Page 7


EDITORIAL On the “Liberal Primary” /N POLITICS ideas matter. Other things matter too: money, organization, personalities. Being able to come across well on television in 30-second “sound bites” matters a lot in modern politics. It still helps to be able to work a crowd. Sometimes it helps to be good looking, or unusually manipulative, or to have a name like Kennedy or Yarborough, or a name like “Fairchild” instead of “Pucinski.” But the currency of politics is ideas, whether real or counterfeit. The money, the organization, and the personalities need a reason for being; even the shallowest of image advertising often expresses currently popular ideas about our political predicaments. This is a tenet that has not been lost on the Republican Party. From the inglorious days of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Presidential candidacy, Republicans have stuck with a few central themes and seen them through until the day when a skilled proponent, a master of the TelePrompter, could carry them into the White House and set them into policy. Republican Senator Phil Gramm, when asked by the New York Times recently to explain how he. a first-term Senator, could become a driving force for such a major piece of legislation as the Gramm-Rudman balanced budget law, put it this way: “Ideas have consequences.” Republicans truly believe that they have answered the call of history with the right ideas at the right time. This is why it matters that so many Democrats seem to have so many different notions of what exactly the Democratic party should stand for. The Republican party has not won the reins of government by doubting the power of its own ideas. How can a Democratic party that projects anything other than vigorous conviction and a significant, clear-cut contrast to the Republican agenda expect to enjoy success in its own right’? It will be a while yet before the Democrats achieve such a unity of ideas, especially in Texas. The Democratic primary of 1984 showed just how divided the state’s Democrats are, in terms of their political thinking. In the race for the U.S. Senate seat, precisely half the primary voters \(give or take had clear sympathies with consumer activists, unionists, and minorities, and a belief in the reformist role of government. The . other half preferred Kent Hance, a Congressional supporter of Ronald Reagan’s budget priorities, a not-toosubtle manipulator of racial tension, and a politician who in less than a year after his Democratic near-victory had joined the Republican party. The slim victory of Lloyd Doggett was a sign that liberals could hold their own in the toughest of battles and come out with the party’s nomination. But when the “liberal primary” was seen in the light of the drubbing Democrats got in the 1984 general election, some disaffected Democrats began to charge that more liberal nominations would serve only to guarantee more losses to the Republicans. Some Democrats even blame the Doggett wing of the Party for what Phil Gramm has wrought. \(Such as the Observer reader who recently LESBIAN/GAY DEMOCRATS OF TEXAS celebrating its sixth year of supporting progressive Democratic candidates The goal of LGDT is to end social, economic and political discrimination based on sexual orientation. LGDT works toward this goal by forming coalitions with other progressive groups to support issues such as the ERA, reproductive freedom, civil rights for gays and lesbians, and equal representation of all groups within the Democratic Party. JOIN LGDT IN SUPPORTING THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF ALL PEOPLE. JOIN LGDT IN WORK-ING FOR THE REPEAL OF SECTION 21.06 OF THE TEXAS PENAL CODE AND FOR INCREASED FUNDING FOR AIDS PROGRAMS. YES, I AM GOING TO PARTICIPATE IN THE TEXAS DEMOCRATIC PROCESS BY: Contributing $25 $15 $10 $6 Other toward LGDT’s effort or Cannot contribute now but wish to be on mailing list. El Joining LGDT at a cost of $6 for two years! Please enclose a check for $6 payable to LGDT. NAME PHONE NUMBER ADDRESS CITY STATE ZIP SENATORIAL DISTRICT COUNTY All information is confidential. Return this form to: LGDT P.O. BOX 190933 DALLAS TX 75219 For further information call: In Houston, 713/526-0351 or 521-1000; in Dallas, 214/634-1452 or 494-6006; in Denton, 817/387-8216; in Austin, 512/443-2247. Pd. for by LGDT, P.O. Box 190933, Dallas, TX 75219 10 APRIL 18, 1986