You can't keep a good man down.
Nor can you keep John Connally down. Big John was there in the danger zone of each of the big political storms of the past decade but in each he managed to steer clear of the storm's eye and escape unscathed. After what might have been a tarnishing association with the Johnson administration, he managed to change horses, and is today one of the nation's most prominent and promising Republicans.
As Secretary of Transportation under Nixon, Conally withstood the onslaught of Watergate and remained loyal to the end. Few remember his steadfast support of Nixon, which led him to publicly recommend that Nixon destroy the tapes in the face of Congress' requests. This stand may have reflected more self-interest than team loyalty: the tapes were damaging to Connally's own integrity. His indictment for involvement with the milk fund bribes was the last in the string of political blows that have befallen Big John in the past few years.
But despite all the punches he has taken, Connally stands today as one of the most powerful and respected names in the Republican politics. Polls of Republican delegates before the nomination convention showed him to be their favorite for Vice-President by a long shot. And Nixon is said to have wanted him to fill Agnew's place after the latter resigned in 1973.
Connally is still a marginal Watergate figure, especially in the minds of many Democrats. But his acquital on the milk fund charges last year may have actually raised him in esteem for Republicans who saw much of Watergate as a Democrat-inspired vendetta and his prosecution--based on less-than-solid evidence--as one more manifestation of this vendetta. At the least, the acquital gave Connally a nominal clearance for a return to electoral politics.
Connally himself probably thinks the acquittal gave him a lot more. He's coming up to Boston for a couple of days next week. Connally is only 59 or 60 and may be keeping his hat in the ring for a presidential bid in 1980. (Connally lectures on Wednesday, March 16, at 8:30 in Science Center B.) He steered a neutral course between Reagan and Ford up till the convention, and may have actually benefitted by Ford's defeat and the shambles in which it left the Republican Party.
Connally is in danger right now of slipping into elder statesman status. Most Republican leaders, Gerald Ford among them, probably suspect he has yet to tell all about his Watergate ties, and so are afraid to pick him as a national candidate. (Hence Robert Dole.) During the election Republicans utilized Connally's ties to big money more than they did his campaigning ability. Ford even offered him the chairmanship of the party last year, but Connally declined this one-way ticket to the backstage and out of the national spotlight. Connally is too ambitious to be sent to the old age home already.
Other lectures this week are:
MONDAY MARCH 14
Christopher McMahon, Executive Director of the Bank of England will speak on "International Financial Problems Ahead" from 4 to 6 p.m. in 6 Divinity Ave.
The Civial Aeronautics Board: Prescriptions and Prospects will be the topic of a lecture by Howard Cohen, Special Counsel to the Chairmna of the C.A.B., and Roy Palsifer, Assistant Director of Operation Rights of the C.A.B. to be given at 4 p.m. in Littauer 315.
TUESDAY MARCH 15
Are Sex Roles Biologically Determined? will be discussed by Barbara Chasin, a sociologist at the School of Public Health, and Frieda Salzman, a physicist at the University of Massachusetts at 8 p.m. in the Conference Auditorium in George Sherman Union at B.U.
Joseph Gross, Professor of Law and Associate Dean of the Law School, Tel Aviv University, will lecture on "The New Tax Reform in Israel" at 4 p.m. in Room 203, Roscoe Pound Building, at the Law School.
The Sexual Revolution and the Jewish Tradition will be the subject of a lecture by Rabbi and author David Feldman at 7:30 p.m. in Science Center A.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 16
John Connally will speak on American Politics at 8:30 p.m. in Science Center B.
Gen. Russel E. Dougherty, Commander in Chief, Strategic Air Command will speak about "U.S. Strategic Forces: The Product of Concept and Decision" in Room 1. Center for International Affairs at 4 p.m.
Should We Be Alarmed by Recent Soviet Nuclear Programs? will be the topic of a discussion by Jack Ruina, former Director of Advanced Research Projects at the Department of Defense and now Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT, and Col. William M. Stokes III, U.S. Army, a Fellow of the Center for International Affairs at the Cambridge Forum, 3 Church Street, at 8 p.m.