Special-Interest Candidate AS THE RACE for the governorship begins, we find the three Republicans in revealing postures. U.S. Rep. Tom Loeffler is busily exploring the outer limits of dopeyness in his television promotionals; former Democrat Kent Hance is refining the theory and practice of political opportunism, making efforts to erase previous political stands and substitute views on currently popular topics, such as the effect of Gov. Mark White’s educational reforms on Texas football; and former Governor William P. Clements, the millionaire oilman, is talking about the business climate. Clements was in Austin recently, and he gave a downbeat little lecture to the University of Texas College Republicans on how Gov. Mark White has dragged the Texas economy into the mud. It’s a talk Clements has already given in numerous stops across the state, and will probably repeat many more times, as long as he can find people in Chambers of Commerce, Elks Clubs and Moose Lodges willing to listen. It goes like this When I was governor, says Bill Clements, there was a surplus in the state treasury, a billion-dollar tax cut, and business knew it was welcome here. But under Mark White . . . a 41 percent larger state budget! . . . a $4.6 billion increase in taxes! . . . a faltering economy! . Thus, says the ex-Gov., we must compare his four years in office to White’s. Clements’s pitch has, of course, some logical problems that may or may not have been apparent to the College Republicans. Didn’t the depression in the oil industry have something to do with the drop in revenues to the state treasury? \(Or will Clements soon be revealing Mark An even stickier question, one would think, is: where does Clements stand on the policies of the Reagan administration that have had so much to do with the downturn in the Texas economy? It would be edifying to hear his explanation of the hard times in the textile, manufacturing, and oil industries if he thinks those problems have more to do with Mark White than with Reagan’s program for high interest rates, deficit spending, and a sickly balance of trade. But Bill Clements envisions running as the businessman’s candidate, and he’s already pulled out the standard Republican red flags: Mark White, he says, is scheming up ways to help Big Labor and to institute a corporate income tax. “I doubt that many of you students are aware of this,” he confided on the UT campus, but Mark White personally lobbied for a union dues check-off bill in the last session of the legislature, right there on the floor of the Texas House! This, he said, was White’s first step to “put at risk our Texas Right-toWork laws.” Business also knows, Clements said, that just because White says he is opposed to an income tax doesn’t mean he will not turn around and get it passed. In contrast, “business understands my viewpoint and I understand theirs,” Clements said. When you talk about what is most “cost effective” for state government, you have gone beyond White’s grasp, he said, because “he doesn’t even understand the terminology of those words.” Clements has already distinguished himself as a politician with an undisguised contempt for those who don’t come from a business background. \(He says his two Republican opponents are “40-year-old lawyers who have done nothing but political College Republicans was the way he gave the impression of a man who hasn’t the slightest consciousness of interests other than business interests. What about the interests of working about the public interest? Bill Clements said his wife Rita extracted three promises from him before agreeing to another campaign. One, ignore the polls. Two, no ugly comments about Mark White. And, three, smile more often. Whether Clements can live up to these promises through an entire campaign is worth a good deal of speculation; he was smiling frequently in his campaign stop in Austin, at least. But he is already on shaky ground in trying to cast the upcoming election as one that makes a great difference for the state’s business elites they don’t do too badly with the governor they’ve got. The people who’ve got the most to lose if the Republicans take over the governorship are the rest of us. At this stage in the race, we get a laugh out of Kent Hance’s stances and Tom Loeffler’s spots, but if Bill Clements smiles all the way to the governor’s mansion, there’ll be nothing funny in that. D.D. DIALOGUE Gramm in Concert The notice of appointment to head the regulatory affairs office of the Office of Management and Budget is much more than a family wealth increase of $72,000/yr for Wendy Gramm and husband Phil Gramm. As reviewed by Walter Karp in the Nov. issue of Harper’s, this office has been steadily consolidating its legislative powers for the White House. Under Executive Order 12291, Wendy Gramm can continue the practice of nullifying agency rules and regulations that had been established with authority delegated by Congress. She can also work in concert with all executive departments to propose changes, some without notice, in direct contrast to legislative intent. Examples of just a couple include regulations of EPA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Coupled with another White given to itself to suppress any activity that may lead to the commencement of rule-making proceedings. As a Texan, I can lament the continued autocratic proclivities of another, plus the innocuous spread of the denial of congressional will. As an American, however, I ask literate citizens, conservatives and liber als alike, to review the entire chronicle of exalting the power of the presidency. Walter Karp’s feature also relates both the diminishment and undermining the power of the law, the courts, and the people. As a WWII veteran, I’m not asking; I’m saying this type of modus operandi by Adolph Hitler developed into a free trip to Germany with some stops on the way for me. Rex F. May Dallas Author Query I am putting together a book of personal stories by people who are 4 DECEMBER 6, 1985
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