Postmaster: If undeliverable, send Form 3579 to The Texas Observer, 307 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701 POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE “WHO IS ROSS PEROT, and why is he still here?” With that paraphrase of Admiral James Stockdale’s opening line in the 1992 vice-presidential debate begins the Perot Periodical, published and edited by Micah Sifry, managing editor of The Nation. In his lead editorial, Sifry recognizes the influence of the Quayle Quarterly, which went down with the Quayle vice presidency, but explains that the Perot quarterly will be more serious in tone than the Quayle publication. “One of our goals is to try to hold Perot accountable. \(We and our readers are going to have a lot of fun issue, due out in late September, includes Observer Publisher Ronnie Dugger on Perot’s dictatorial tendencies, Dallas-born Craig Unger on the synthetic nature of the grass in Perot’s grassroots movement, and an insider’s account of the Perot machine written by Bob Erwin, a retired New York schoolteacher active in the Perot campaign since 1992. Also, economics writer James North reviews Perot’s second Hyperion book released in this year: Save Your Job, Save Our Country. Subscriptions are $15 for one year, $28 for two years, from the Perot Periodical, PO Box 435, Riverdale, NY 10471. MALE SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION? Or the poetry of Dylan Thomas? Hard to tell by reading the Texas Association of Insurance Agents’ September 3 bulletin, in which the editor observed that the State Board of Insurance “did not go softly into the night.” Though the insurance lobby did not wax poetic, it did grouse prosaic: “In a series of marathon meetings over the last 5 days of its rule-making authority, SBI \(including its newest member, Gov. ANN RICHARDS’ reaching rules directed at insurer’s and agents’ rights to underwrite their business.” What State Board of Insurance rules are the insurance boys so upset about? One is a Consumer Bill of Rights proposed by the Office of Public Counsel. The objectionable language in the bill of rights was a warning to consumers: “You have the right to be told in writing … why you are being denied access to less expensive coverage offered by other insurance companies represented by your agent.” The agents’ lobby also took issue with a rule prohibiting “underwriting prac tices that have the purpose or effect of dis criminating on the basis of race, color, religion, geographic, location, age, sex, or disability, with exceptions for some discrimination based on sound actuarial practice.” And, a rule “prohibiting insurers from declining an auto or residential property application solely because the applicant was declined by another company or insured by a county mutual; and a rule prohibiting insurers from “nonrenewing an auto policy or requiring an exclusion endorsement as a condition of renewal because a family member reaches driving age.” The agent group predicts that insurers will go to court to challenge the above-mentioned and other rules passed by the Board of Insurance shortly before it lost its rule-making authority due to legislative insurance reform. THE GAME BEGINS. With President Clinton’s health-care reform plan finally on the table, the public will have to make its voice heard above the monied interests seeking to divert the reforms, which seems to be the Republican approach favored by Senators Phil Gramm and Kay Hutchison, or scuttle them entirely, which would suit much of the health care industry. Lisa McGiffert of Consumers Union is a Texas spokeswoman for the progressive Universal Health Care Action Network, which supports a single-payer solution modeled after the Canadian national health care system. She said individual progressive groups will have their own approaches toward improving the Clinton plan, but they basically still support the goals of the American Health Security McDermott, D-Wash., and Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn. The bill would replace the 1,500 private insurers with one national insurer that would offer comprehensive coverage and a choice of health providers for all Americans. It has 89 House co-sponsors, including Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas and Craig Washington of Houston, and five Senate co-sponsors but “the media is focusing on the Clinton plan and the Republican plan as if they are the only two plans out there, which frustrates the progressives. We want people to push their Congressional representatives and their senators to say that radical change is what we really need,” she said, “because people are going to be pulling really hard on the right also to preserve the status quo.” WE CAN’T STAND PAT. That’s the approach the Christian Coalition is taking with the Clinton Administration and in a recent mailing the organization laments “liberals and left-wing radicals now in control of both the White House and the Congress.” The coalition, founded in 1989 by televangelist Pat Robertson, monitored Congressional voting from February through May of 1993, focusing on such topics as “Taxpayer Funding of Pornography,” “Clinton Pork-Barrel Spending Program,” and “School Prayer.” Texas Republican Senator Phil Gramm voted with the coalition 100 percent of the time. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson did not take office until after the monitored votes were cast. \(Democratic Senators Paul Wellstone of Minnesota and Ted Kennedy of Boston Texas House delegation members voting 100 percent “Christian” were Sam Johnson, R-Plano; Bill Archer, R-Houston; Larry Combest, R-Lubbock, Tom Delay, R-Sugar Land; Henry Bonilla, R-San Antonio; and Dick Armey, R-Lewisville. Only Houston Democrat Craig Washington and Dallas Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson earned the distinction of a “0” voting record. Earning 8 percent by casting one vote the coalition agreed with were John Bryant, D-Dallas; Jack Brooks, D-Beaumont; Ron Coleman, DEt Paso; Henry B. Gonzalez, D-San Antonio; and Martin Frost, D-Dallas. Robertson might seem a little unfocused on television and his claim to have prayed a hurricane away from the Atlantic Coast a few years ago might have left a few secular meteorologists scratching their heads, but his coalition is no joke. They have proven themselves effective local political organizers, with their sights set on school boards, city councils and the First Amendment. Over the past 12 months, they claim to have “sponsored 69 Citizen Action Training Schools all across America to teach Christians how to take effective political action and even run for political office, established new chapters in all 50 states, bringing the total number of Christian Coalition chapters to 865, distributed 40 million non-partisan voter guides to inform citizens where candidates for elected office stand on key issues, and distributed 10 milContinued on page 23 24 OCTOBER 1, 1993
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