Page 18


might predict for the national convention and what Jackson’s agenda might be for that as far as issues and platform concerns. Ivins: I got the impression this weekend at the Democratic convention in Houston that Jackson is already positioning himself to close the campaign very gracefully, showing an extraordinary degree of political maturity, which Senator Hugh Parmer who happened to be handy when I said that, defined as wanting to have an impact rather than to make a noise. And I when Jackson spoke to his own people, his own delegates, at the convention in Houston, he was very careful to say to them in several different ways, look, this campaign has not been about gaining personal power, gaining office, gaining seats, becoming a delegate, this campaign is about direction, it’s about policy, and we have had an impact and, in fact, I am convinced that the establishment. press, which has been underestimating Jackson all year long, is still low rating the magnitude of his achievement. When you hear George Bush taking stands on Jesse Jackson’s issues: drugs, education, and South America you know that man has had an impact. Shipley: The Jackson candidacy will, I think, turn out to be one of the most functional and useful for the Democrats in a long time to come. Jackson had a lot to say about pension funds, about Wall Street, about selfdealing in capital, that was ultimately emulated, and frankly copied, by most of the other candidates. With regard to South Africa, that’s more of a symbolic kind of a thing but also is symbolic for a number of reasons. Jackson’s exit, I think, will be marked with much more grace than some of the hostile press would suggest. There’s too much at stake here for Jesse. Simpson: But there’s never really any reason to believe that a Democratic convention is going to be dull. Blumberg: Dee, what was his [Jackson’s] impact here in Texas; [what were the differences in] how they related to the Democrats down here and the Democratic Party? Simpson: If that election was held one week later, Jesse Jackson would have walked away with it and just to show you how true that was, when they went to county conventions here in Travis County they did walk way with it. So, I mean, I think the longer he had [with] the people who vote in the Democratic primary, the more that had time to ring true. And I think that while Dukakis is running down here, he was trying to position himself in the middle and I think it was hurting him. And if that had gone on very long, Jackson would have won it. Blumberg: Are you saying that Texas is just ready to byst out and become a northeast liberal state? Ivins: No, no, no. Jackson represents something else entirely. I mean that’s a straight old-fashioned populist message. That has nothing to do with eastern liberalism. And I think that part of I think that’s one reason it had such great appeal We could put John Glenn on the ticket and paint the town beige in the South. Texas was really where Jackson broke out into the white vote. In one of the most underplayed stories of the year, Jackson actually won Texas by a hair at one point before they did a little fine tuning. Shipley: I think the significance of Jackson’s candidacy might be better understood by looking at the Michigan primary where Jackson carried 27 percent of the white vote on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which was carried by George Wallace . . . when Wallace ran both times..That what Jackson did in Texas, I think he got about 15 percent of the white vote but in Michigan he was breaking out into 25, 27 percent of the white vote; and he got 23 percent of the white vote in New York and he went on like that. And what Jackson did was he broke the myth, if you will, that a black candidate cannot get significant white votes. Ivins: Now, I should also point out that his role in the national campaign is uniquely valuable to Dukakis. I heard some fool the other day, some commentator actually said, Gosh, isn’t it terrible Jackson isn’t withdrawing, he’s hanging in there, he’s making Dukakis fight through primary after primary if Dukakis had any brains he would have paid Jackson to stay in. Shipley: He may have .. . Ivins: He may have. What Jackson has been doing for Dukakis, of course, is putting him just where Dukakis wants to be in the middle. I mean, Jackson is making Dukakis into a centrist, which is just dreamy for a Dukakis candidacy. Audience member: No one has talked about the running mate issue yet and my question is if y’all don’t know for sure who the person is going to be can you at least elaborate on whether you think he’s going to choose a conservative like Gore to balance the ticket or whether he’s going to you know, what kind of strategy a moderate or whatever word you want to use or you know, what other thoughts do you have on the region of the country he’s going to select him, the philosophy he’s going to depend on or et cetera as far as a running mate goes. Simpson: I want to say right now Molly Ivins said we could put John Glenn on the ticket and the Democrats would go out and paint the town beige. Shipley: Well, Glenn is the only one that makes Dukakis look charismatic and there’s a logic for Glenn because he’s the only one of the potential names out there who’s more boring than Dukakis. Ivins: Well, I think there’s been insufficient imagination shown by all the pundits on this question. Come on, there’s a much wider spectrum of people who might make Dukakis look good. Barbara Mikulski she’d make him look tall. She’s very peppy. She would balance the beige factor. Shipley: Too ethnic, two ethnics there .. . Ivins: Alright, how about Jimmy Carter for Vice-President? See, right away you .get the foreign policy experience. Here’s a man who made peace in the Middle East, he never gave money to Ayatollahs. He handled the killer rabbit. Great VicePresident. Now for Bush, I’ve really been thinking about this. The Republicans have no imagination; to make the Bush ticket attractive, they’ve really got to think big: Cher. Audience member: How about the Al Gore candidacy? Didn’t that answer the question that we’re debating tonight? In marketing Gore as a conservative .. . Shipley: First of all, Gore was not marketed as a conservative. With regard to foreign policy which is where he took a position, if you will, slightly to the right of the others, or the position was only a mild waffle on strategic, on SDI, and two or three other things. And the thumbing your nose, if you will, at the Iowa caucuses. In terms of the issues themselves, Gore was overtly populist in talking about corporate greed, he talked about getting the White House on the side of working men and women, he talked about child care and so forth. There was not much issue differentiation between all of the candidates in there. Gore’s problem was that he got no lilt on Super Tuesday and the post-Super Tuesday game plan was entirely different didn’t have one for that matter. Rips: He had an Ed Koch problem, too, I think . . . Shipley: Yeah, and the other thing, too, having lived through that, the Mayor of New York was less than helpful. Ivins: . . . I think Texas is winable for the THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19