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POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE …WHO NEEDS ENEMIES? Governor Bush was in Indianapolis last month, delivering the keynote speech to a Midwestern Republican gathering widely reported to be the opening beauty pageant in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. “I left my swimsuit at home,” said Bush. Also schmoozing the party faithful were Hoosier homeboy Dan Quayle, feuding flat-taxers Jack Kemp and Steve Forbes, lonesome Lamar Alexander, and rising television star livered his predictable endorsements of balanced budgets, personal responsibility, vate property, free trade, and “faith-based” transformation of a “culture that has failed.” You would have thought all these touchstones would have set off right-wing sparks, but afterward conservative pundits were complaining that the Guv had failed to inspire the troops. An Indiana delegate told the Dallas Morning News that Bush’s presentation was “a little weak,” and Republican handicapper Robert Novak quoted another old party hand, “I’d say George was the dullest knife in the pantry.” Bush had to return to Texas to get some respect, and from an unlikely quarter. Democratic Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock turned up at a Bush fundraiser in Austin, reportedly “out of respect” for Bush’s “magnificent job as governor.” Bullock contributed $2,500 to Bush’s campaign, and added that he would be “proud to call him my president.” Garry Mauro, Land Commissioner and Bush’s all-but-declared opponent in the 1998 gubernatorial election, might be getting just a wee bit put out at his former boss’ enthusiasm for Governor Bush. Earlier this summer, Bullock told reporters that Bush is virtually “unbeatable,” and that taking him on would be a “kamikaze mission.” Bullock did chip in for Mauro’s campaignbut only a measly $1,000. A spokesman for Mauro declined to comment on Bullock’s praise for Bushmaybe he needs to consult with more Indiana Republicans. OBEY THE LAW. Bush told the Indiana Republicans that Americans need to remember, “You are responsible for what you do,” and that in Texas everyone is required to obey the law. Apparently, the Guy’s a little selective when the law applies to himself. 16 THE TEXAS OBSERVER On August 29, the Texas AFL-CIO filed suit to force Bush to obey the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, which states that the governor “shall alternate the chairmanship [of the Compensation Commission] between the members who are employers and the members who are wage earners.” The union lawsuit, filed in Travis County District Court, alleges that Bush broke the law when he appointed an employer representative, Richard Reynolds, to chair the commission in September 1995 \(removing employee representative O.D. Kenemore then when he failed to appoint a wageearning chairman on February 1 of 1997, as the law requires. Reynolds remains chairman; the lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment to compel the governor to appoint a wage-earner as chair. In announcing the lawsuit, Texas AFLCIO President Joe Gunn blasted Bush on issues “of importance to working people,” calling his record the worst in several generations. “George Bush’s labor policy,” said Gunn, “is that the boss always wins.” By the way, in Indianapolis Bush had his own kind words for the national AFL-CIO, blaming union pressure on President Clinton for delaying the Governor’s attempt to privatize the Texas welfare system. SPACEBALLS. Secretary of State Tony Garza visited Houston for a photo-op and to try out a new procedure whereby astronauts will be able to vote from space. Previously, state law precluded voting when an absentee ballot couldn’t be mailed, making Garza the astronaut vote last November.” \(Astronaut John Blaha was prevented from voting Now astronauts will be able to vote by email, a change Garza welcomed, he said, because “We had an individual who clearly wanted to participate in the process.” The singularity of Garza’s sudden generosity was not lost on advocates for disabled voters, since he has steadfastly refused to accommodate them in voting procedures. After an El Paso federal court ruled that blind voters must be allowed the technical means for secret ballots, Garza appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit, where he successfully defended his refusal to supply blind voters with already avail able technology for secret ballots. James C. Harrington, legal director for the Texas Civil Rights Project, blasted Garza for his space-publicity stunt. “The anomaly is,” said Harrington, “that he has contributed more than any other official in the United States to dashing the hopes of blind voters to finally exercise the secret ballot like other Americansand further discourage their participation in polling.” Harrington reminded Garza that not long ago, Mexican Americans who didn’t read English well were required to have others mark their ballots for themjust as blind voters must do now. Perhaps, to persuade the Secretary of State to accord them the rights of all U.S. citizens, disabled Americans should apply to NASA for space duty. EL PASO AUCARTEIYISM. Once again, the El Paso library has sent out a call for would-be epic novelists to pick up their very sharpest pens, for the Not-Cormac Writing Contest. In the sly spirit of the fake Ernest Hemingway and faux William Faulkner writing competitions, the library’s 1997 Border Voices Literary Festival has issued a call for writers to submit their own outrageous parodies of El Pasoan Cormac McCarthy’s unique writing style, immortalized in such internationally acclaimed novels as Blood Meridian, All the Pretty Horses, and The Crossing. First prize includes cash and publication, and an invitation to read at the Festival, held in El Paso in early November. Deadline for postmarked entries is October 24, 1997; for rules and details call contest organizer \(and Observer edu “. The contest mailing address is “NotCormac Writing Contest,” c/o Nathan, 511 Randolph Street, El Paso 79902. Last year’s first place winner was El Paso schoolteacher Derek Svennungsen, whose entry began, “The traveler now arrived at that anticipated place where the unenviable scene would soon play itself out in the glowing darkness of the fallen evening….” The Observer’s own Don Graham placed second. As it happens \(Nathan swears it’s a coinceremony will coincide with the annual convention of the Cormac McCarthy Society, to be held in El Paso the same weekend SEPTEMBER 12, 1997