Campaigning I: Clarke Reed of Mississippi

It was a hot and steamy Thursday morning, typical of summer in the Mississippi Delta, unrelentingly humid the way the cotton likes it. Clarke Reed’s desk was an avalanche of letters, wires, and telephone messages orchestrated by the forces of Ronald Reagan. Just three days earlier, Reagan, the truest keeper of the conservative faith and Reed’s philosophical soul brother, had announced his selection of Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania, the most liberal of Republicans, as his prospective running mate. That announcement focused a great deal of attention, and enormous pressure, on Clarke Reed. Reed, a smiling, silver-haired kingpin of southern Republicanism, had built an inexplicably powerful political kingdom from his perch on the banks of the Mississippi. He was leader of the largest uncommitted delegation to the Republican national convention in Kansas City but a closet supporter of Reagan from the start. It was an election-year canon that whichever candidate attracted and held his strong affection might thereby capture any of the wavering southern delegates to the convention. The attorney general of Idaho wired Reed to say that Idaho’s delegates were holding firm for Reagan. The Oklahoma delegation sent him the text of a resolution expressing “total confidence” in the former governor of California. Even Harold Stassen called to say, Hold everything, all bets are now off.

But they were too late. Reagan’s embrace of Schweiker drove a stake into Reed’s purist heart—an ideologically balanced ticket, he had long argued, is “a fraud on the electorate.” The voters think they are choosing one thing, but they may get quite another—and it set him to brooding. While he brooded, Ford operatives in Washington called continuously and badgered him to accept a historic opportunity to help make their side the winning side; so did the President himself.

Timing was important to the White House, because the Pennsylvania delegation, Schweiker’s people, were due to visit Ford on Thursday, and Harry Dent, the President’s southern strategist, wanted to be able to demonstrate by then that “the South had broken,” that Reagan’s effort to build a new coalition had turned off his own strongest supporters. Dent, like David Keene, his counterpart in the Reagan camp, knew that Reed was a symbol to the newly emergent southern Republicans—a tall, suave, sophisticated fellow in seersucker; a man who takes his politics and his philosophy seriously, but knows how to laugh at himself; a smooth operator comfortable with the most important politicians, sought by the bestknown national reporters, but on the same wavelength with the small-time folks at home.

After two and a half days of anguish and vacillation, on Wednesday night at six (too late, he knew, for the evening news, but in plenty of time for the morning papers—just the right combination to reflect his ambivalence), Reed called Republican state headquarters in Jackson and dictated a backhanded endorsement of Gerald Ford. “This is a personal decision,” he said; “I have not asked any member of the delegation to support either candidate and do not intend to do so ... I am very in tune with Governor Reagan’s record, but I believe having this kind of Vice President is too big a price to pay for the nomination.” Then, to escape the telephone at home, he retreated with his wife, Judy, to the lush, wood-paneled apartment over his office on Main Street in Greenville and, under skylights once used to sort cotton, drowned his sorrows in gin and tonic.

The decision to support Ford, said Reed the next morning, was “the toughest of my political life.” He claimed to be weary of all the excitement, but at the same time took a certain joy in showing off a wad of unanswered telephone messages the size of his fist. He drove out to the small-plane hangar at the airport (which he had once owned and sold), left the keys under the driver’s seat of his Buick, climbed into his Piper Seneca six-seater, and flew the ninety air miles down to Jackson to hold a press conference—getting scolded by the tower at both ends of the trip for disobeying minor rules, and occasionally taking his hands off the controls to make notes for his impending confrontation with reporters. At one point he looked up, embarrassed, and said, “I guess it seems like I have a careless attitude toward this press conference . . . when it’s probably the biggest one I’ve ever held, or ever will hold.” If the press conference itself lacked the drama that Reed expected it to have, he filled in with his own sense of history in the making. “Sometimes,” he said later, “as a southerner, you do things because you have to do them.”

Some of Reed’s friends saw the events as the beginning of a whole new era of kingmaking for him. But others suggested that it was the end. In the view of W. D. “Billy” Mounger, an oilman-banker from Jackson who had been Reed’s partner in building the Mississippi GOP from a small club into a significant force over a ten-year period, the choice of Ford was “a decision that Clarke will regret for the rest of his life.”

