he had been telling us since he was inaugurated in 1979. “I just want to express to you my enthusiasm about Jimmy Carter going back to Georgia to raise peanuts,” Clements said. “I want him to go back to Georgia and raise peanuts and let’s forget about that guy.” Later in the evening, Clements and Connally slipped over to a side room set up for a press conference. The principal news was that Clements would push for a job in the Reagan administration for Connally, probably in the cabinet. Clements restated his disinclination to accept a Washington job for himself, although later it was announced that he will serve on the Reagan transition team which also includes Texans Anne Armstrong and James Baker. “I have said this repeatedly. I don’t know how many times I have to repeat this,” the governor told reporters. “I will not under any circumstances take any job in Washington, DC. What else can I say?” Connally, in contrast, seemed to savor the idea of a return to national power, despite what seemed ritual denials. “I very strong,” Connally said. “Mine would just be strong. I have no idea that I’ll be offered a job . . . I don’t want ajob . . . and I’m not sure any of them have persuasive powers enough to get me to accept one.” “That’s mighty strong,” Clements interjected. “I think that’s strong, but it’s not very strong.” Connally replied. “Well,” Clements continued, “I’ll tell you one person who might be persuading you, and that’s me.” Turning toward the cameras, Clements added, “He might be able to fend me off at first, but I’ll be a person who is recruiting John Connally to take a position in Washington. I think he has something to offer this country . . . I think that he should be used in a administration in Washington.” \(A little earlier, when arriving at the victory party, Connally had alluded to the probability of his salvation under a Reagan administration. “I’ve been in politics all my life. When you see them carry me away in a pine box, you’ll know Connally told the news conference the Reagan victory was “a mandate for this nation” and that priorities would be given to tax relief, cutting back regulatory powers and trimming the bureaucracy. He was asked whether the election results might also be a mandate against the poor and minorities. He replied: “No I don’t think it’s a mandate against the minorities. I think its a man date that says, minority or majority, we don’t want any laggards and we don’t want any deadbeats and we don’t want any cheaters. I think the American people are very compassionate people. I think they want the essential programs for welfare and health carried on, just as Gov. Reagan says he will, but I think they want those programs tightened, and just as Gov. Reagan says that he wants to support the programs but he doesn’t want to spend most of the money supporting a bureaucracy that takes out a big bite of the appropriation before it ever gets to the intended users. I think they do want some reforms in the whole bureacracy of this country. I think they want reforms in the agencies and de 0 \(0 CD Clements partment to do away with, and repeal and eliminate many of the unnecesary rules and regulations that today harass the American people.” The Connally-Clements stage show was the high point of the evening, at least publicly. A certain amount of rejoicing can be presumed to have been in progress on the upper floors of the hotel, to whence the stars had retired. The ordinary Republicans stayed in the ball room drinking at $1.75 per shot who else but Republicans would still be charging for drinks the night of a victory which Connally called “one of the most significant in the history of American politics.” Over at the Driskill another Republican party was allegedly in progress, but although people were plentiful, they were all sober and another mark of Republicans still comporting themselves as if being evaluated. The Democrats at the Stephen F. Austin were comporting themselves as if they didn’t exist. Bob Armstrong and John Hill showed up for a few minutes and were interviewed on television. Gonzalo Barrientos, an Austin legislator, was there. Jim Hightower stuck around for awhile. Comptroller Bob Bullock, Hill and a few others were hosting private parties around town, but most Democrats stayed home. So, at the Stephen F. Austin it was mostly film crews, hired dancers, an extremely lonely band, and the bartenders, one of whom just had a baby boy named Christopher, for whom tips were enthusiastically solicited. At least somebody was getting something from the evening. Here’s to Christopher, may he grow up to be the first black on the U.S. Supreme Court since Thurgood Marshall, and may Thurgood Marshall be in good health for at least eight years. What Next? In addition to shell-shock, the election produced among Texas Democrats a widespread feeling that the party must engage in some long overdue soulsearching. It must come out of the process with two things: leaders and programs. So far, there are two general camps. One, perhaps represented by John Hill, Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby, House Speaker Billy Clayton, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, and other old-line moderate/ conservatives, are making it known that, in their opinion, the 1980 election was a signal for the party to move back to the center, which they perceive it abandoned in the early ’70s. But another group, in which one might lump Hightower, Mickey Leland, Bernardo Eureste, Ruben Sandoval, the Kent Caperton-Gary Mauro crowd, and other liberal/ progressive/maverick/insurgent types, sense that the old party is breaking up and that there’s room for an entirely new generation of leadership. “We need leaders,” said one party worker. “That’s what will win elections.” Who those leaders will be, and what programs they will undertake, will be the subject of great contention in the ensuing months. Although the November results would appear to be a repudiation of the moderate/conservative faction, they are not a group that will go away politely. A coalition on the left, if there is to be one, will have to organize early and extensively. And find a potful of money. So long as there are no state limits on how much a campaign may spend, the wealthy will buy the elections. The architects of American democracy never envisioned media budgets and there is no reason why advertising agencies and television stations and newspaper advertising departments should set the terms for the selection of public candidates. One of the first items on the progressive agenda THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5
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