POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE V THE BEST Minority Report filed from the Republican convention in Houston came from Dave McNeely of the Austin American-Statesman who did a count of black delegates and came up with 38. That is 38 delegates out of 6,000, a figure that might lead cynics to observe that the very visible convention secretary, Mamie Procter, who remained on the speakers’ platform for the duration of the three-day affair, was something of a token. For those who keep box scores by number, the 38 delegates represented something just over one-half of one percent. V THE HISPANIC Caucus is not exactly a powerhouse at the Republican convention. But they do manage to fill one small conference room and were waiting when Vice President George Bush showed up on his birthday to deliver a short speech to the caucus. Bush, as a Houston Congressman in the ’60s, was one of a few Republicans to include the city’s Mexican Americans in party affairs. But the caucus’s attempt to sing the traditional Las Manafiitas, in honor of the Vice Presidential birthday, was something less than a success. Most seemed to know the first three words Estas son las manafiitas, but from there it was a cacophonous unraveling until some quick-thinking English Firster took the lead with the more familiar “Happy Birthday” song. V BUSH HAD high marks for Hispanics in Texas and particularly for the League of United Latin American Citizens “has done a wonderful job of turning that organization around. And we’ve got a Republican president of the G.I. Forum.” Bush was touting his Mexican daughter-inlaw and his three Hispanic grandchildren. One of Bush’s sons is married to a Mexican national, who, according to the Vice President “just got her citizenship this year.” // THE VICE PRESIDENT did something of a Texas sidestep when directly asked by Dave McNeely of the Austin American-Statesman if he would support the death penalty for Panamanian Caudillo Manuel Noriega. According to Bush, that would depend on the statute, which, he insisted, was being debated that very day in the Senate. Perhaps one of the regulars on the press bus asked McNeely’s question on the following day. V GEORGE, JR. denied unattributed rumors that he is positioning himself to run for Governor in 1990. Despite mention in several papers, Bush said that he wasn’t even considering it. “It’s flattering,” he told the Observer,”but I’m just working to get dad elected.” Bush, Jr. put in two days of surrogate campaigning at the Republican convention after his father left, as scheduled, on the first day. V ANOTHER Republican said to be considering the governor’s race in 1990 is Mike Richards, a former state senator from Houston. Richards, who now publishes a newsletter called Mike Richards’ Report, is something of a gadfly of the Christian Right. He presided over a huge prayer breakfast at the recent Republican Party state convention in Houston. When he wasn’t presiding over religious gatherings, Richards was holding court behind the main stage at the session, where politicians and members of the press often gathered. Vi BEDFELLOWS of the month: Senator Phil Gramm and the Teamsters. Just what interest the Teamsters and Gramm have in each other is not entirely clear, but on June 1st the Republican Senator addressed a luncheon meeting of Teamster unionists at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. A Teamster source who requested anonymity told the Observer that “praise was heaped on Gramm” and that union leaders expressed the view that Ag Commissioner Jim Hightower “didn’t stand a chance” in his expected race against Gramm, presumably because of Hightower’s endorsement of Jesse Jackson. The Teamsters’ Texas leader, Charles Haddock, who is said to have invited Gramm, did not return several Observer phone calls. San Antonio Teamster leader Raleigh Mull downplayed the Gramm meeting as “strictly having a guy in for lunch.” Gramm made a speech after the luncheon, Mull said, that contained Gramm’s general philosophy and “no discussion of party politics.” Mull said there was no comment about Hightower made at the meeting “to the best of my recollection.” AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Joe Gunn, who said he was at the luncheon for 20 minutes, said, “I’ve not heard them say anything that would negate Hightower. I think you know where I’m at; I’ve been with Hightower ever since Hightower was in politics.” As for Gramm, Gunn said, “I didn’t convert him to Democrat and he didn’t convert me to Republican.” The Teamsters were the only major labor union to endorse Ronald Reagan in past elections. They have yet to announce an endorsement in the upcoming Bush-Dukakis race, but are thought to be less likely to go Republican now that they have rejoined the AFL-CIO. Mull said he voiced concerns to Gramm about Mexican trucking companies being allowed to ship freight in the United States while U.S. truckers can’t operate in Mexico. Gramm agreed there was a problem and said he’d work on it from Washington, Mull said. Looking ahead to a Gramm-Hightower race, Mull said, “It would be my opinion that there would be some of the [union] locals that might choose to support Senator Phil Gramm,” but added that it was too early to tell. He speculated that there would “probably not be an endorsement [statewide] in that race if there is strong feeling for Gratrun.” Mull, who described himself as a lifelong Democrat, discounted talk that Hightower’s Jackson endorsement hurt him with Teamsters. He recalled that Jackson recently got a “very, very, warm response” from a Teamsters national convention. V FAVORABLE press coverage continued to come Hightower’s way in June because of his role in the Jackson campaign. Dallas Times Herald reporter Richard Dunham, who followed the Ag Commish in California, quoted grape grower Walt Shubin of Kerman, Calif., saying “He’s absolutely fantastic. People who’ve heard him think he’s the greatest thing since the wheel.” Dunham reported that Hightower is a hit with Jackson’s national supporters and that many want to come work for Hightower in his race against Gramm. V HOPING TO capitalize on disaffection among Jackson’s supporters in the likely event of a Dukakis nomination is the New Alliance Party, a controversial third party that bills itself as independent and “blackled.” The Party’s candidate, New Yorker Lenora B. Fulani, will appear on the Texas ballot in November, thanks to a petition drive that brought in nearly 77,000 signatures, according to the party. New Alliance activists have portrayed their efforts as complimentary to the Jackson campaign in that the party will give voters unhappy with Dukakis and Bush another choice. But Jackson’s forces have kept their distance from the third party. Armando Gutierrez, Jackson’s Texas campaign manager, referred to the party in April as a “nuisance organization” \(TO, A New Alliance Party press release reveals plans for a contingent of 10,000 party supporters to rally outside the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta in July. According to the release, Fulani has “urged that supporters of Rev. Jackson must be prepared ‘to cost the Democratic Party 16 JULY 1, 1988
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