Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - March 27, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Reposed in a soot-gray flannel
The Good Life, 28, succumbs
The Cedar Rapids Gazette. Wed., Mar. 2., 1974 7A
By Russell Baker
117 ASI 11 NCITON — The meaning of 70-“ I rent gasoline, $250 electricity bills and lo percent mortgages is that Tho Good Life is over, kaput, dead. Its obituary follows:
The Good Life was born in the autumn of 1945 and died in a gasoline line in early March, 1974. It was 28 years old. It began with a free college education for every man who had worn a uniform and soon afterwards moved to the suburbs where it settled in a split-level house with a picture window in the living room and rainwater in the basement.
In 1947 it discovered TV and beef, which, with the 4,(MH)-pound car, constitute the bulk of its estate. At the age of 2 its chief joy was to consume a huge quantity of roast or grilled beef, then go to a saloon to watch wrestling on seven-inch TV screens.
Soon, however, it began producing babies and had to change its habits. By age 7, it had quit going out altogether and sat at home eating beef and spoiling babies. To ease its life it invented the 17-inch home TV screen and diaper service. On Saturday evenings it loved to sit in the dark, digesting beef and watching cigaret packages with legs dance on the 17-inch screen.
Before it was 8 it had already invented tail fins for car fenders, which made cars look like jet fighters that had been
designed to carry babies. This made every baby-filled, beef-fed split-level yearn for two cars so that everybody could look like a jet-fighter pilot while going to the TV-repair shop,
By age 9 The Good Life had discovered the back yard and gin, which gave rise to the cookout. Now it took its beef to the back yard with a martini pitcher, which ruined millions of tons of beef and several tons of marriages. For a long while it smelled powerfully of charcoal-burned steak fat.
In the meantime, Matt Dillon and Derry Mason were born in the living room.
The babies, being stuffed with beef, grew prodigiously while watching “Ding-dong School” and learning that happiness was instantly getting whatever they craved, preferably from an aerosol can.
Then came a startling day in the history of The Good Life. The babies all disappeared. Everybody looked at the screen where the babies used to sit watching “Ding-dong School,” and the babies were gone. In their places were huge, muscular, beef-fed people and they were no longer watching “Ding-dong School,” but listening to astounding noises on the hi-fi, which had been invented at the same time as the gray-flannel suit.
The Good Life was impossible with
‘Fa ce it, Harry... you Vo hooked on crises1
these immense people all crowded into one split-level, but the challenge did not stymie The Good Life. It simply recreated the babies as kids and shoveled them all off to college. It also discovered the second home and the third car, and built superhighways to everyplace so that everybody could get away from everybody else at 70 miles an hour.
By the age of 15, however, The Good Life was showing signs of middle-age fatigue. It began grousing about the rat race. It went to Europe for the weekend and complained that the beef was no good. It invented color TV and griped because Matt Dillon was green.
Then the babies-turned-kids took up politics and grew hair and said, “To hell with the gray flannel suit.”
It was a bad time for The Good Life. “What more is there?” it asked the gray-flannel-suit haters. “Haven’t I given you twice-as-much anti-perspirant power from an aerosol can to quell the odor of grilled steak fat which would otherwise give offense in the amatory clinches?”
“We want the even gooder life,” came the reply, “preferably instantly from an aerosol can.”
Thus it discovered the generation gap, blue jeans at $29 a pair and the science of kidnaping the dean.
Meantime it went to the moon, not once but so often that it began complaining it could never get its favorite show on color TV because it was always going to the moon.
Within the past few years it had begun to show the crotchets of age. It no longer enjoyed breathing the chemical fumes with which it had replaced the air of its youth. Babies had become rarely seen curiosities dimly remembered. It still clung to the beef and the TV screen, but the world had changed beyond recognition.
One day in early March it walked into the back yard. It was wearing the now fashionable faded jeans and felt only silly in them, realizing that they were after all the clothing of now-gone babies. T here may have been a moment of yearning for the old gray flannel suit. In the back yard the smell of cooking beef was many years gone. All that was done instantly and electronically now in the all-electric house which would soon have to be abandoned because of the $250 electricity bill.
