i ng with his imaginary six-shooter; it’s about time somebody called his bluff. Voters in danger of fall ing for Claytie’s two-step would do well to have a look at a piece Gary Cartwright wrote for Texas Monthly in February of 1985, entitled “The Last Round-Up” \(also collected in a volume called Bidness, prime example of a kind of fast-money oilwho dresses his stock in strands of pearls for million-dollar pyramid-sale auctions, and who honors the traditional conservative values of the Old West by soaking down miles of country roads with precious water, so that his rich cronies and customers won’t dirty their stretch limos. Claytie’s ranching neighbors look askance at his nouveau ways, and he cheerfully returns their contempt: “They’re playing make-believe. Me, I’m very intense in my business. I like to make money.” Or, as he told a crowd of adoring business students who asked him about his personal goals: “My goal was more.” Indeed, “more” is Clayton’s bottom line, to use a phrase favored by his kind of people, the big-dollar boys who like to think they not only run but own this state. Williams is Donald Trump with a West Texas drawl, who wants to add the governor’s mansion to his list of fungible assets, to be managed for his convenience and that of his high-rolling friends, the way you or I might hope to pick up a second-hand station wagon useful for hauling groceries. He learned “cowboy” for the same reason he learned, by his own admission, to speak Spanish on his ranch: to communicate with the hired help real cowboys used to the smell of bullshit, and who can’t afford to either relax in, or enjoy, bad weather. The Texas myth, like its American counterpart, is meant to stand for something noble in the ideal rugged independence, freedom from tyranny, opportunity for everyone regardless of background, defense of the down trodden against the land-grabbers, the bankers, and the comfortable thieves. Here comes yet another snake-oil salesman in cowboy get-up, hoping to convince ordinary Texans that he’s a regular cowpoke just off the trail, here to ride into town and clean up corruption and waste in high office, defending women and children in the bargain. Such was the popular refrain when Ronald Reagan rode into town a few years ago, with painfully predictable results: the banks have been looted, the streets are filled with the impoverished, and Reagan’s buddies and handlers are happily counting their fresh millions. The rest of us, ordinary women, children, and men, have been told to stay in our places, relax, and enjoy it. Claytie wants to convince us that more of the same business as usual is just the thing for the great state of Texas. There are enough Texans out there if only the Democrats will go out and find them who realize that it maybe Claytie’s way, but it sure as hell isn’t the cowboy way. 11111111111111111111111101, POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE IF YOU CAN’T get through to the FBI, call a Republican campaign consultant. He can. That’s what an article by Dallas Times Herald columnist Molly Ivins suggests. Ivins wrote about the prolific rumors of investigation of the Texas Department of Agriculture and the rumor that Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower himself would be indicted. According to Ivins, one former TDA official told the Houston Post that he took complaints about Hightower to the Rick Perry campaign and three days later was contacted by the FBI. Perry, a former Democrat, is the Republican candidate for ag commissioner. Karl Rove, a Republican political consultant who in late June told Washington reporters that Hightower “faces the possibility of indictment in late June or July,” said it is possible that someone in the Perry campaign is leaking information to the FBI, but if so, it was someone doing it without the direction of campaign officials. Ivins also wrote that a grand jury investigation into Hightower seems to be “at a standstill since the chief accuser turned up in a California psychiatric center last month after leaving four suicide notes and threatening to drown himself in the Brazos.” Kenneth Boatwright, who resigned from the TDA last year and announced he was going to run against Hightower, was director of the agency’s seed inspection program, the program most often associated with rumors of investigations. According to Ivins, before he disappeared on June 13, Boatwright had been the source of several allegations against Hightower. Law enforcement officials in Waller County spent five days looking for Boatwright before he called from a California psychiatric hospital to let his wife know where he was. Also according to Ivins, Boatwright also called a former colleague at the TDA and apologized for all the trouble he had caused, saying he only wanted to “get Hightower.” The investigation is being directed from the office of U.S. Attorney Ronald F. Ederer of San Antonio, a Phil Gramm nominee. WARREN G. HARDING JR., the Republican nominee for comptroller, has used a peculiar bookkeeping device in reporting his campaign fund disclosures, according to Austin American-Statesman writer Dave McNeely. Harding listed more than $100,000 in contributions, but he only had brought in $12,225 in cash donations and a $2,000 loan. The rest of the money was an estimate of the value of volunteer help and borrowed furniture. According to Harding, help from his father was worth some $4,500, and Harding Jr.’s wife’s work in the office was valued at $16,000. McNeely earlier reported that Democratic candidate for comptroller John Sharp had released sworn statements from a former treasury department official and from a former state representative, both of which pertained to conflict of interest charges that involved Harding and his father, former Treasurer Warren G. Harding Sr. The younger Harding, according to McNeely’s story, previously was known as Glenn, but had been encouraged by his father to use the name Warren G. Harding Jr., “so that bankers would understand you’re my son right away.” J.T. Leech, a former longtime treasury department official, said that “the elder Harding helped his son Glenn, as he was then known, get set up to sell bonds to secure state deposits.” “It was an almost daily occurrence that bankers would call Treasurer Harding and ask for state deposits of money in their banks,” Leech said. “… Mr. Harding would approve of those deposits to be placed in that particular bank pending the placement of securities as collateral.” James Marsh, whom Harding had brought with him when he was appointed treasurer, “would immediately call Glenn Harding and notify him of the transaction,” Leech said. “Glenn Harding would then call and suggest to the banker that they secure the deposit with bonds that he would sell them from Rausher Pierce.” GENE KELLY, the retired Air Force judge who is a Democratic Party candidate for the Texas Supreme Court, submitted what San Antonio Express reporter Richard Smith described as one of the “briefest candidate expense reports” filed with the Secretary of State. Kelly reported that he raised $2,000 between March 4 and June 30. His opponent, Bexar County District Court Judge John Cornyn, raised $310,675 in the same period. Kelly’s report included a $1,000 contribution from a Fort Worth supporter and a $1,000 loan that Kelly made to himself. In the primary, Kelly did not campaign yet defeated a San Antonio appeals court judge, Fred Biery, who spent a year and $325,000 campaigning. Biery, who received the support of virtually every group that makes endorsements in judicial races, said his losing effort had more to do with Kelly’s name the same name as the veteran Hollywood dancer/actor than the candidates’ qualifications. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13
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