GOP trials

After ruling that state during Reconstruction, Mississippi Republicans, almost all of them black as in other southern states, faded from power and importance. The “Black and Tans,” as they were known, were loyal to, and recognized by, the national party; but they became far fewer in number when the new Mississippi Constitution of 1890 systematically disenfranchised blacks who could not pay the poll tax, meet the residency requirements, and interpret the federal Constitution to the satisfaction of local white voter registrars. The Black and Tans were gradually supplanted, as the official Republicans across the South, by their old rivals, a group known as the “LilyWhites.”

The party languished until the 1956 Republican national convention in San Francisco, when an unusual coalition— composed of “Eisencrats” (Democrats who supported Dwight Eisenhower’s Republican presidential candidacy in 1952 and 1956), old Lily-Whites, and new members of the Young Republicans organization—emerged as the new representative of the GOP in Mississippi.

In 1960 a slate of unpledged electors outpolled both John Kennedy and Richard Nixon in Mississippi, but by 1963 the “Draft Goldwater” movement was picking up steam in the state and made it possible for a Republican gubernatorial candidate, Rubel Phillips, whose slogan was “KO the Kennedys,” to get 38 percent of the vote.

The next year Barry Goldwater won 87 percent of the presidential votes cast in Mississippi (the federal Voting Rights Act, which put tens of thousands of blacks back on the voting rolls, had not yet been passed) and swept Prentiss Walker, the state’s first Republican congressman in nearly a hundred years, into office on his coattails. After only one term, however, Walker became greedy, and in 1966, when he ran against Democrat James Eastland, one of the most powerful men in the United States Senate, he was trounced. The fledgling party was returned to embryo status.

Turning the tide

Enter Clarke Thomas Reed, the wealthy businessman and conservative dreamer from Greenville who knew how to calculate his shots before taking them. With himself planning strategy and his friend Billy Mounger—also a very rich man—raising money, Reed set out in 1966 to put the Mississippi Republicans on the map. In 1968, because George Wallace was in the presidential race as a third-party candidate, expressing the anger and the frustrations that so many Mississippians felt at that time, Reed and Mounger knew it was hopeless to try to carry the state for Nixon. But they did a lot of fundraising for the national ticket—enough to get themselves noticed—and strengthened their base at home. In the 1969 local elections, the Mississippi Republicans elected nine mayors and twenty aldermen; in 1972, two congressmen; and in 1973 they won sixty-two municipal posts.

The important transformation was subtle: a growing sense that Mississippi Republicans could play a role on the national scene, that the state of Mississippi—this small, rather backward place that is often the brunt of jokes and has something of an inferiority complex (it does rank last among the states in per capita income and public school expenditures)—might come to be listened to and respected.

The agent of change was Clarke Reed himself. In the first Nixon Administration, the Mississippi GOP had no elected representatives in Washington. But Reed was elected chairman of the Southern Association of Republican State Chairmen and turned it into an effective pressure group. ("All they understand is pressure,” says he of White House staffs in general.) Having delivered the Mississippi delegation to Nixon over Ronald Reagan at the 1968 Republican convention, Reed was welcomed warmly and often at the White House; it was out of the apartment over his office in Greenville that the special committee named by Nixon to help southern states integrate their schools ran its Mississippi field operations. And Reed spoke up boldly on behalf of feelings strongly held by his own Republican constituents and other white Mississippians. While others paid little attention to the nitty-gritty party rules and regulations, Reed monitored and fought against liberal and moderate Republicans’ reform efforts—requiring quotas for women, youths, and minorities among convention delegates, for example—and he invariably won or got things compromised very much in the South’s favor.

Before many people had realized it, Clarke Reed’s opinions and attitudes came to matter a great deal indeed. Federal appointments and programs, inside Mississippi and out, were often cleared with him; his reactions were solicited and valued by Republican strategists as the Watergate crisis unfolded. (He stuck with Nixon to the bitter end; there seems little doubt that even today the former President, while discredited elsewhere, could win an election in Mississippi.)

Hodding Carter III, publisher of the Delta Democrat-Times in Greenville, is a close friend despite his own liberal Democratic views. He says that Reed built the Mississippi Republican party “with mirrors and smoke,” making it seem more important than it really was for just long enough that the reality eventually came almost to match the perception. “I have a feeling people go away from meetings with him knowing that they’ve just agreed to something and never sure exactly what it was,” says Carter with a laugh.

