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A JOURNAL OF FREE 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 from 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 Production: Peter Szymczak, Diana Paciocco. Copy Editor: Roxanne Bogucka Editorial Interns: Todd Basch, Carmen Garcia, Angela Hardin, Kim Young. Contributing Writers: Bill Adler, Betty Brink, Warren Burnett, Brett Campbell, Peter Cassidy, Jo Clifton, Carol Countryman, Terry FitzPatrick, James Harrington, Bill Helmer, Jim Hightower, Ellen Hosmer, Molly Ivins, Steven Kellman, Michael King, Deborah Lutterbeck, Tom McClellan, Bryce Milligan, Debbie Nathan, James McCarty Yeager. Editorial Advisory Board: David Anderson, Austin; Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, El Paso; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Dave Denison, Cambridge, Mass; Bob Eckhardt, Austin; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Austin; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Jackson, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Fort Worth; James Presley, Texarkana; Schwartz, Galveston; Fred Schmidt, Fredericksburg. Poetry Consultant: Thomas B. Whitbread Contributing Photographers: Bill Albrecht, Vic Hinterlang, Alan Pogue. Contributing Artists: Michael Alexander, Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Richard Bartholomew, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Valerie Fowler, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Carlos Lowry, Gary Oliver, 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 $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year. Back issues 53 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. INDEXES: The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981,The Texas Observer Index. copyrighted, 1994, is published biweekly except for a three-week interval 477-0746. E-mail: [email protected] Second-class postage paid at Austin, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE TEXAS OBSERVER, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. E STATE’S LARGEST newspapers, which led the cheers for Richard Fisher before the Democratic runoff for the U.S. Senate, were more circumspect after Jim Mattox’s decisive defeat. The Houston Chronicle noted that Richard Fisher’ s win was probably due to the fact that political parties no longer command the loyalties they once did. The Dallas Morning News, whose chairman goes to the same exclusive Dallas County Club as Fisher, wrote that the general election will be a test of whether Texas Democrats can recast themselves as a party that is “socially progressive and fiscally responsible.” Fisher faces a relatively popular incumbent this fall in Kay Bailey Hutchison, but the Republican junior senator returns in June to Fort Worth, where she beat an ethics prosecution this past spring, only to face a GOP whose right-wing activists threaten to purge moderates in a political jihad over abortion and other social issues. Pundits who had declared the Democratic nomination virtually worthless, given Hutchison’s presumed popularity a month ago, were somewhat surprised April 25 when a Texas Poll of likely voters in the wake of the Democratic runoff showed Fisher had pulled even with Hutchison, with 44-percent support for each candidate. Democrats should be happy at the news that Hutchison clearly is vulnerable. So why are liberal Democrats feeling so glum? Perhaps because the Democratic nominee is a wealthy investor from Highland Park who was able to spend $3.5 million on his own campaign. And he was helped by Republicans who were drawn to the open Democratic primary to protect conservative Supreme Court Justice Raul Gonzalez as well as to defeat the notoriously liberal Mattox. Fisher, an adviser to independent Ross Perot in the 1992 presidential campaign, managed to claim the Democratic nomination with a minimum of disclosure of his stance on issues outside of the fact that he has never held elective office. Jim Hightower summed up the challenge to Democratic regulars in January when he told the Texas AFL-CIO there was a battle “for the very survival of the Democratic Party, for the relevancy of the Democratic Party. If we had that unabashed, unapologetic, little-people’s Democratic Party, Ross Perot wouldn’t exist. He wouldn’t have a home; there wouldn’t be a place for him. But instead we’ve got millions of people out there going to that big-eared quirky feller because they’re not finding it in our party… “In Washington and here in Austin we’ve got too many people that we elected who are forming a new party….Now they’re `New Democrats.’ We’re `Nuvo Demos,’ don’t you know. It sounds a lot like refried Republicans to me… “You’ve got to play the cards that are dealt to youthis time. But here’s a wild and crazy idea: How about when you give your support, that you get something back? Wouldn’t that be different?” He added that the progressive wing of the party should recruit more candidates like Jim Mattox, “who you don’t have to wonder where he stands….Yes, we’ve got to fight big money and we’ve got to fight big power, but remember this: No tree is too tall for a short dog to lift his leg on.” WAT DO SHORT, not-quite-yellow ogs do now? Dee Simpson, a political strategist for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said liberals should not write off Fisher before they compare him with the Republican Hutchison. Fisher will need the help of the liberal/progressive wing of the party in the general election, Fisher’s millions of dollars in the bank notwithstanding, Simpson said. “I would encourage liberals and labor organizations to talk to this guy. Where is he on striker replacement? I would suggest they do it early and get him on the record. They’re going to find out two things: First, he’s real bright. They’re going to find that he will now look at the landscape and decide that they are important. He’s going to support some labor union stuff. We know that already. And he’s probably going to support a bunch of environmental stuff.” While Fisher comes off as a conservative compared with Mattox, Simpson said, “He probably starts off better than some of these other [Democratic] congressmen.” He added, “I’ll be real happy to elect a Demo , crat I disagree with 50 percent of the time as opposed to a Republican I disagree with 100 percent of the time.” Andy Hernandez, who recently announced his resignation as president of the nonpartisan Southwest Voter Registration Education Project in San Antonio to become head of Hispanic outreach at the Democratic National Committee, said liberals are fooling themselves if they think they EDITORIALS Yellow Dogs and Tall Trees 2MAY 6, 1994