goes on here in large groups is not the same as one-on-one lobbying. But is it? In the lobby of the upscale Hyatt Islandia on Mission Bay, where the Texas delegation set up residence, three executives of PacifiCare sat talking among themselves until Senator Phil Gramm and his wife Wendy Lee Gramm passed through the lobby. When the Gramms entered, Joseph Gunn, wearing a large, gold Republican Eagles badge that signifies yearly contributions larger than $100,000, introduced PacifiCare CEO John Wampler to the senator and his wife, and the group stood chatting until Gramm left the hotel for what Gunn said would be “your three or four breakfast meetings.” \(No, Gramm’s “I had a good meeting with Wendy yesterday,” Gunn told Wampler after the Gramms left, adding that the senator’s wife is “a great lady.” Then the three returned to the task of preparing for the Texas Delegation breakfast, paid for by PacifiCare. ipunn, who works in Texas, got his boss up to speed on Kay Bailey Hutchison, providing details on her career: “state treasurer, then a senator, and before all that she was a state legislator.” When Wampler rose, the other two men followed him onto the manicured lawn south of the hotel where breakfast would be served to the delegation, while it listened to speeches by Wampler, Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, Tennessee Senator Fred Thompsonwith each speaker standing under a PacifiCare banner stretched between two palm trees that also held up a red and blue cowboy made from hundreds of balloons. Pat Buchanan and Friendswood Congressman Steve Stockman also addressed the group, but they were there to rally Buchanan’s “peasants”not the country club Republicans Wampler spoke to when he said, “You’ve probably read about us in the newspapers recently.” PacifiCare had done well: facetime with three U.S. senators, one governor, and a congressmanif Stockman, a rare bird even in this aviary, really matters. Unlike the Texas delegation’s Philip Morris luncheonwhere demonstrators from the National Lung Association momentarily spoiled the view that Philip Morris President Jack Dillard, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and party chair Tom Pauken enjoyed from the head tablePacifiCare’s outdoor affair was perfect. Ak When Congress again convenes, whatever the company paid for a catered breakfast for 350 should be returned with substantial interest. Add to this Enserch’s Texas breakfast \(which had the company’ s senior vice president connecting with Governor George W. Hutchison and Gramm, and the Koch Corporation’s daily flat-tax luncheon. Multiply that by fifty delegations. Factor in the big variables, like Chevron’s open invitation to lunch and Browning Fer Louis Dubose p at Buchanan’s arrival at PacifiCare’s breakfast changed the tenor and emotional intensity of the event. Messrs. Wampler, Pauken, Keating, and Thompson had delivered restrained partisan speeches to a crowd that laughed at the punch lines, applauded when appropriate, but mostly tended to the breakfast PacifiCare provided. Buchanan’s presence was a signal for a third of the delegates to jump to their feet and begin the chant: “Go, Pat, go!” And Buchanan responded with his 1996 convention speech for small venues: an admixture of stock campaign lines “No pale pastels in our platform!” “Never under a U.N. command again!” “The only pro-life party in the United States!”and a resigned endorsement of the Dole-Kemp ticket. \(I was standing to the right of a busboy named Jose, and wondered if he was the same man Buchanan had in mind earlier in the campaign, when he would urge his soldiers to “lock and load” and tell “Jose” this is where Standing by in the street and holding up a “Faith and Freedom Rally” sign was Floyd Hernandez, a Houstonian who had moved to San Diego to work for the Christian Coalition. He had, he said, A The Christian Right got the platform and the floor ris’ Day at the Races \(the waste disposal giant, like several other what occurred here was an unregulated, influence-peddling bacchanal that would have made for far better programming than the carefully scripted event TV viewers not watching sitcoms or baseball endured for four long nights. AUGUST 30, 1996 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7
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