It went to the beloved car, two tons of Detroit glory, patted it sadly on the dashboard, turned the ignition and headed out for the last time in search of 70-cent gas.
It is survived by Matt Dillon, the interstate highway system and hair spray in an aerosol can.
New York Times Service
Man without a party
For Connolly, ’76 looks bleak
By Rowland Evans
and Robert Novak
RALEIGH, N.C. — Moments after former Democrat John B. Con na lly delivered a brief, inspirational talk to Republicans packed into the governor’s mansion here last week, a Republican candidate for office said:
“He’s a pro all right, but he hasn't been in the stable long.”
Coming almost one year after Connally switched to the Republican party as the first step toward a probable run for President in 1976, that remark underlines his continuing problems. He is simply not taken ail that seriously, even bere in a state ideal for Connally-style conservatism, as Republican presidential timber.
The only presidential prospects discussed in high party circles here are Vice-president Gerald Ford, far in front, and Gov. Ronald Reagan of California. In fact, apart from his presidential ambitions, Connally’s services as a campaigner for Republican candidates this year are considered only marginally useful in North Carolina.
“Connally would help me with money,” said one such Republican candidate, “but he’d lose as many votes for me as he’d make.” The reason: Connally is a Republican to the Democrats — but lie is still a Democrat to Republicans — in short, a man without a party.
Moreover, his politically inept defense of President Nixon may not hurt him in the South, but It is not helping either.
Iii private, lie tells intimates the President was incredibly naive to give his controversial tax returns to the bouse-senate internal revenue committee and incredibly stupid to have secretly taped all those Oval Office conversations. But in public he fully defends the President whenever asked, contending
Mr. Nixon may be turning the tide with his new defense strategy and excoriating house judiciary committee demands for more White House documents.
A longtime political ally protests: “Connally thinks about Nixon and national politics like they think in Dallas, and Dallas just ain’t the U S A.”
Ironically, these Republican criticisms of the ruggedly handsome, 57-year-old Connally persist despite his phenomenally successful lour as a party fund-raiser, starting last September and due to end this spring. Connally has now sweetened party and candidate coffers by nearly $3 million when Watergate and rancid hostility toward President Nixon have locked many Republican purses.
Indeed, aside from Ford, Connally is the only national Republican kicking in IO percent of his gross fund-raising take (except for money raised in Texas) to the Republican national committee. Nor do local party organizations have to finance his expenses, as they do the vice-president’s and his vast traveling entourage.
Although some state and local Republican chairmen have complained about Connally’s IO percent rule, it certainly has not cut the high demand for his
services. When his current tour ends, he will have appeared in 38 states and Washington, I). C. His drawing power is all the more remarkable considering that he holds no office.
When he arrived in Raleigh, for example, Republican Gov. James Holshouser gave a reception for which 206 contributors, Republicans and Democrats, paid $100 a head to shake hands and hear a five-minute talk. At a strictly nonpolitical annual dinner that evening given by the prestigious Citizens’ Assn., Connally’s appearance drew 1,250 guests — 300 more than the dinner had ever drawn before.
Connally, in short, is star quality. But the political dividends of his stardom appear to be going to the Republican party and individual candidates he has agreed to help, not to John Bowden Con-nally.
The tumultuous excitement that surrounded him last fall, when President Nixon seemed on the verge of naming him to succeed the fallen Spiro T. Agnew, has vanished. Ever since, he has boon strictly on his own.
To intimates, Connally now seems less enthusiastic about the presidency than before, not because he doesn’t want it but because the only way to get it is full commitment to the primaries, a treacherous path for one so briefly in the Republican party.
Connally is philosophical about his changed circumstance. Frequently reminding intimates how much he values his privacy, he knows a decision to run in the post-Watergate climate would destroy that privacy, Including the privacy of farflung financial dealings which have made him a millionaire.
With no Connally political organization in sight and not the slightest Connally effort to build one, 197H looks bleak today. And 1976, Connally himself says, would be the last chance for him
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