Beyond the Delta

Ironically, Clarke Reed’s influence has probably been greater outside Mississippi than within the state —but largely because of the impact that he was assumed to have among his own people.

There are angry Reaganites in Mississippi who accuse Clarke Reed of having sold his vote to Gerald Ford in return for an invitation to the state dinner at the White House in July for Queen Elizabeth II. To be sure, he is a man with a large ego who enjoys attending ceremonial events and being in the limelight. But he is also a natural for a state dinner. If the Queen spent any time with Reed and was able to understand him through his thick accent, his mumble, and his stutter, she probably found him to be urbane, witty, charming, and erudite. He has the advantages of an Ivy League manner without the disadvantages, for a Mississippian, of having been educated at an Ivy League school.

At the same time, Reed is a prototype regional chauvinist, quick to point out the salt-stained “Yankee cars” that have shown up in Greenville, or to refer to southern writers who have moved north and written critically of their native region as “traitor bastards.” That the soil of the Delta should be so rich and productive, he says, is a kind of “southerners’ revenge”: it is really northern topsoil that was flooded and floated down over a period of several thousand years.

To his embarrassment and regret, Reed was born in 1928 not in Mississippi, but in Alliance, Ohio. He was still an infant when his parents brought him to live in his maternal grandparents’ home in Caruthersville, Missouri, on the Mississippi River. Fortunately for the southern credentials that mean so much to Reed, Caruthersville is not all that far from Memphis and the cottonand soybean-growing country of the Delta, which is bounded by the Mississippi River on the west, the Yazoo on the south, and the Mississippi hills on the north and east.

His grandfather, Sterling Price Reynolds, was a major planter, so Reed learned early to enjoy the servants and the other perquisites of the plantation way of life. He graduated from a military school in Tennessee and almost enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but, as he recalls it, decided at the last moment that he “didn’t like the way it looked and felt”; he went instead to the University of Missouri to study economics. While waiting to be called for a two-year stint as an Air Force officer, he worked at a grain elevator that his father owned in Greenville, and by the time he returned there from the service, a grain storage and drying equipment business that he had started with a partner, Barthell Joseph, was booming.

Reed still speaks wistfully of those early days when he traveled the back roads of Mississippi selling the grain storage and drying systems to rural white farmers, the people who unabashedly call themselves “rednecks.” He would sit on their porches and drink home brew with them, arguing over the policies (which he supported) of Ezra Taft Benson, secretary of agriculture in the Eisenhower Administration, and admiring these small farmers as “freeenterprisers in the truest sense.” Those were the days when, as he puts it, “the racial thing was coming on.” He admits that he was never especially “outraged” by the South’s dual system—“I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t raise any hell”— yet lays claim to an early accomplishment on behalf of integration: a single restroom for use by both white and black employees in his and Joseph’s plant as early as 1953.

Because white Mississippi is still so highly stratified by social class, Reed would later have little real contact with the “rednecks”; but he came to understand them, and that is a crucial element of his political sagacity. He knows they are innate political reactionaries, people who still wonder, for example, about the wisdom of diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union; who are reluctant to permit their own local governments, let alone the federal, to meddle in their private lives. During those days on the road he also learned to love the land and the folkways of his adopted state. Even now, as he flies his plane around Mississippi, he is inclined to tip one wing or the other in a sudden, dizzying gesture in order to point out to his passengers a particularly good catfish pond or the handsome, sensuous curvature of a rice field.

Although he and Joseph, still partners, own about 8000 acres of rich farmland in Arkansas (as well as a river barge business, “a small import operation,” other real estate, and a few construction projects, but no longer the grain storage and drying business), Reed has less contact with the land these days. He lives the good life in Greenville, population 47,000—a life of parties and worship (he is a deacon at the First Presbyterian Church). His circle is composed of intellectuals and small-town sophisticates, in a community that is. for Mississippi, atypically wealthy and comfortable, with relatively well-integrated schools. He and his wife, daughter, and two sons reside in a richly appointed, low-lying house on the site of the old Rattlesnake Bayou on the outskirts of town, complete with terrace, swimming pool, wicker furniture, cypress, cedar, pecan, and magnolia trees, and an old slave-built levee.

