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references sincerely: “If I ran a drugstore, I can run a government.” Why? They miss the obvious difference. A drugstore, a corporation, deals with people who can afford a product. Government supplies it to people who couldn’t affort it without government. You couldn’t build your own schools, you couldn’t build your own hospitals, you couldn’t build your own roads and bridges. Because you’re in a wheelchair, you couldn’t feed yourself. We have the obligation to do it.” Columnist Flora Lewis put it another way: “. . . there is something peculiar in the notion that the training and experi ence required of a doctor, an engineer or a plumber isn’t necessary to run the country and make its laws, and that amateur status is preferable. Making `politician’ a dirty word amounts to disdain for democracy.”‘ Mark White is, of course, a politician in the slightly besmirched sense of the word. More accurately, he is a consum mate campaigner, like George Wallace more interested in and more adept at running for office than holding it. In his race for attorney general in 1978 and in this year’s effort to unseat a formidable incumbent, he showed a remarkable ability to assess the mood of the voters, to keep looking until he found what they wanted to hear, and then to keep on say ing it until he got their attention. When asked on the morning after, for instance, why the governor’s polls were wrong and his were right, he said, “I was talking to the people out there; that wasn’t a poll I ran. I was in that airplane all day, I didn’t have any poll results. We were just talking to people.” The concern is that Mark White is just a skillful campaigner and not a politician, a campaigner who has talked to so many people and has made so many promises, he has become as his opponents fre quently charge a political chameleon. “Without being catty,” Wayne Thor burn, executive director of the Texas Republican Party said recently, “I don’t think Mark White knows what he wants to do.” That may be, but it may also be that the real Mark White has yet to emerge. Perhaps he’s been running for governor so hard and so long ten years, some would say he has yet to articulate a cohesive political philosophy. That’s less than admirable, of course, but in a state that watched the rise of Lyndon Johnson over four decades, it’s certainly familiar and the results are not always regret table. Now that White has achieved his goal, perhaps he’s ready to settle in and govern carefully and decisively. Mark White is a man of conservative instincts with strong ties to the conserva tive business/political establishment in this state, and yet his conservative nature seems tempered by genuine populist tendencies. Whether those two inclinations result in a muddled political schizophrenia or whether the big-money boys find the pressure point to keep him under their thumbs is an open question. Harry Hubbard, for one, professes optimism. “He’s a politician,” the Texas AFL-CIO president pointed out. “He can read the returns. You’re not going to see any continuation of what Clements did by appointing retired oil executives to run nearly every major agency in the state.” Former LULAC national president Ruben Bonilla, who had to wrestle mightily with his conscience before endorsing Mark White, is more cautious but also optimistic. “White can cultivate the best of both worlds,” he said, “the old-brand conservatives and the newbrand coalition. He has an opportunity to be the best governor of modern times, and there are enough of us to remind him on a daily basis.” COPS Promise There are hopeful signs. Though he hasn’t had time to put together a legislative package, White said recently he intends to back changes in the PUC Regulation Act and in education equalization funding, and he said he will be pushing for teacher pay raises. He also kept a pre-election promise to San Antonio’s Communities Organized for Public Serand giving a brief speech during the group’s annual meeting the weekend after the election. It was the first time the state’s top elected official has ever attended a COPS meeting. White explained that when he met with COPS leaders during a campaign visit to San Antonio Oct. 20, he promised them he would be back for the annual COPS meeting if he won on Nov. 2. “We asked him if he would be endorsing and following the seven-point education program we had developed,” newly elected COPS President Sonia Hernandez told the Observer. “He said he would do what he could to see that the funding was in place, and he said that he would meet with us again within 45 days, and that we would meet on a regular basis.” COPS’ education goals include increases in per pupil allocations for bilingual education, state compensation for schools hit by federal cuts, and an increase in equalization aid. “We’re gonna hold you accountable for that,” Hernandez said she told the governor-elect. Mark White must be hearing that a lot these days. White’s Appointments Watching Mark White’s appointments will be instructive. The next one, for example, to come up on the Public Utility Commission the body that’s due a housewife, White vows is the seat held by George Cowden, formerly an assistant attorney general under Crawford Martin and a friend of White’s who was appointed by White’s political mentor Dolph Briscoe. Cowden has never been mistaken for a consumer champion. Would White replace him? “I’m sure he would be anxious to have a more challenging position,” the governor-elect said. White may not have to wait until next fall to appoint his housewife. Clements’ most recent appointee to the PUC, retired army general Tommie Gene Smith, was named since the Texas Senate last met and has yet to be confirmed. No doubt consumer groups will pressure White to pressure the Senate to “bust” the appointment. “I haven’t made a decision on that yet,” White said. “This is a unique situation that hasn’t happened since Gov. Davis [the Republican governor during Reconstruction] was in office. We’ll just have to wait and see.” Besides Smith, the Senate could refuse to confirm more than 500 Clements appointees who either haven’t been named or haven’t been confirmed. The list \(see the Texas Supreme Court, three members of the University of Texas Board of Regents, three members of the Texas A&M University Board of Regents, a member of the Texas Employment Commission, members of river authorities, and several judges. Eleven senators are needed to turn down a gubernatorial appointment. Usually a single senator, under a process called senatorial courtesy, can veto the appointment of anyone from his district. On rare occasions appointees are turned down by the Senate even after the appointee’s home senator has aproved him. But with a Republican governor and a Democratic Senate, this, as Mark White noted, is a unique situation. John Traeger, the Democratic state senator from Sequin, told Dave McNeely of the Austin American Statesman that this might be the year to do away with lame-duck appointments. Traeger told McNeely that even if a Democratic senator might be disposed to approve a Clements appointee, White could exert pressure by refusing to appoint anyone else from that senator’s district for four years. State Sen. Ray Farabee of Wichita THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3