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V ON THE GORE candidacy, Dallas Times Herald columnist Molly Ivins finds herself in an unusual position. That is, in agreement with the Attorney General. Ivins describes the recent outbreak of Gore for Southern pols to avoid choosing one of the real contenders and risking offending a winner. Ivins questions the wisdom of backing Gore: “Since the whole purpose of this misbegotten Southern primary is to increase the influence of the South in national politics, it is not the brightest thing we’ve ever done to go backing a guy who has no shot just because he is a Southerner. I guarantee you Gore has nothing else going for him. Nothing.” V ANNOINTED IN AUSTIN by Jess Hay, former Gov. Dolph Briscoe, and 60 other conservative Democrats, Gore did nothing to prove Ivins wrong. In the course of a 45-minute press conference, the Tennessee Senator said nothing of substance. At times, he deferred to Hay who, when asked by reporters what issues led him to endorse Gore, responded that issues weren’t that important. “Tone,” Hay said, “is what wins elections. Not issues.” Hay went on to discuss how he liked Gore’s tone. V IN THE BOWELS of the Capitol, to political observers seated around formica cafeteria tables, labor lobbyist Dee Simpson is describing the packaging of Al Gore as “a fraud.” “Al Gore is the most liberal of the whole bunch,” Simpson said. “Check his COPE ratings, look at his voting record; to call him conservative is outrageous, a fraud.” A quick glance at your Almanac of American Politics will prove Simpson right. Labor still seems to be leaning toward Gov. Michael Dukakis, whose Texas campaign appears to be recovering from the infighting that began when Tom Cosgrove, a Northeasterner, clashed with the local staff soon after his arrival here. V THE REPUBLICAN opera boffo continues. According to one angry parent in Houston, her son, out of high school for the Christmas break, was hired by Southern Political Consulting and put to work signing voters’ names to a Pete du Pont petition. He was also provided beer while he worked. And Houston Chronicle reporter Anne Marie Kilday told one Austin TV reporter that she was surprised to find her father’s name on a du Pont petition. “I looked at the petition and I knew that Daddy wouldn’t have signed a petition for Pete du Pont,” Kilday said. “Then I remembered that Daddy has been dead for four years.” V POLITICAL CARTOONISTS and columnists are already jumping on the Beau Boulter for Senate campaign, and it hasn’t even begun. Boulter, a Republican Congressman from Amarillo, recently had let it be known that many of his votes in Congress were inspired by communication with God. If that’s where Boulter got the LOUIS DUBOSE Al Gore word to run against Bentsen, he must not have been listening carefully. Democrats are elated, hoping that Boulter will encourage Bentsen to spend some money campaigning. Austin CPA Mary Nell Mathis, who two years ago ran against Cong. Larry Combest, another Panhandle Republican, said that the absence of Boulter and God is going to affect the performance of Combest. “Poor Larry,” Mathis said, “without Boulter, how is he going ‘to know how to vote?” V GOD IN AMARILLO is coming into focus as an early theme in the Republican Senatorial primary. Milton Fox, the 61year-old former state representative who is challenging Boulter for the right to run against Bentsen, is also raising the religious issue. In an interview with Joe Cutbirth of the Wichita Falls Times he attacked the Amarillo Congressman for his ties to the “so-called religious right,” and cited a Boulter fundraiser where the unctuous Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde was the featured speaker. Fox said that in 14 years in the legislature, every vote he cast on related issues was probably “in the vein of what they wanted.” But he never considered himself part of the right-to-life movement. “I’m not willing to take their blood oath,” Fox said. “I’m a Presbyterian, the kind who goes into the closet [to pray],” Fox said. “It may be a problem for Beau when he indicates that he gets the burning bush voice of God,” he said of Boulter. “If that’s his indication, it could be a problem for his candidacy.” Boulter fired back that he was not quite that holy. “I have never heard a voice from God or anything like that,” Boulter said. But he did want to let it be known that he remains holier than his opponent. “If a person makes fun of a person who prays, that indicates they don’t pray,” Boulter said. Amen. V STATE SENATOR Bill Sarpalius, one of three Panhandle Democrats running for the seat Boulter will vacate, was attacked in an Amarillo nightclub where he was celebrating his 40th birthday. On the dance floor of the Caravan Club, an assailant approached Sarpalius from behind, tapped him on the shoulder, then hit him in the mouth, knocking the Senator to the floor. He then kicked Sarpalius in the face. Sarpalius underwent surgery and an aide announced that the Senator has no intention to withdraw from the race, though his jaw has been wired shut. When he arrived at Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo, Sarpalius demanded that he be given a test of alcohol content in his blood. According to the Dallas Morning News a hospital employee confirmed that there was absolutely zero alcohol content in the Senator’s blood. The Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo does not administer IQ tests. V A CONSERVATIVE Democrat with designs on the Attorney General’s office is state Rep. Dan Morales of San Antonio. Morales, a 32-year-old attorney, caught the attention of the public when he presided over the tax and appropriations debate in the House during the final hours of the last legislative session. Morales stepped in when it becalm evident that Rep. Stan Schlueter, who had the run of the show on fiscal matters for the duration of the session, didn’t have the nerve to push the tax package. Morales filed a financial statement with the secretary of state showing that between July 1 and Dec. 31, he had received $75,000 in contributions, mostly from big givers in San Antonio and several political action committees. He has no opponent in his House race and will use his money to travel in the state and .try to reach a final decision on the attorney general race. Clarification An item in Political Intelligence entitled “Mattox Speaks” \(TO, was identified as a “political player in the Valley.” Mr. Trevino is a Harlingen insurance agency owner and a long-time Democratic party activist. Some readers have confused our source with another Jesse Trevino, an Austin-based newspaper columnist who writes on politics and issues of concern to Mexican Americans. Mr. Trevino, the columnist, wishes our readers to know that he does not necessarily share the opinions expressed in the Observer by Jesse Trevino, the activist. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11