Reed is a man of the world who travels widely, where and when he pleases. Yet he defines his own and the South’s conservatism and patriotism as the natural result of a closeness to the soil. He speaks of “a southern sense of duty sometimes connected with stoicism.” He has flirted on occasion with genuine extremism (never the Ku Klux Klan or the White Citizens Council, but one meeting of, and a one-year membership in, the John Birch Society in its early days), but he is more in his element dealing with well-educated folk who have an appreciation for the writings of conservative thinkers from Edmund Burke (two leather-bound sets of his complete works occupy a prominent spot in Reed’s den) to William F. Buckley, Jr. (one of his closest friends and a near idol).

Reed believes deeply in what these people have to say. He frets over “the decline of the West and all that,” and says he would feel more sanguine about American-Soviet relations, for example, “if we had a hundred-year plan to beat them.” If Reed could choose one effect that he would most like to have on American politics and government, it would probably be to help bring about a realignment of the two major political parties along liberal and conservative lines. He has worked for years on trying to convert those who insist they are “Mississippi Democrats,” loyal to a traditional label but not necessarily in tune with the liberal philosophy of others who carry the same label.

New recruits

In 1975 the Mississippi GOP developed a whole new cadre of committed Republicans, including women, college students, and even a few blacks. This was a direct result of a progressive and nearly successful campaign for the governorship mounted by Gil Carmichael, a Volkswagen dealer from Meridian. The party elders were so delighted to have the new recruits, and so unaccustomed to discussing substantive issues with people they automatically assumed to be as conservative as themselves, that they never informed themselves about the newcomers’ political views; if they had, they might have found that a surprising number had relatively —of course, the word would never be usedliberal attitudes.

Somehow, at last April’s state party convention in Jackson, what Billy Mounger calls “our li’l ole system of picking delegates” to the Republican national convention broke down. With sixty slots to fill (thirty delegates and thirty alternates), the leadership decided to leave out most members of the state executive committee and to give the experience of a lifetime to as many of the new enthusiasts as possible. It was widely believed then that the battle between Ford and Reagan would be resolved well before anyone got to Kansas City. No one checked on presidential preferences, but it was taken for granted that if well-respected figures such as Reed and Mounger were avid supporters of Reagan, the others would be only too honored to follow their lead. After all, everyone knew that Ronald Reagan was probably more widely admired in Mississippi than any other living politician, and that if a Republican primary were held in the state he would surely sweep to victory.

The “uncommitted”

In any event, the state convention agreed that everyone in the delegation would have half a vote and that it would go to Kansas City officially “uncommitted.” When the delegation got there, it would make its decisions by majority vote; but then, using the traditional device that Reed had relied upon to give a small state big clout, the delegation would cast all thirty votes in a bloc under the “unit rule.” Although he was voluntarily retiring as state party chairman after ten years, Reed would be on hand as chairman of the delegation and could settle any problems that might arise.

The group of sixty was a rather curious mix. They ran the gamut from Malcolm Mabry, a farmer and state legislator—one of only three Republicans in the Mississippi House—with deeply felt right-wing convictions (whose proudest accomplishment was passage of his bill requiring every ninth-grader in the state to have a course in anticommunism), to Debbie Graham, a winsome young woman from Mobile, Alabama, who had become a Mississippi Republican while a graduate student in communications at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. A few were social friends or political proteges of Clarke Reed. Two were the sisters of other delegates, Billy Mounger and Doug Shanks, the newly elected thirtyone-year-old Republican member of the Jackson City Commission. Some had probably never exchanged more than a few words with Reed, Mounger, and the other party leaders.

Former gubernatorial candidate Gil Carmichael early on deserted his Mississippi brethren and became an ardent supporter of Gerald Ford. Some of Carmichael’s detractors insist that he made a deal for a job in Washington after the election; others that he merely caught a bad case of liberalism during a stint at the John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard University. A third group believes, as one delegate put it with a deep chuckle, that “Poor old Gil still doesn’t realize that he lost. He acts like he is the governor.” Few people considered the possibility that Carmichael simply thought Ford was a good President and preferred his politics to Reagan’s, which is the explanation he offers for the decision.

Whatever the reason, Carmichael’s pronouncement of his aberrational choice, followed by the announcement that promising young Doug Shanks would be chairman of Ford’s effort in Mississippi and would break the sacred unit rule if necessary to cast his own vote for the President, ended all assumptions about what the Mississippi delegation would do. With Ford and Reagan running neck-and-neck, the Mississippi delegates and alternates suddenly became subjected to extraordinary attention and courtship. Betty Ford called some of the women in the group and talked to them for as long as fortyfive minutes about her husband’s merits and life in general; no sooner had they hung up the phone than someone would call from the other side, perhaps Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., and on occasion Reagan himself.

