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A GROOVY KIND OF POLITICIAN

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"I have worked all of my life--as a painter, janitor, an electrician's apprentice in France, a laborer. I've been a member of a union. Dumb jobs. And I haven't worked out of any sense of noblesse oblige, but because I had to. And I continue to work as a candidate. I am not so sure that is the hallmark of an aristocrat."

(Mahoney is the son of a well-known local lawyer and politico and was one of nine children, all of whom were truly taught that materialism is an empty goal. The family lived comfortably but never grandly. They also lived internationally, perhaps most notably in Africa, where Mahoney passed his adolescence learning native dialects while his father served as U.S. Ambassador to Ghana. They were personal friends of the Kennedys. Mahoney was educated at Princeton and Johns Hopkins, and many of his primary personal heroes are poets, including Charles Baudelaire, whom Mahoney says stands for "fatalism and sensuousness.")

Terry Goddard: Standing slightly apart from this group of back-pedalers, Goddard had the grace to say nothing hugely self-deprecating about his background. He seemed to be rather proud of his background, actually.

And what a background it is. His great-grandfather on his mother's side was the Republican secretary of state in Illinois and one of two men who engineered the Wigwam Convention for Abraham Lincoln--whatever that was. His mother attended Wellesley and his father went to Harvard. Goddard himself attended Exeter, the Eastern prep school immortalized in John Irving's novel The World According to Garp, and his classmates there included Peter Coors and David Eisenhower. Later, he graduated from Harvard.

His father is a lawyer, a former Arizona governor and former chairman of the Democratic party who, by his own account, loaned $50,000 to the Democratic party a dozen years ago so that it wouldn't have to close its doors.

Goddard himself is a lawyer. According to an insider, he was, while mayor, repeatedly asked by a former member of the city council to "put things in language that we can all understand."

3. There is absolutely every reason to fear that Arizona is about to fall into the hands of a man whose life experiences have not sufficiently prepared him to hold higher office. Witness these accounts of the forces that have shaped them that were offered, without a moment's prompting, by the intimates of Goddard and Symington.

Father Sam said this about his son Terry, an unmarried fellow who has not had to worry much about earning a living and whose employment opportunities have exposed him primarily to secure, colorless bureaucrats: Terry was hardened at Harvard, by virtue of being on the crew team. Sam said, "He kept at it so vigorously and strongly. He learned about how you have to struggle and work very hard in order to do anything worthwhile."

In Symington's case, the thing that made a difference was lacrosse, his own sport at Harvard. It was lacrosse, apparently, that enabled him to relate more easily to America's wide variety of social classes. Says his friend Terry Considine, who has known him since Harvard, "He had friends from all walks of life in college, because he was a good lacrosse player. In the sports world, the only recommendation is how fast you could run and how hard you could hit. He has always been able to deal with backgrounds very different from his own."

Beyond this handful of generalities, then, are the new politicians similar, and do they hold values in common? Are they passionate reformers, as we might expect from the generation whose politics were stirred up so early?

Are they bored with reform, and fans of the status quo? Sometimes, they are a little bit of the former. Mostly, they are quite a bit of the latter.

And they are their own stories.

Even Arizona could not hold out forever against the numerical onslaught of the baby boomers.

By the Eighties, large numbers of Sixties kids were piloting cars with prominent hood ornaments into spacious garages.

All the young candidates still in the running for major office have turned out the way their parents would have wanted them to.

"That is pretty serious stuff," Goddard says of the sport of crew.

Fife Symington: "Ours was not a wealthy family in the sense of Dallas."

It was lacrosse, apparently, that enabled Symington to relate more easily to America's wide variety of social classes.

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Deborah Laake