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PRESEN Artr REPUBUCAN WWI CRS SAN DSO, `U.M A Party Favors the Texas Delegation Louis Dubose FEATURES preachers and Profits in San Diego BY LOUIS DUBOSE “Think of it,” said Pasadena State Senator Buster Brown, “as the fourth quarter of an A&M game, when the team’s losing and tired and the fans are down. Then the coach looks down the bench and calls for Bucky Richardson, the second-string quarterback. Before he even on the field, the crowd starts to cheer and the team hears them and starts to play better..” hat protracted sports metaphor was Brown’s take on the nominating convention in an age when its function has been displaced by the primary system. \(Not since 1948 has the Republican Party had to resort to even a second ballot to select its -saw it from the floor of the convention hall, the central function of the event was to boost party morale and get the viewers back homedown 25 percent from the 1992 nominating conven tionbehind the team. Then there was the entertainment metaphor. “People pay a lot of money to go to a big Hollywood show,” said Susan Weddington, “and we pay a whole lot of money to come to this event.” Wedengton, the state party’s vice-chair, had been present for the heavy lifting the week before the convention began. The rules committee required a lot of work, said Weddington, a fundamentalist Christian who, along with Republican state party chair Tom Pauken, rode the Christian Coalition organizing wave to a leadership position four years ago in Fort Worth. \(The platform committee met during the dington said, “we’re getting our message out and celebrating. There’s not much more than that left.” Pedestrian metaphors about cheerleading and entertainment tell part of the story of a convention that was so uneventful that by Wednesday Ted Koppel had packed up and gone home. But to really penetrate the reality of this five-day affair in San Diego, what is required is a sexual-favors metaphor. Consider, for example, the party that Chase Manhattan Bank and the Public Securities Association threw for House Ways & Means Chair Bill Archer of Houstonat a club called Dick’s Last Resort. Featured on the drink list that if you can drink the whole thing without touching the glass to your lips, you can take the glass home. Not the sports metaphor, not the entertainment metaphor, not even the religious metaphor that gives us Bob Dole as Lazarus provides a better framework by which to understand this convention. aybe the few remaining secular work-a-day Republicans considered the convention a big , pep rally, while for the fundamentalist Cluistians it was a` week-long revival, with Pat Robertson, Jerry -Fal well and Ralph Reed in and out of the pulpit. But for the country club Republicans who serve as consorts for the corporations that govern the country, five days of continuous physical contact with CEOs and lesser executives must have made this convention feel like a week-long violation of the biblical sanction against sodomy. And for much of the time, they were going at it with such intensity that it was hard to tell who was on the bottom and who was on top. Much of what went on, like the fraternizing in the non-stop corporate hospitality suites one floor above the convention hall, was strictly off-limits to the press. Now and again, however, reporterswhom Republicans, despite their protestations about the coverage, really needed in the convention hallgot inside the story. When they did, they provided the rare moments of insight absent in most of the reporting on a convention at which there was THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5 AUGUST 30, 1996