Bimbo Banter

From Morning in America to Making America Great Again

  • Trends
  • February 16, 2018
  • by Merrie Spaeth

Ms gramm hance

One of my favorite annual events is the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s legislative briefing (near and dear to my heart because my late husband, Tex Lezar, co-founded TPPF). This year, former Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, and former Rep. Kent Hance, D-Lubbock, teamed up for a timely discussion comparing Reagan and Trump’s first year in office. They are both grizzled warriors who have seen decades of political battles.

Gramm was first elected as a Democrat, thrown off the budget committee because of his conservative economic views, resigned amid great fanfare, switched to the Republican party and ran again and won. He and Hance were important architects of the Reagan tax cuts.

They started by telling the story of the type of backroom maneuvering that produced success. Gramm reported that at one negotiation, he observed, “If you had been at the Alamo, we would have had a discussion rather than a line in the sand,” to which Rep. Jack Hightower, D-Amarillo, pointed out, “Every man who crossed that line died.” Gramm’s comeback was, “All the people who didn’t cross the line died, too but nobody remembers the sumbi****s’ names.”

Hance weighed in, and they sharpened their message to current representatives: “Stand on principle.” They demonstrated this by telling a story of Rep. Sam Hall who changed his vote on the Reagan tax cuts from no to yes after great personal anguish.

Not surprisingly, both slammed the media, but Gramm reminded the group that media bias is nothing new and noted, historically, “Most of the things I didn’t like reading in the paper came out of my mouth.” It’s a strong reminder to our clients on why it’s so important to have a clearly defined message.

The two jokesters did not urge the President to clam up, but rather to use more humor. The conversation ended with Gramm saying, “I am more optimistic now than I was in ’79. I believe America can change, I’ve seen it happen before. Politics is not about liking or disliking someone, it’s about doing things that make life better.”

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