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sources that were high inside the Bush camp, a lot of people who could not corroborate that they talked to Hatfield, especially after what happened to Hatfield in public. Also, a lot of times when Hatfield talked to those sources, he was using a pseudonym.” Why Hatfield would need a pseudonym to interview Midland folks who over the past year have welcomed reporters trooping through their living rooms by the gross, remains a mystery. In the new edition Hatfield does respond to Colloff’ s charges, after a fashion. He includes Colloff along with St. Martin’s and Pete Slover of the Dallas Morning News \(who broke the story of Hatfield’s criminal Fortunate Son a bestseller. And Hatfield repeats, of course, the feverish revelations of the Afterword, in which Hatfield claims three confidential and foreverto-be-unnamed sources a “former Yale classmate … who also partied with [Bush] in Houston,” “a longtime Bush friend and unofficial political adviser,” and “a high-ranking adviser to Bush who had known the presidential candidate for several years” privately confirmed Hatfield’s speculation that George W.’s 1972 sercourt-ordered quid pro quo in return for expunging the record of a drug bust. As Hatfield tells it in his pop-gothic, soap-opera prose \(replete with brooding references to his three highly-placed Bush intimates would be persuaded by Hatfield’s intrepid reportorial bluffing that he had the goods on Dubya: “With each of them I would have to claim that I had numerous sources who were confirming the allegations ‘on the record,’ but I would be willing to give my confidential sources an opportunity to put a positive spin on the potentially damaging revelations before the book was published. Basically, I would tell them I was holding a royal flush, when in reality I would be sitting at the table with nothing at all.” Hatfield’s poor outfoxed sources are indeed helpless before such a brilliant stratagem, and they can only shrug grimly and confirm \(in dialogue equally as turgid as that “quoted” by Hatfield thor’s ingenious theory. One source \(dubbed “The Eufaula Connection” because he earlier insisted on meetpauses long enough to ask, “You’re not on one of those goddam cordless phones, are you?” When he calls back thirty minutes later, this supposedly current Bush political adviser proceeds to give Hat field a lecture on the hypocrisy and stupidity A Sander Hicks of his own candidate, who should have known better than to discuss drug use with reporters. Then he warns Hatfield darkly to “watch his back,” reminding the author about Poppy Bush’s tenure at the C.I.A. \(where apparently they’ve for A J. H. Hatfield Nancy Hatfield ing, Hatfield’s reportorial eyesight is extraordinary: he can see his telephone interlocutor “pausing occasionally to spit tobacco juice into the ever-present Styrofoam cup.” \(We’re in Texas, git This is astoundingly silly, preposterous stuff, of the sort only a truly credulous or greedy publisher could fall for. Hatfield is certainly not the first dog to go barking up the Dubya-in-Houston tree. Reporters have been speculating about that period \(which includes and worrying relentlessly at the anomaly of the feckless young George volunteering for public service in the Third heretofore aimless George needed some volunteer work on his political rsum, and was persuaded by his Dad to hang out with the former pro football players and Republican sycophants in Project PULL. But the persistent rumor of community-service-as-alternative-punishment \(which Hatfield says, nonsensically, “no one else has be true. But the version of the story concocted in Fortu nate Son reads like extremely poor fiction, which is what it apparently is. If Hatfield indeed managed by means of a few heavy-breathing phone calls to highly-placed Friends of Bush, to triply confirm a story that has no public sources then he’s the greatest reporter since Cassandra. But he certainly won’t meet the same fate. What appears to have happened is that St. Martin’s, wanting a quickie bio to ride the early Bush wave, hired a fast and efficient journeyman who delivered a retread book on time \(specifically and cynically calculated to derail the release of Bill Minutaglio’s thoroughly reported First touched with the hard-selling, pseudo-populist cynicism that is stock in trade for the tabloids \(where Soft Skull is now attempting enough indeed, like its subject, it’s boring and it failed to deliver the goods on cocaine at the very moment when Campaign 10 THE TEXAS OBSERVER FEBRUARY 18, 2000