the religious conservatives had their own hand-picked chairperson, Susan Weddington. On Thursday afternoon, Weddington gladly brought the Lambert amendment to a vote of the executive committee. To thunderous applause, Lambert informed the banquet that the amendment had been approved unanimously. Lambert’s amendment also called on the executive committee to amend its bylaws to give itself the power to direct the campaign committee on all funding decisions \(apparently moving even further afoul sisted that the amendment was “not a major change” in the way the party operates. “Every party has to make decisions about who they fund,” she said. “This is no different.” Governor Bush and other statewide elected officials aren’t so sure about that, however. “I think we ought to have wide-open primaries and let the will of the people decide who the candidates are,” he told reporters following his address to the convention on Friday afternoon. “Any attempt to make it harder to get nominated, or , to narrow who the decision-makers are, is something that I will resist,” he said. Bush’s warnings apparently held little sway with party delegates. On Sunday, they proposed a floor amendment to the party platform, directing the executive committee to distribute to all Republican candidates an official questionnaire, designed to ascertain his or her degree of support for the platform. The amendment was approved overwhelmingly. The apparent split between Bush and Weddington highlights the frustration of the party’s most faithful with the results of this spring’s Republican primary, in which virtually every conservative-backed nominee for statewide office was defeated by a more moderate opponent. A particularly stinging setback was right-wing favorite Tom Pauken’s loss to John Cornyn for the Attorney General nomination. It’s also no secret that religious conservatives aren’t crazy about George Bush. In San Antonio Christian radio station KSLR’s straw poll for the 2000 presidential nomination \(conducted during their live gle vote from the station’s listeners, who favored instead Gary Bauer, James Dobson, or Pat Buchanan. Other ideas on controlling candidate selection were floated in the weeks preceding the convention, including replacing the Republican primary with a caucus system \(not used in Texas for at least seventythe two, with the intent of greatly enhancing the power of party activists at the expense of the general population of voting Republicans. Not surprisingly, most of the party’s statewide candidates aren’t enthusiastic about the proposals. Asked if she had any thoughts on the Lambert amendment, an unusually terse Susan Combs, candidate for Agriculture Commissioner, replied simply, “No.” Between caucus drop-ins, Land Commissioner candidate David Dewhurst expressed his opposition to abolishing the primary. “Americans want to be directly involved in electing their representatives,” he said. And Dewhurst dismisses the populist arguments of party activists like delegate Mark Sowntag of McKinney, who have argued that eliminating the primary reduces the power of big money in the races. “You can’t win an election today with money you must have grassroots support,” said Dewhurst. While it never hurts to have both \(Grassroots Dewhurst, for his it’s true that the party needs the Christian right who supply the activists, the issues, and the fervor if they’re going to fulfill their oftrepeated goal of sweeping all statewide elections, plus gain a majority in the Texas House \(where they need a swing of only eight activists had stayed home, and there are rumblings of disenchantment with Republican leadership in Washington and in Austin. “The rank A Susan Weddington American Family Assocrati story about Patricia Ireland, presi the National Organization for Women. Twenty minutes before a scheduled debate with Ireland on “The Today Show,” Bauer found himself seated alone in the green room with the nation’s top feminist, engaged in a battle of wills over the last remaining jelly donut. Ireland got the donut, Bauer said, “but I’m happy to tell you it was the last thing she won that morning.” During the show, Ireland accused Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and s, Oblican party, came fro m the bottom, the top. “They just’ don’t understand that this c iS a movement,” he said If you really Want to understand populism in this country, don’t talk to Patricia Ireland. Instead, go see Gary Bauer speak. He will talk about What is wrong with Anierica, as all populists do. Every time he says “militant secularism,” mentally insert the words “corporate greed.” Presto, you’ve got Jim HightoWer. In fact, hefty w can onl y , describe:as s am went to the CongresS asking for hearings on thoSe things [recent Missile ‘technology transfers], and the mantra of “Trade, Trade, Trade” drowned out everything elSe. I am hear to tell you tonight: I don’t care who I irritate, I don’t Care what corporation I make mad, I don’t care what kepublian I tick Off, I will fight On this issue in D.C. until we get a foreign poliPy worthy’ of the American people!” That brief diatribe earned Bauer his first 14 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JULY 3, 1998 Atimmoimmosiiimimissiummuiewswommw.