Reagan visited the delegation in Jackson twice (once with the hapless Schweiker in tow, trying to explain that he was not so liberal as his voting record might at first glance indicate), and the President and his entourage came down once for both largeand small-group sessions.

Most members of the delegation adopted their favorite newsmen, local and national, with whom they would have almost daily conversations, coyly discussing their “leanings,” or lack thereof, on the basis of the latest developments. Some, following one of Reed’s political maxims, used the opportunity to apply reverse pressures about matters of concern to them. Mayor Clyde Whitaker of Tupelo, for example, declared for Ford only after a chat with the President about the need to complete the rebuilding of the historic Natchez Trace Parkway through his part of the state. As for Joanne Goodgame, the wife of a farmer-dentist from Aberdeen, all the excitement just made her more uncommitted; that, she candidly admitted, seemed to be the best way to keep the attention, and the cards and letters, coming.

The deciding factor

All of this was most perplexing for Clarke Reed, who was accustomed to neat, unambiguous, controllable situations. He felt himself to be in a terrible personal dilemma. He genuinely disliked the Ford White House, resenting, among other things, the President’s cave-in to liberal interests in 1975 when he failed to insist upon an extension of the Voting Rights Act to all fifty states as the price for its renewal in the South. He thought the Ford campaign organization, and especially its interim leader, old pol Rogers C. B. Morton, utterly incompetent in the face of Jimmy Carter’s threat.

And yet Reed seemed reluctant to put himself on the line and do any work on behalf of Reagan—distrustful perhaps of campaign manager John Sears’s heavy-handed tactics, uncomfortable with some of the former governor’s most zealous supporters, not as taken with the candidacy and its prospects as he would have liked to be. (Reed insists that he was not, as some later accused him of being, preoccupied with the need to be on the winning side of the nomination battle. “Hell, winning doesn’t mean anything to us down here,” Reed says; “we’re used to losing.”)

“If I weren’t so scared,” said Reed in one moment of despair over the Republican options this year, “I would say we should take a walk on the presidency this time, and let them have it.” Scared of what? “That with Carter, the whole goddamn thing [the country] will be down the tubes.” He did save the day for the Reaganites at one point, when Carmichael and Shanks were orchestrating a flood of telegrams of support to the White House from individual delegates and alternates, by calling a special meeting of the delegation and getting it to forswear any plans for an early preconvention vote on its presidential choice.

Improbable as it might seem for a man in his position. Reed was above all reluctant to be cast as the one person whose sentiments and vote might be the deciding factor in the Mississippi delegation or, for that matter, in the entire convention. But when, as Mississippians like to say, “it got down to the lick log” and everyone was being called upon to make a judgment about Reagan’s selection of Schweiker, Clarke Reed had to choose.

After he opted for Ford, it was almost as if the reaction had been charted by the devil: liberal Republicans across the country praised him for coming around at last. His close political friends, almost to a man, stayed with Reagan and either criticized Reed or ignored him. (Said Tom Anderson, administrative assistant to Congressman Trent Lott and a Reagan-committed delegate, “I wouldn’t want to go quailhunting with that man. I’d be afraid he’d shoot me in the back.”) When Ford came to Jackson, it fell to Reed to be the first to greet him at the foot of the steps from Air Force One, alongside Carmichael and Shanks. When Reagan made his second visit, Reed rode into town from the airport on the press bus, while Mounger joined the candidate in his black Cadillac limousine.

In Kansas City, the pressures on the Mississippi delegation became, if anything, more intense. By then, Tommy Giordano, a member of the party establishment, had switched to Ford and obtained a title as floor manager of the President’s Mississippi forces during the convention. Giordano and Shanks appointed whips and assistant whips within the delegation who, equipped with clipboards and electronic bellboys, badgered every one of their colleagues. Jerry Gilbreath, a young state legislator from Laurel, finally put a scrawled sign in the window of his hotel room saying, “I won’t be pressured to change. I’m voting for Reagan.”

