Bush Wins Edmond, Loses America
Happiness In The Eye Of The Be-Voter
By BOBBY ROSS JR. / SUN Staff Writer
George Nigh couldn’t be happier.
Larry Stein could be a whole lot happier.
Pat Briley is not as happy as he would like to be, but not as sad as he could be.
“Happy times are here again,” Nigh sang jokingly this morning, relishing the election of not only a Democrat, but a close friend, as president.
But while Nigh savored Bill Clinton’s electoral landslide, staunch Republican Stein lamented George Bush’s devastating loss. Dedicated “Perotite” Briley looked to a future with the Ross Perot movement remaining a live force in American politics.
Nigh, as a former Oklahoma governor, developed many relationships with other states’ top leaders.
However, the newly inaugurated University of Central Oklahoma president formed a special bond with Arkansas Gov. — make that President-elect — Clinton.
Nigh and his wife, Donna, have stayed with Clinton and his wife, Hillary, several times in the Arkansas governor’s mansion.
And when Clinton spoke at the Nigh Institute for State Government a few years ago, he spent the night with the Nighs at their former home in Edmond.
Also, Nigh said not many people realize he was one of the founders, along with Clinton, of the Democratic Leadership Council, which has sought a more moderate party with a new thrust for America.
As for Clinton’s character and trustworthiness, Nigh said he found it strange when those traits were questioned.
“I’ve been with him many times socially and politically, and I have nothing but the highest personal regard for him,” Nigh said. “He has always acted properly.”
Given his relationship with the Arkansas governor, Nigh has been mentioned as a possible selection for the Clinton administration.
But after just four months as UCO president, Nigh brushes aside that kind of talk. “That’s not under discussion,” he said.
He pointed out that the nation’s 50 governors twice have been asked to select America’s top administrator at the state level — and both times have chosen Clinton.
“I think he’ll be the best prepared president we’ve had in my lifetime,” said Nigh, 65.
But Stein, an Edmond resident who emceed when President Bush staged a campaign rally at Oklahoma Christian University of Science and Arts in March, doesn’t see the future through the same rosy glasses as Nigh.
Stein said he hopes Clinton and the Democratic Congress will think twice — and hard — before trying to raise taxes, an action he said everyone expects.
He predicts Clinton will enjoy a brief honeymoon — from the time he raises his arm to take the oath of office until he lowers it — and that the media and the public then will demand action.
“I think there’s a big chance the economy will get together in spite of Bill Clinton getting elected,” Stein quipped.
He attributes Bush’s defeat to no challenge of the Democratic message that the economy had hit a 50-year rock bottom.
As for Perot, Stein said the Texan’s campaign showed what a man worth $3 billion can accomplish when he spends $60 million. Perot’s success “had absolutely everything to do with money,” he charged.
But for Edmond resident Briley, who collected 1,100 signatures to help place Perot’s name on Oklahoma’s presidential ballot, the billionaire’s campaign had everything to do with the people taking power over a gridlock government.
Perot volunteers are excited about their leader’s promise to keep the United We Stand group of millions together and work for change past Tuesday’s election, he said.
Like “Ross the Boss,” Briley and fellow Perot supporters have pledged to work with Clinton for the betterment of the country.
“We may not agree with all the details of his (Clinton’s) plans, but we know we don’t have four years to wait to put our industrial base and economy back together,” Briley said. “We really do want him to succeed.”
But he added: “We do have to get action.”