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Bill EISSNER Dukakis and ON THE DAY Gov. Michael Dukakis announced that he had chosen Senator Lloyd Bentsen as his running mate we began to get calls from journalists all over the country asking, essentially, “Who is Lloyd Bentsen?” The question on our minds was, “Who is Mike Dukakis?” A year ago, there were those who would tell us that Dukakis was the next best thing to Mario Cuomo. He was a reform-minded governor, a man with a social conscience, a politician with progressive roots. Granted, Dukakis was not Cuomo’s equal as a passionate orator, but he was a man of the people. An immigrant’s son. And if you were to take New York’s Governor Cuomo at his word and you believed that he would not run for President, well then, Dukakis was worth a look. So we got a look at Dukakis as he began to distinguish himself in the early primaries at the beginning of the year. Turned out that he was much less inspiring, much more colorless, than you would expect if you were expecting the next best thing to Cuomo. Still, he seemed to know what he was doing. He was a man who could think on his feet and if you imagined him in a one-on-one debate with George Bush you could imagine that he would be a strong match. Dukakis presented himself to Texas and to the nation as a guy who knows how to manage economics to put it in his already too familiar argot: a guy who knows how to create good jobs at good wages. By the time our Supposedly-Super Tuesday rolled around in March we had seen enough of this Guy Dukakis to be impressed by his unimpressiveness. There was no reason to vote for him in the primary he was overshadowed in style, class, and Rev. Jesse Jackson. Dukakis was just another politician with an opinion. Jackson Democratic Party. Jackson was trying to direct the nation’s attention to root causes of economic problems and he was trying to offer hope to those who had given up A Note to Our Readers The issue you hold in your hands was written and produced in the week before the Democratic National Convention. Gur coverage of the convention will be presented in our next issue, which will be printed three weeks after this one, as we are taking our annual week off in the summer. Bentsen hope that the Democratic Party belonged to them. Those who had come to feel that the Party was dominated by insiders and corporate financiers and party hacks were urged to come along with Rev. Jackson and to make their presence known. This seemed to us to be a movement worth encouraging. At the same time, it wasn’t hard to foresee Jackson’s campaign falling short. The Democratic Party, after all, is not a piece of ripe fruit ready to be plucked by any old hungry hobo to come along. There are claims on the Party already claims of Bentsen and Dukakis on recent visit ownership by the people who are accus tomed to making the decisions and people who foot the bills and have for decades. In Texas many of these people were drawn to Tennessee Senator Al Gore. In the East, Gov. Dukakis was the choice. As it turned out, Dukakis was surrounded by superior strategists, image-makers, and fundraisers and he put together a string of primary victories. So as this was unfolding we watched Dukakis, wondering what kind of Democratic nominee he would make, what kind of President he would make. Amidst his packaging as the Massachusetts high-tech wizard, the Miracle Guy, the Cool-headed Duke, would there be signs of liberalism? Would there be signs that he saw value in the kind of movement Jesse Jackson insisted was afoot? If there were indeed stirrings of populist discontent across the land, if there were widespread disenchantment with the economic order, would he recognize it? Would his heart be in the right place? The answer seemed to be yes and no; but more often no than yes. Most of his speeches were aimed at the professional class the voters who wanted sane and competent leadership and an end to the myriad absurdities of the Reagan age. No need for the kind of administration that puts the likes of Ed Meese in charge of the Justice Department. No need for a stupendous federal budget deficit. No need for a bloody foreign policy. No 011ie Norths, no Poindexters, no Deavers, no Borks. No drug-runners. No star-gazers. On one occasion we listened to Dukakis address a grassroots organization in Houston. His audience was a generous mix of in Austin ethnicities, mostly working-class and church-going people. Dukakis did not stir the crowd the way Jackson would have, but he spoke to their concerns. Here was Dukakis casting himself as the liberal that George Bush would later warn us about. The candidate spoke for state-assisted housing programs, for a national health care plan, for government funds and resources to be used to spur economic development, especially in places such as the Rio Grande Valley. Despite an assertion that he didn’t foresee a “top-down from Washington” approach, it was clear that he was more comfortable thinking of himself as a manager of a gover rent that would help the people, which is G ..tinct from the leader of a government that is of the people. Which is only to say that he was running as a liberal and not as a populist. He was a politician 4 JULY 29. 1988