Reagan’s forces were hardly more subtle. They brought in singer-evangelist Pat Boone to work on the Reverend John Baker, a black preacher from Giordano’s county. (Giordano eventually got him back for Ford.) One Reaganite wrote an angry letter to delegate Lillian Todd, speculating that her late husband would turn over in his grave if he knew she was considering a vote for Ford. There were now declarations by Reagan people that they would break the unit rule to vote for their man, and some said they could never go home and campaign for Ford; they might prefer to let Jimmy Carter carry Mississippi.

In the end, the critical vote was on “ 16(c)”—Reagan’s proposal to alter the GOP convention rules so that Ford would be required to name his vicepresidential running mate in advance. Playing on Reed’s guilt feelings, Reagan strategists pleaded with him to give them “something” at the convention. Responding to that plea, Reed voted for the proposed rule both in the convention rules committee and in the Mississippi caucus—but in the latter case, only after it was clear that the Reagan forces would lose. The unit rule held, and Ford’s slim margin in the delegation translated into thirty votes on the convention floor.

By ordinary calculations, it should have been Clarke Reed’s moment of glory when the roll call reached Mississippi in Kemper Arena that night. Instead, it was a time of great confusion. The Reagan campaign, realizing it was at the end of the road, desperately switched signals at the last moment and told its Mississippi people that it wanted to get any votes it could on 16(c) out of their delegation.

When Mississippi was called and the convention hall hushed to hear its vote, Reed passed, in order to give the Reaganites a last reprieve. Finally, they decided not to endorse any breaking of the unit rule and all of the votes went in favor of the Ford position—mercifully, however, only after the Florida delegation had already put the President over the top.

The next day, when it came time in caucus for the vote on the nomination, the Ford forces seemed to have a substantial majority among the sixty people from Mississippi. But by unanimous agreement the unit rule was foregone, probably never to return. And several individuals who favored the President voted for Reagan in order to make the vote close and preserve what was left of the delegation’s reputation back at home, where the overwhelming sentiment of Republicans, and many Democrats, was still for Reagan. That night, sixteen Mississippi votes, including Clarke Reed’s, were cast for Ford and fourteen for Reagan. Again, because of the size of the President’s margin, it could be said that Mississippi had not made the difference.

The morning after

Early in the day following Ford’s nomination, Reed, along with Mounger and two other Reagan supporters, raced to downtown Kansas City to join emissaries from other states who were trying to persuade Reagan to take a vice-presidential nomination. But they were too late. By the time they arrived, Reagan was making a farewell speech to his staff and supporters and Ford was preparing to announce his selection of Senator Bob Dole of Kansas as his running mate.

Clarke Reed returned to his motel room in Independence, physically and emotionally exhausted, feeling irrelevant. lonely, and isolated. There were a few phone calls from people pledging support for him the next day in his race against a Reaganite from Oklahoma to become southern regional coordinator of the Republican National Committee (Reed won by a vote of 25 to 12). But his mind was elsewhere. He lay down on his bed, tucked his hands under his belt, and cried. “There are a lot of sad people around, including me.” he said. “I told him [Reagan] I was sorry ... In the final analysis, I wasn’t fair, I didn’t use proper judgment-I should have stayed with him. even after Schweiker . . . 1 was not with my friends on this one, and you don’t like being out of step, by yourself.” Repeatedly, stubbornly, Reed insisted nevertheless that his own decision, his own vote had not changed anything. “If I had stayed with Reagan,” he said, “the outcome would have been the same.”

That was not necessarily so. There are many who left Kansas City feeling that if Clarke Reed had stuck to his original conviction, Mississippi could have handed Reagan the nomination. And it was certainly not the way Billy Mounger felt. Disgusted, embittered. taking his philosophy and his politics personally as usual. Mounger complained, “I don’t know where we found some of these delegates; we must have dug them up out of the worm pile.” In his view. Reed’s preconvention decision for Ford had made a great difference. both inside Mississippi and elsewhere: “Clarke, because of his reputation. made it respectable to desert Reagan and vote for Ford.” Although they were old friends and allies. Mounger said that things would probably never be the same between him and Reed again.

A few days after the Republican convention, Reed called the Washington office of Citizens for Reagan to chat with David Keene, the young conservative whose job as Reagan’s southern strategist he had originally arranged a year earlier. Reed wanted to rehash the convention. Keene said. “Not now. Clarke. Maybe later. But 1 really don’t want to talk with you much now.”

As Clarke Reed has been saying for a good while, he’s got to start putting more time into his business. There’s a good crop coming off, and the river is awfully low this year.