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businessman, football stadiums, football games, Dolph understands, sunsets, wildflowers, yes, Texas is a great state, close on Dolph’s sturdy, smiling, brown face. What that is, folks, aside from a pile of manure, is a truly great, a superb political slide show. I don’t know what it cost Briscoe’s p.r. man wouldn’t tell me. . . . Molly Ivins November 16, 1973 Bentsen and Gramm . . . With Bentsen’s presidential ship becalmed, and probably scuttled, the senator is looking to his lifeboat a second term in the Senate. Bentsen has only one Democratic opponent, a conservative economics professor from Texas A&M, Dr. Phil Gramm. It’s really too early to tell how well Gramm will do. In Austin, the scuttlebutt is that he won’t get too far. As one statewide elected official told the Observer, “He’s gonna do great in Longview and Tyler and maybe Lufkin, but not so well in the big cities.” Gramm preaches a Let Free Enterprise Fix It philosophy. He is well to the right of Lloyd Bentsen, whom Paul Wieck of The New Republic calls a “progressive capitalist.” Gramm says that the way to reduce inflation is to stop deficit spending. He wants to do away with all public works projects, with busing, and with detente. Gramm says that Henry Kissinger is “fawning on enemies while betraying allies.” This goes down very well at the rural Chambers of Commerce and the trade association conventions where Gramm is much in demand as a speaker. His potential constituency is probably much the same as Sen. John Tower’s, but it’s unlikely that Texans would choose to elect two rightwing college professors to the United States Senate. . . . Kaye Northcott February 13, 1976 The Jim Hightower Victory . . . There used to be a progressive network in Texas. It elected Yarborough. Yarborough was the organizing tool for that. In his campaigns Yarborough was just going door-to-door as I do, the same kind of campaigner, and holding small meetings. Yarborough, of course, was a workhorse, willing to go anywhere, anytime; anywhere there was a meeting, he’d drive all night and get there, have a meeting with eight people, and then head off to the next one. It was an organization that carried Texas for John Kennedy in 1960. They had a huge voter registration project that Larry Goodwyn was a major force in, and Chuck Caldwell, all over in East Texas registering blacks, a huge project. The Observer was in the project, was part and parcel of the whole deal, and had been created by that movement. Then we went through the 70’s of just doldrums. McGovern lost and Sissy lost, and my perception is that the liberal movement then just got all depressed and got a defeatist attitude, that anybody who runs on issues is doomed. .. . The issue is that too few people have all the money and power. And everybody agrees with that; I mean 90% of the people agree with it. And they’re mavericks, they’re disgruntled, the big boys are taking too much. It don’t matter if you’re talking about oil companies or supermarkets or utilities or what, banks. Jim, that seems so simple, almost simplistic. Why is it that other candidates haven’t latched on to that theme? I don’t understand. I tried to get ’em to do it. When I was at the Observer, I had major officeholders in the state say “I really like what you’re saying in the Observer, and I sure agree with every word of it.” And I say, “Well, boy, don’t you think we really ought to get started talking about these things in politics?” And they’d say, “Oh, Texas is too conservative; we can’t do that.” And I think it’s just that defeatist attitude about issues, don’t rock the boat, you know we’ll get a little here, we’ll work with them. They were trying not to be beat. Are they afraid of the power interests in this state? They’re not afraid of the powers, they’re just afraid of losing. They don’t believe they can win, and they’re afraid of losing, and so they’re not willing to step forward on the issues. That’s why I finally decided to run besides just raw ego for the railroad commission. Jim Hightower interviewed by Joe Holley May 21, 1982 Travels with McGovern “Be assured, friend Sancho, that the life of knights-errant is subject to a thousand perils and misadventures. At the same time, it is within the power of those same knights to become at almost any moment kings and emperors, as experience has shown in the case of many different ones whose histories I know well. ” Don Quixote IN WHICH is related how two editors of the Texas Observer sallied forth with George McGov ern, leaving Austin to journey to College Station, and the adventures that befell them, and the stories that were told, and the issues that were discussed, and the lessons that were learned. And so we set off, skeptical Sanchos to his Quixote, to make our way through Lexington and Caldwell and on to College Station. But first there had been the indignity of the Red Skelton Suite at the Villa Capri to contend with. Between the Capitol Suite and the Darrell Royal Suite in a room beset with paintings of clowns, the presidential candidate, apparently accustomed to such affronts, packed his bags, saying, “I guess Red Skelton used to stay here quite a bit.” Then he rallied to affirm that on his tour of the University of Texas campus that morning students too young to remember his 1972 campaign approached him voicing their support for his quest for the presidency in 1984. And at the registration desk of the motel, the desk clerk had told the Senator that he had been too young to vote in 1972 but, given the chance in 1984, he would assuredly vote for McGovern. A lesson he has learned on his travels: the many rewards offset the few humiliations. . . . Riding through the east central Texas countryside beside a decent man talking common sense, you can sense the thousands of minor indignities he must have suffered for having tried to buck the political machines. How had this man been painted such a fire-breathing revolutionary bent on the subversion of the democratic process? He opens doors for you. If he wore a hat, he’d tip it. An old school attention to the moral life. He is nothing more dangerous than a Methodist minister riding a nationwide circuit. But there are those who would make him a symbol of defeat, try to dissociate him from the Democratic Party, use him as the scapegoat for their own impoverishment. “Think of the relief that would be felt around the world if McGovern were elected President,” my wife had said the night before. “Why is it that a decent man cannot be elected?” my father asked one week later. IN WHICH the candidate recounts a great moral victory over an old nemesis. “I got a kick out of John Connally, who spent $10 million to get one delegate in 1980,” McGovern said, following some consideration of the money spent by former Texas Gov. Bill Clements in his losing re-election bid 46 DECEMBER 14, 1984