Brock weighs GOP pluses and minuses
Washington — Next to Vice-President George Bush, the President's special trade ambassador, William Brock, probably has held more top government positions than anyone else currently on the job.
Mr. Brock has been congressman, senator, and GOP national chairman.
Reminded of this by a reporter, Mr. Brock laughed and said: ''I like the comparison with Bush - I like his pattern.''
Asked if he'd like to be vice-president, Brock laughed. But he added that if he ever ended up in the nation's No. 2 spot it wouldn't go against his aspirations.
Brock had just made a little news by predicting, counter to most forecasts, that the Republicans would ''pick up a net gain'' in House seats this fall.
By so doing, Brock said, ''The Republicans will change the political landscape by reversing the usual off-year election trends.''
''There are two factors helping Republicans,'' said Brock. ''First there is the caliber of the congressional candidates. We have done a superb job of recruiting. The Democrats haven't.''
''Second,'' he added, ''this will be a terrible year for incumbent congressmen - and in this area the Democrats have more exposure than we do.''
''But isn't there a tide moving against the President now - one that will be reflected in the fall election?''
''No,'' said Brock again. ''I'm finding a degree of sophistication in the political attitudes of the American voter that I've never seen before.
''On the one hand, the voters are holding Democrats responsible for the lagging economy. They see our economic troubles as having stemmed from Democratic mistakes in the past.
''But on the other hand the polls are showing a remarkable amount of voter patience with this President. People obviously are going to give him at least another year to show whether he can make his economic program work.''
''You know,'' Brock added here, ''the Democrats simply haven't shown that they have any idea how to make the economy work. They have not come up with any alternatives.''
A little later Brock added these words to his congressional forecast: ''If the economy had moved forward the way we had hoped it would, our gains in the House next fall would really be spectacular. But by picking up a net gain next fall our accomplishment will still be spectacular - taking into account the state of the economy.''
Brock, who as GOP national chairman was given the major credit as architect of big Republican gains in 1980, is, as would be expected, quite supportive of the President.
But he isn't too happy with the way the President has dealt with minorities, particularly blacks. In an after-breakfast interview Brock said that he counted it his biggest accomplishment that he ''broadened the party base, restructuring at the grass roots to open the party to young people, women, blacks, Hispanics, and all minorities.''
Brock says he feels that this party ''welcome'' to minorities has been eroded under the Reagan regime. He says the cutbacks in spending (which he says have been necessary) have worked a particular hardship on the disadvantaged - and that this has, at least in the short range, eroded the perception of minorities that the Republican Party is friendly toward them.
''Have you talked to the President about the need to do more for blacks - for minorities?'' Brock was asked at at the breakfast. ''Well,'' he said, ''we have some differences on some issues.''
''I feel very strongly,'' he said, ''that we must show our concern with the minorities. And we must work twice as hard as the Democrats to really show that concern. We simply have to do better.''