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POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE Strauss Talks Business “There has always been a far right group in the Republican Party who would rather have a-small party and rule it and never elect anyone. The same thing is true of the Democratic Party.” The sentiments are those of former Democratic Party chairman Bob Strauss, speaking to former Observer editor Kaye Northcott in his Washington, D.C. law office. “We have a far left group,” Strauss continued, “that would like to run out everybody else and never elect anyone. And neither one of them serves the state very well. “The same thing is true in national politics. What we need to do is to have a party that tilts a bit left from center, a little to the liberal side. And a Republican Party that tilts a bit to the conservative side. Where the difference between the parties is a 15 to 20 percent shift in degree, not a 180-degree shift. Then when you change administrations, you don’t have these dramatic changes. The American people, pretty generally speaking, are pretty moderate. They don’t want extremism. In Texas we tend to want to give them extremism.” Strauss mentioned Jess Hay, the Dallas fundraiser for Dolph Briscoe; Calvin Guest, the former Democratic Party chairman; Charles Duncan, head of the DOE during the Carter Administration and, of course himself, as the type of Democrat he had in mind. “We come from the business community, but we’re not rightwingers,” he pointed out. With that kind of posture you can attract the business community back into the Democratic Party. I think we can do it. I see no reason to be pessimistic.” tor Kaye also talked politics with Clifton McCleskey, author of the standard textbook on Texas government, who’s now teaching at the University of Virginia. Sitting on the front porch of his 1830-vintage farmhouse overlooking the Virginia hills south of Charlottesville, McCleskey warned against seductive and expensive mass media campaigns. “It will always be too expensive for liberals to be successful,” he said. “And to engage in that kind of politics is to accept the challenge of conservatives and Republicans to play their own game. They’re always going to have more money. “The real test, I think, is to be able to build an organization that in effect works year round so that you have people at the precinct and county levels who are doing the little things between elections that make them influential. The candidates can’t deliver anything unless there is a network of people down there talking to the voters. . . . The real challenge of the Democratic Party in Texas and the nation is to rebuild those cadres of party activists, not the abortion activists, not the labor activists as such, but people who are committed to the party as an organization. Now, if you ask how to do that, I’m not entirely sure I could answer that. But I think it’s crystal clear that that’s where a lot of the problem is.” While the possibility of Cong. Jim Mattox of Dallas opposing Cong. Phil Gramm in 1982 has attracted notice, there is savvy talk in Washington that Tom Vandergriff, who was mayor of Arlington 25 years, is ready to undertake that task. Close to House Majority Leader Jim Wright, Vandergriff is wellregarded in his area. He is now the Chevrolet dealer in Arlington. r. 0′ The political future of Leonel Castillo , at a statewide level probably also rides with November’s city election in Houston. Thrice Houston city controller before he became Carter’s INS commissioner, Castillo is running for controller again. His major opponent is Councilman Lance Lalor, who says he decided to run after Castillo told him he would not. Also running are Cynthia Oliphant, a city accountant, and Richard Mills, a businessman. The present controller, Kathy Whitmire, is in the race for mayor. Talk around the wine-and-cheese table at the recent Austin fund-raiser for Lloyd Doggett concerned Billy Clayton’s political future. One of the speaker’s House colleagues suggested that Clayton was waiting until January to announce for Land Commissioner because he wants the fate of his Water Plan decided before he makes a decision. The repre sentative also predicted that Clayton will run against Garry Mauro as a Republican. Republican State Sen. Walter “Mad Dog” Mengden of Houston made it official last week. He will run for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate next year. A lawyer and independent oilman, the 54-year-old Mengden claims he’ll run a stronger race against Sen. Lloyd Bentsen than the other still unannounced Republican candidate, Cong. Jim Collins of Dallas. Mengden says his age and his hometown are advantages. Collins is 65. A third GOP candidate, San Antonio businessman Donald Richardson, filed his candidacy Jan. 21. ro Another San Antonian, City Councilman Frank Wing who has been a staunch supporter of San Antonio’s participation in STNP, has now changed his mind and wants the city out. This development underscores the criticality of the Nov. 3 election in Austin on this same issue. President Reagan was set to name a new chairman for the National Endowment for the Humanities at a luncheon last week for his task force studying federal support for the arts and humanities. He named a new chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts, but put off making the NEH choice. According to White House sources, Reagan had decided not to appoint University of Dallas professor Melvin E. Bradford, the self-described “archconservative” who supported George Wallace for the presidency in 1968 and was Dallas County chairman of Wallace’s American Party in 1969-70 \(See TO, was apparently Robert Hollander Jr., a professor of European literature at Princeton University, but intense pressure on Bradford’s behalf from Senators Thurmond, East, and Helms persuaded the President to reconsider his choice. Reagan’s nominee to become chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts is Francis S. M. Hodsoll, currently a deputy to presidential chief of staff James A. Baker III. Hodsoll, a former New York attorney who was a deputy assistant secretary and later an assistant to the undersecretary of commerce in the Ford administration, was a staff coordinator in Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign, concentrating on the debates with Jimmy Carter and John Anderson. The only background in the arts Hodsoll has, at least according to a biography provided by the White House, was an interest in theater and radio while he was a college student at Yale, Cambridge, and the Stanford University Law School. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7