COMING NEXT ISSUE: Texas Joins the Revolt Against Carter Contraband/Laurence Jolidon Add dirt and sling Notes on the endless campaign: Besides Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, there were ninny reasons to Nei disappointed during the rM1 -11 @[email protected] But one may have escaped your notice spOaking of the letdown many of us felt when our very own governor, Roughneck Hill, failed to rise to his previous heights of picturesque speech when he was out on the trail kicking Jimmy’s ass for Reagan, There was our fine governor, up in Texarkana taking the baths, or whatever they have in Texarkana during October that would draw such a celebrated tourist, having a cozy, behindthe-bark, off-the-record chat with local newspaper editors. That is, Gov. Clements claimed later he thought the whole deal was off-the-record. But it turned out the newspaper editors, perverse scribblers to a man, were taking it all down for publication. And when the discussion got around to just which political travelers had been through town lately, it turned out that none other than President Jimmy the Georgian had been in Texarkana just the day before. Looking for future rest camps for the hostages, no doubt. Well, that caused Roughneck Bill to get all tight-collared and ornery as usual when President Jimmy’s name is mentioned. His neck turns a shade of red about the color of a July tomato and invective begins to bubble from his lips like unto the oil spurting from the earth where a drill rig has pierced a new, juicy formation. “A gawddam liar!” Gov. Clements said of the highest officeholder in the land, referring to the President’s assessments of the relative killing strength of the nukeries here and beyond the Finland Station. That is the field that really riles up Roughneck Bill. Don’t forget, he was up in the Pentagon for the Nixon-Ford term. He knows his nukes, Bill does. And he is sure that Carter has let our defenses down below what they should be to ward off the Russians. So sure that he called President Jimmy a liar eight count ’em, eight times. Then came Clements’ chance to rise to the rhetorical occasion. Breath held, ballpoints rolling, the Texarkana editors awaited Roughneck Bill’s famous anger. Clements ground his teeth, flexed his consonants and grittily warned: “I’m . . . after his ass.” Makes your eyes squint, right? When the story got back down to Austin, the Democrats were quick to trot out the nearest thing to a Baptist minister they have in their file-folder, Atty. Gen. Mark White, and line him up in front of the microphone with a little speech about what a black day it is when the governor of Texas uses some salty language to attack the incumbent Democrat in the White House. Texans aren’t “squeamish, quoth Rev. White, but neither do they like “to see the office of the presidency be defiled by profanity.” Huh? These are Texas Democrats talking, now. In the land of Lyndon Johnson, where the epithets echo across the hills as though pall of nature, an outraged attorney general stands up to rebuke the governor for using the 10ftr NM in vain to whale the tail of another politician. It was as though such words could never pass the lips of Jimmy Carter, who only a few months ago said he was going to kick the tailbone of a certain Massachusetts liberal, The same Jimmy Carter who only a day or two before had talked about how deep the Republicans pile the manure around election time, Rev. White and his pink-eared flock were so stunned and shocked by Roughneck Bill’s choice of words that they fired off a demand for an apology. Up your apology, said Roughneck Bill. Lord knows, any apology from Clements should be for sinking to the putrid level of low-talk common in the 1980 campaign. Where is the Bill Clements of old? Where is the Bill Clements who, talking about John Hill, said: “I can assure you he has gotten hold of a hot enchilada.” Or the one who said he’d debate Hill “anytime, any place, on any podium, and I’ll wax his fanny.” Or the one who said Hill was “so busy making love to Harry Hubbard” he couldn’t pay attention to national labor legislation. Or the one who called Jimmy Carter “a dead duck around John Hill’s neck.” Or the one who looked at the people serving in the Texas Legislature and allowed, “I haven’t detected very many geniuses down there.” No, Mr. White, we don’t want Gov. Bill slipping back into that plain-vanilla invective so disappointingly present during the recent campaign. We want him to get back on his oratorical horse and start spewing forth some of the old-time gutter talk, some of the earthy speech and scuffed-boot blather the state of Texas once heard. We have had enough of the putrid, namby-pamby, lace THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21
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