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redhaired older man at her side, a man wearing a silk brocade tux and socks too short to cover his shins. Whether she walked past the 300 or so demonstrators in the 95 heat outside the Albert Thomas Convention Center, I don’t know, but many of her fellow diners exited their limousines to shouts of “Tax the rich!” and “Hell no, we won’t go! We won’t fight for Texaco!” and “Ronald Reagan, he’s no good! Send him back to Hollywood!” Among the many signs was one that read, “Reaganomics is welfare for the rich.” It was cool inside the cavernous convention center, laid out in elaborate red, white, and blue bunting with a Hollywood-style backdrop consisting of 28 pentagonal white columns, each hollowed to hold giant silver stars silhouetted against red and blue lights within the columns. Behind the immense head table were three-foot-high white letters on a blue backdrop spelling out CLEMENTS. Seated at the table high above the diners were 51 people, including three former Texas governors \(Shivers, ConTower, Dee Kelly, chairman of Democrats and Independents for Clements, White House Chief of Staff James Baker and his wife, Gerald Ford, Bum Bright, Robert Dedman, one former and one present Mexican governor, the George Strakes, the Pete O’Donnells, even Democratic state Sen. John . Wilson and wife \(in gratitude apparently for Wilson’s support of the Clements redistricting Dr. W. A. Criswell of Dallas’ First Baptist Church said grace. “Lord, forgive us,” he prayed, “when we give away that which we don’t possess, when we pile up debts we don’t intend to pay, when we leave burdens our children will have to bear.” Criswell also thanked the Lord for what he called a new day and new beginning. Houston businessman Walter Mischer, the man who organized the dinner, announced that the $3,551,000 raised that night was the largest political fundraising dinner in the history of the United States. “Your leadership and your vision,” he told the governor, “has provided the quality of life that we Texans enjoy.” Gerald Ford told the crowd he was tired of the “usual partisan sharpshooting, the nitpicking, here at home,” while the President was away in Europe’ solving world problems. “I resent, I get angry, at the Democrats’ charges that economic problems were created by Reagan economic policies,” he said. “Those charges will not be swallowed by the American pub lic.” During the Carter administration’s four years, he charged, “they blew it.” Ford introduced Clements, and after the obligatory standing ovation the governor told the president that “we Republicans represent about 20% of Texas voters and Democrats about 35%. The rest are Texas ticket-splitters. That’s what elected you, Mr. President.” The president himself talked about the economy. `!Loud voices will be heard, some are tuning up already, denouncing this budget resolution,” he said. “We’ll be told we’re cutting too deep, depriving the elderly, poor, and handicapped of the support they need, that our defense spending is out of proportion and needs to be cut back. “In all the confusing rhetoric, the term `budget cuts’ to describe what was done last year and now with regard to the ’83 budget has lent credence to tales of suffering imposed by ‘budget cuts.’ There have been no budget cuts. The present 1982 budget is larger than the 1981 budget we inherited. The 1983 budget resolutions passed by both houses of Congress are larger than the 1982 budget.” What has slowed, Reagan said, is the rate of spending increase. He also contended that “Twenty years ago during John F. Kennedy’s Camelot, spending for human needs was 29% of the budget. Defense spending was 46%. In our proposed budget, the social needs totaled 51% and defense spending is 29%. . . . I just say this because there’s been a little demagoguery going on in Washington. recently.” \(He failed to mention that figures for Social Security, the largest single item in social spending, were not counted as part of the federal budget Reagan also said Kennedy targeted 36% of his tax relief to corporations, while the Reagan cut gives only 20% to corporations. He did not mention that corporate taxes have been reduced steadily since Kennedy’s time so that they now represent a small fraction of federal income. Bill Clements, Reagan said, should be congratulated for reducing the number of state employees and cutting taxes at the same time, for bringing in corporate executives to lend their expertise to the state, and for his emphasis on basics and discipline in the classroom. The president also asked the audience for its support for what he called “a constitutional amendment to once again let God back into the classroom and permit voluntary prayer.” Reagan went on in this vein for perhaps 20 minutes, to frequent ap plause, and the white-haired woman at the nearby table never failed to join in. She was particularly enthusiastic, her clapping hands like the blur of hummingbird wings, when the president lauded Texans for reminding the rest of the nation about “the true value of freedom.” “While many states looked to government programs or federal assistance,” he said, “you stressed individual responsibility and free enterprise. What you have created here has captured the imagination of the world. Entrepreneurs, laborers, and men and women looking for opportunity are flocking here not expecting a handout, but knowing that with hard work they can improve their lives. That’s what Texas is and, I hope, will always be about.” THERE WAS A SMILE on the white-haired woman’s face as she joined in the thunderous applause. Her eyes sparkled. She knew in her heart, it seemed, that her president was right; there were men and women all around her who, on their own, had made it, and anyone who wanted to could do the same. Was she thinking about the rabble outside, those grasping, tricky, ungrateful people who want something for nothing and are too lazy to work for it? I don’t know, of course, but I have my suspicions my prejudices, if you will. I suspect that the white-haired woman and her friends don’t like poor people, people like Hilda Davis \(though they did offer a round of applause to the convention I suspect they really don’t care that 70% of Ronald Reagan’s 1982 budget cuts and 90% of those for 1983 affect the poor, that unemployment is at the highest level since the Depression, that public service jobs are being eliminated, that the relatively successful Job Corps is being eliminated. I doubt that they lose any sleep because Medicaid is being weakened along with Aid to Families with Dependent Children \(15% cuts in for elderly and disabled families will be cut an average of 25%, child nutrition by 15%, legal aid for the poor eliminated. . . . What’s important to these people, I suspect, is that their President has given oil and other industries everything they wanted, that the corporate income tax has been virtually eliminated, that business’ share in financing the federal government has been shifted to individual taxpayers, and that Ronald Reagan’s man in Texas is re-elected. That’s worth a thousand dollars any day. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7