Hutchison’s people” began to make more and more sense. As it did, though, a scenario entitled Hutchison Will Flake At The Last Minute began to gain popularity. To understand this prospective play you have to begin with the scenarists’ hope \(that a draft that did not aver that constitutional reform is too important to be jeopardized by excessive sticking over any particular issue; as a Republican, Hutchison would be just, as happy if r/w were not submitted to the voters, since its absence from the ballot would allow Republicans all over the state to campaign against the Democratic sell-out to the “big labor bosses”; and as a bond lawyer and principal mover behind most of the constitutional language dealing with state and local debt, Hutchison has a vested interest in getting approval for all those new, complicated provisions on the issuance of bonds, since he will then become the state’s most valuable bond lawyer. Presto! goes the conclusion: just keep refusing to give in to him, and Hutchison will eventually support a document with no r/w provision, throwing “Hutchison’s people” into last-minute disarray. Phooey, says Ray Hutchison. He freely admits recommending to Submission and Transition that “if right-to-work is the problem, throw it out.” That doesn’t mean he’d work the floor hand-in-hand with Harry Hubbard, or do anything else to produce all that hoped-for consternation among conservatives. Hutchison further freely admits that Republicans could make hay out of a submission to voters that did not allow them to vote on r/w, but insists he “wouldn’t play that kind of game” with the convention. And, he adds, “I’m not that interested in developing that issue for Jim Granberry.” \(Granberry wound up with the Republican nomination for governor at the end of a race Hutchison first entered and later Hutchison also contends that the draft constitution’s bond provisions are just not as complicated as the scenarists claim, though he volunteered the opinion that the task of implementing all the changes they make will be “enormous.” “So much of the present constitution concerns this question [of debt and debt financing] ,” he says, tapping his well-marked copy. “I’d say the provisions of the new local government article alone eliminate about 40 percent of the bulk, and about 90 percent of the amendment-breeders.” It’s true, he says, that the average delegate will not be able to rush right out and practice bond law after being exposed to the debate on the finance and local government articles. But he laughs at the suggestion that professional bond lawyers won’t quickly master the,ifew provisions. J.F. 4 The Texas Observer
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