Notes on 25 Years \(that is, the wives of the House memsured by the oldest adage for political wives: “Never fear, dear. They may roam, but they alway’s come home.” Well, almost always. Some go to hell in a basket, damned by new habits of excess in all things the classic blondes, bourbon, and beefsteak syndrome. Some go to the Congress. Worse excesses. Some just go a hundred yards from the House to the Senate. It is often said that raises the average IQ of both bodies. Some of us lucky ones, for our eternal reward, even die and become lobbyists. Dick Slack, when asked why in the world he ever stayed in the House 25 years, allegedly answered, “Have you ever lived in Pecos?” For my 20 years in the Senate I have no answer that anyone could understand. Galveston has been Heaven for 55 years, and I know there is evenly divided sentiment from friends and enemies alike that I should have stayed there. It started for me in 1955 as a freshman House member when almost everybody was a bigot, a racist, and a good old boy. The Texas rule for getting elected since Reconstruction days was simple. It was a nice, safe place to be a Democratic WASP. Some Catholics, an occasional Valley “Meskin,” an accidental Jew “no niggers.” Only a few of us liberals steadfastly refused to refer to MexicanAmericans and blacks in the common parlance of the day damn few folks were even nice about it. In Fort Bend County they still had a “Jaybird pri Babe Schwartz served in the Texas House of Representatives four years and the Texas Senate two decades. In the Republican tide of 1980 he lost by 700 out of 144,000 votes to “Buster” Brown, the present senator from the six-county district that includes the Galveston area. Immediately, Schwartz’ income doubled, his $600-a-month legislative salary increased to a pension of $1,600 a month, and he’s doing just fine at 55, practicing law in Houston and Galveston, living with wife Marilyn in their bayou-side . home in Galveston, watching their four sons’ lives progress. He has a lot to say about the Texas legislature, and depending in part on responses he receives to this initial memoir, he may write a book about it all. 18 AUGUST 14, 1981 mary” for white folks before the regular Democratic primary. Republicans in Texas snuck into the legislature by special election contests where runoffs were not required and then more promptly defeated in the next regular election. The result of all this was a great sterile cubicle of rural conservatism cast in concrete, being chipped away at by the D. B. Hardemans and Maury Mavericks, the Barefoot Sanderses and Bob Eckhardts, and defended by the old-line combinations such as Swindell, Cheatham and Fly. \(Bill Swindell, Tom Cheatham, and Bill Fly were three conservative members of the time. I liked to combine their names into a symbol for the joint venture that the majority THE MEMORIES of the great two-act play of my four House years come together in a sweet and sour rush. The taste of blood from a few victories paled by comparison with defeat after defeat on issues of simple social change in a state owned and operated by big oil, big business, and big agriculture. My life-long affair with politics, which had started when I tried and failed while still in law school to get elected to the House, was a constant tug-of-war between love and hate. Day in and day out, some giants rose to the challenge of battle against the old conservative line with no hope for victory, but with the certain inner confidence that change would come sooner or later. Senator Schwartz In Action Old Conservatives are defined well by Mort Saul as those who say, “No, we ain’t gonna never change nothin’, never.” We had plenty of them. New Conservatives are those who say, “Sure we’ll change that, and it needs changing, but not now!” We believed some of them, but I lived long enough to see the New Conservatives grow into Old Conservatives. I witnessed great men trying to accomplish a few small things and failing because everybody does whore. \(I did, made, or the Speaker says not this year, or the Governor will appoint my cousin to the egg-grading board. We all knew the game; it’s only the price that changes from time to time. I remember great moments when we minority dissidents \(everybody who dissented in those days was sooner or later mike in the well of the House telling the world confidently that it would all be different in ten or 25 years when Texans learned that the Establishment’s evil ways had depleted our precious natural resources, used up our irreplaceable water in the west, polluted our pristine environment with toxic chemical wastes, and generally fouled our nest while pay Photo by Ted Powers
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