Page 17


wx9BsERvER The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1986 Vol. 78, No. 3 V,’ February 7, 1986 Copyright 1986 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. PUBLISHER Ronnie Dugger EDITOR Geoffrey Rips ASSOCIATE EDITOR Dave Denison CALENDAR EDITOR Chula Sims LAYOUT: Dana Loy EDITORIAL ASSISTANT: Kathleen Fitzgerald WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Vera Titunik EDITORIAL INTERNS: Ron Cesar, Beau Barton, Ellen Williams. EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, Kerrville; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Dallas; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Fred Schmidt, Tehachapi, Cal., Robert Sherrill, Tallahassee, Fla. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Warren Burnett, Jo Clifton, Craig Clifford, Louis Dubose, John Henry Faulk, Ed Garcia, Bill Helmer, James Harrington, Jack Hopper, Amy Johnson, Dana Loy, Rick Piltz, Susan Raleigh, John Schwartz, Michael Ventura, Lawrence Walsh. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Alan Pogue, RusSell Lee, Scott Van Osdol, Alicia Daniel. CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Mark Antonuccio, Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Carlos Lowry, Miles Mathis, Joe McDermott, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau. A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them We do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal of free voices. Managing Publisher Cliff Olofson Subscription Manager Stefan Wanstrom Publishing Consultant Frances Barton Development Consultant Hanno T. Beck Editorial and Business Office The Texas Observer paid at Austin. Texas. Subscription rates, including 5 1/8% sales tax: one year $23, two years $42, three years $59. One year rate for full-time students. $15. Back issues $2 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zecb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. Copyright 1986 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 28th Street, #105, Austin, Texas 78705. 2 FEBRUARY 7, 1986 EDITORIAL Gramm Against the Wall? AS DIFFICULT as it is to sort through all the braggadocio, it does appear that perhaps for the first time in his career Sen. Phil Gramm is running scared. Hardly a day goes by without some Texas paper’S cataloguing the losses that will be imposed on its community and the state by the Gramm-Rudman budget balancing act. You can talk to lieutenant colonels, you can talk to social workers, you can talk to Reagan Republicans and Gary Hart Democrats, and they’ll all tell you that Gramm-Rudman is going to cause some hardship in this country. And they’ll also let on that the hardship may be an unwarranted and costly price to pay for what many are coming to suspect was little more than a grandstand play by its sponsors. \(That’s what a lieutenant colonel on a flight from Atlanta told me after describing himself It appears that Phil Gramm’s veneer is beginning to crack under the strain. Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on January 19 with Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-New York, Gramm called Moynihan one of the “weakest” supporters of national defense. Now that didn’t sit well with Moynihan who, before he became a senator, stood up to the Commies in the United Nations on Richard Nixon’s behalf and then, as senator, fell in behind most major military spending efforts that have come down the military-industrial pike. In the best patrician style, adopted by this Irish son of New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, Moynihan chided Gramm: “You’re one year in the Senate, fella. You don’t do that to another senator.” You see there’s an issue of senatorial courtesy here, wherein the solons praise one another’s personal integrity to the skies while jockeying for position on particular issues and legislation. But courtesy is not something that comes naturally to Sen. Gramm, despite his cloying manner of speech \(and there should be a disclaimer shown before all national broadcasts on which Gramm appears telling the audience that Phil “We’re the only nation in the world where all our poor people are fat” Gramm, after all, who has made jokes about welfare recipients when he thought it would serve his purposes. Gramm made it through his first senate year not saying much of anything until he unloaded his budget-balancing bomb, saying his mama taught him to do such things. BUT SUDDENLY the tide has turned. Some legislators who considered Gramm-Rudman a kind of Congressional extortion play, wherein they were forced to vote for their own disenfranchisement in order to prove they wanted to reduce the national deficit, are laughing in the back rooms at the possibility that Gramm may have been hoisted by his own petard. Should the bill be thrown out by the courts for its unconstitutional abrogation of congressional power, Gramm will bluster and sputter and be proven the fool. Should the courts not overturn the act, Gramm could be marked for lower circles of Hell. The enactment of GrammRudman could mean real cuts in services constituents around this state would feel. And we’re not just talking about the lower-income constituents Gramm cavalierly writes off. If he’s lucky, Gramm is liable to have defense proponents, farmers,