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POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE Silber in the Ring V One of the leading candidates to be Secretary of Education for the second Reagan term is John Silber, the former dean of arts and sciences at UT-Austin, now president of Boston University, whose hawkish role on the Kissinger Commission on Central America pleased the White House. Silber, a Democrat, appeared on ABC’s “Nightline” after the election and excoriated the Sandinista government of Nicaragua as communist. A source closer to Silber told the Boston Globe after the election that Silber is also under consideration for a federal post in foreign affairs. Another report in the Globe said that last summer Silber told his trustees at B.U. that he might get the education post. With a White House OK, Silber and another leading candidate for the education post, William J. Bennett, his former subordinate at B.U. and a former UT professor who is now chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, made presentations concerning the education appointment at the offices of the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, an umbrella organization of about a dozen conservative lobbying groups. The White House had given the committee the names of top contenders for the job. “I’m just amazed at that,” said the departing Secretary of Education, T. H. Bell, who has resigned. “Unprecedented,” he said. He added that he did not believe any interest groups should be holding job interviews for potential Cabinet appointees. On Nov. 15, Silber met with White House counselor Edwin Meese, presumably, to discuss a position in the administration. A senior White House official said Nov. 20 that Reagan may seek again to abolish the Department of Education. Congress emphatically foiled him on this before. 1/ Retiring U.S. Senator John Tower, who will be a visiting professor at Southern Methodist University and may get into some business ventures, told the New York Times: “The one thing I’m not going to be is a lobbyist. I could probably set up shop here [in Washington] and put together some others with a lot of Hill experience and form a firm that could probably command a pretty good dollar. But I wouldn’t do it and I wouldn’t associate with one.” Tower told the Times he had been mentioned as a possible Secretary of Defense or of State, but that he expected the incumbents in these posts to stay on. Something in the administration might come up in a year or two, Tower added. V Readers with a historical bent will probably want to reflect on a statement made during the recent campaign by the man who nominated Lyndon Johnson for President in 1956 and 1960, the Democratic governor of Texas during Johnson’s presidency John Connally. Campaigning for Phil Gramm in El Paso, Connally told about 300 people that lightning wouldn’t strike them if they switched from Democrat to Republican. “I thought if I ever really changed,” Connally said, “the earth would tremble, and the sun would eclipse, and the thunder would roll and the lightning would flash. “And the first time I walked in that Republican voting booth and pulled that lever, I came out, and the sun was shining, and I felt a sense of great relief, as if I’d been. purged of all my sins.” Which Side Are You On? V In the November 1984 issue of Farm Chemical magazine, editor Gordon Berg runs right at Texas Ag Commissioner Jim Hightower’s proposed pesticide regulations \(TO, an unnamed Texan, who says Hightower is a “new Santa Anna.” “Lest you think this fellow is related to the respected Jack Hightower \(Dthat . this Hightower is not a part of that great Texas family, but even worse is considered an ‘out-of-state renegade.’ [He is apparently either not aware of Denison’s location or “considers” Hightower to be an “out-of-state” kind of guy.] . . . Somehow, he rode to in the last election and became commissioner of agriculture in one of our key farm states. Mesmerized by his political savvy and unusual charm, no one seemed to worry about his intentions. Berg continues: “Ag forces were combining to do battle determined that December 1, 1984 would not prove to be a date that would live in infamy. They’re too proud of their history for that. “Remembering The Alamo, Texas ag forces were ready to charge on to Austin to keep some semblence of order in pesticide use. . . ” As we said on November 9 lines drawn in the dirt. v Will Lloyd Doggett stay in politics, and if so, in what way? He gave up his Texas Senate seat to make his run for the U.S. Senate. The only clue . we have on this question so far is a remark he made on election night in conceding defeat: “I’ve suffered knockdowns before. I’m not out, and I’ll be up again.” Preserved V In case you missed it: The House and Senate passed legislation before the October recess setting aside 34,000 acres of federal land in East Texas national forests for wilderness preservation. The Sierra Club honored Sen. Ralph Yarborough for his early work in preserving the Big Thicket and honored Rep. John Bryant of Dallas for his current work. V The American Civil Liberties Union has evaluated members of the 98th Congress on the basis of test votes on the issues the organization regards as important church-state separation, civil rights, criminal law, human rights, immigration, covert operations, reproductive freedom, women’s rights. On ACLU’s 20 test votes in the Senate, it rates Bentsen of Texas 60% good and Tower of Texas 38% good. On the 20 House-side test votes, the ACLU gives Texas representatives these scores: Andrews 80% good, Archer 10% , Bartlett 15, Brooks 80, Bryant 90, Coleman 80, De la Garza 58, Fields 10, Frost 90, Gonzalez 100, Gramm 33, R. Hall 25, S. Hall 15, Hance 48, Hightower 28, Kazen 40, Leath 20, Leland 93, Loeffler 10, Ortiz 60, Patman 25, Paul 30, Pickle 70, Stenholm 20, Vandergriff 55, Wilson 53, and Wright 68. V Citizens United for Rehabilitation of units of the Texas prison system be named after two “heroes in the prison reform movement.” CURE is asking that the mentally retarded unit be named after Harry M. Whittington, Secretary of the Prison Board, whose term expires in February 1985. Charles Sullivan of CURE called Whittington “the moving force toward providing a separate unit for the mentally retarded offender.” THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13