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s rver JOURNAL OF REE VOICES We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of human-kind as the foundation of democracy: we will take orders fivm none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them, because this is a journal of free voices. SINCE 1954 Publisher: Ronnie Dugger Editor: Louis Dubose Associate Editor: James Cullen Layout and Design: Diana Paciocco, Peter Szymczak Copy Editor: Roxanne Bogucka Mexico City Correspondent: Barbara Belejack Editorial Interns: Jubilee Barton, Jay Brida, Paula George, Lorri J. 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Contributing Artists: Michael Alexander, Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Richard Bartholomew, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Carlos Lowry, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau, Gail Woods, Matt Wuerker. Managing Publisher: Cliff Olofson Subscription Manager: Stefan Wanstrom Executive Assistant: Gail Woods Special Projects Director: Bill Simmons Development Consultant: Frances Barton SUBSCRIPTIONS: One year $27. two years 548, three years $69. Full-time students $15 per year. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group. and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl.. 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor. MI 48106. Any current subscriber who finds the price a burden should say so at renewal time: no one need forgo reading the Observer simply because of the cost. copyrighted, \(I’ 477-0746. Second-class postage paid at Austin. Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE TEXAS OBSERVER, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. A Member of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Dallas TEN THOUSAND REPUBLICANS gath-. ered in this can-do city, the font of free enterprise and family values, to raise the war whoop for the coming campaign. The GOP state convention should have been in best form the presumptive Democratic nominee for President has spent most of the spring trying to defend his character from allegations of womanizing and draft-dodging while the Democrat-controlled Congress has been battered by revelations of overdrafts at the House bank. But in the same Convention Center where the Republican National Convention launched Ronald Reagan toward his second term in 1984 with George Bush in tow, Bush on June 20 returned to defend his title in Ross Perot’s home town. If Democrats were preoccupied with Perot at their state convention two weeks earlier in Houston, Republicans were downright alarmed at the prospect of fighting a two-front campaign, particularly as polls showed the high-tech Dallas billionaire pulling ahead of the incumbent President in Texas and nationwide. The attacks started in late May with White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater, who warned that a vote for Ross Perot would be supporting “a pig in the poke and a dangerous and destructive personality.” House Minority Leader Bob Michel, R-Ill., described Perot’s rise as “frightening.” Vice President Dan Quayle called Perot “a temperamental tycoon.” The alarms escalated with the release of two national polls that showed the all-but-declared candidate ahead, or at least neck-and-neck with Bush, with one-third of support in the polls. Clinton trails, but Democrats could benefit from the Perot insurgency if it takes support from Bush in Texas. Perot has qualified on the ballot in 13 states, including Texas, with another 11 states verifying signatures. The process is on track in the other states, a Perot campaign spokesperson said. If Perot wins enough states to deny either partisan candidate an electoral majority, the election is thrown into the U.S. House of Representatives, where each states’ delegation gets one vote. Democrats now dominate 31 House delegations -including a 19-8 advantage in Texas while the Republicans control 10. Eight states have evenly-divided delegations; Vermont has a single independent congressman. But in 24 delegations the margin one way or another is only one or two votes and could change. Against that background, Texas Republican Chairman Fred Meyer claimed that Perot represents an attack on democracy. “The very role of the political parties and the grassroots people who comprise them is being questioned by the independent and self-funded candidacy of Ross Perot,” Meyer wrote in an op-ed piece published in the Dallas Morning News on the eve of the convention. At a news conference, Meyer compared Perot to Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator who Meyer said gained power in 1923 with a promise to get the trains to run on time \(Mussolini actually seized power in a 1922 coup d’etati, and legitimized his rule with a rigged election in the Dallas billionaire as the more immediate threat to siphon off votes from the right. Rob Mosbacher, chairman of the. Victory ’92 Committee, which is raising funds and promoting GOP candidates in Texas, met with party officials behind closed doors to provide information for attacks on Perot and Clinton. He handed out a script of “talking issues” such as Perot’s support for abortion rights, his waffling on gun control and a state income tax and his opposition to the balanced-budget amendment, the Persian Gulf War and free trade with Mexico. The document also criticized Clinton, particularly the tax increases during his tenure as Governor of Arkansas, but later Mosbacher said Perot is more of a threat in Texas. “Perot could lose 49 other states and win Texas and it would be a psychological victory, and so we’re fully prepared to see him spare no expenses when it comes to maximizing his vote,” Mosbacher said. Clinton, on the other hand, has $55 million to spend among all the states, “so he’s at a significant disadvantage.” Mosbacher echoed the “temperamental tycoon” description of Perot, but he also opined that Perot’s anti-incumbent appeal would help Republican challengers in their attempt to gain control of Congress. “It’s … possible that half the Congress defeated by decently financed challengers. It’s an extremely volatile situation out there,” he said. U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm said American government is broken but he encouraged the convention that Republicans were best able to fix it. He said Perot will fade. “Perot has peaked out, Clinton has pooped out and George Bush has bottomed out.” Bush came on the final evening of the convention, perhaps sensitive to carpetbagging charges, citing his Texas credentials, which date back to 1948 when he moved from his native Connecticut with his wife, Barbara, to raise a family and build his business. With his characteristic exaggerated hand movements, he recited the litany to the GOP faithful and got cheers when he excoriated the “liberal Democratic-controlled Congress” as well as the news media. “Strange political year, yes, but snappy answers and glib talk will not get the job done,” EDITORIAL GOP Perotnoia 2 JuLY 4, 1992