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[Meet the Author!] Robert Bryce Pipe Dreams Tuesday 11 Feb 7pm Based on interviews with more than 200 current and former Enron employees, as well as Wall Street analysts and dozens of company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Pipe Dreams tells the story of the greed, sex, and excess that strangeld the seventh-largest corporation in America. My jaw dropped for the first time before I was ten pages into Pipe Dreams, and I laughed out loud for the first time before I was twenty pages into it. And it just kept going like that through the whole book…. Ivins To have a book signed, you must purchase it from BookPeople. Hey, you wouldn’t bring your own beer to a bar, would you? Bookstore Giftshop Coffeehouse 9 am 11 pm everyday 603 N. Lamar 472-5050 order online at: sense MAO*A Community Bound By Books, GET THE STATE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS ON-LINE Investigative reporting; the wit and good sense of Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower; Political Intelligence; cultural analysis; and much more. Dialogue, continued from page 2 wheels in their living rooms. Does this reasoning sound convoluted? I agree. The fact is that there are dozens of factors that play into any election result. The Republicans, for example, have had the Reform Party to contend with in every election since 1992. Somehow they have managed to persevere. If only Jesse Ventura hadn’t screwed up that party, maybe they would have polled better in Florida, and we wouldn’t be having this discussion. If only, if only…where does it end? Still, for those who want to play this game, a ranking of factors responsible for Gore’s demise has to start with Gore himself. The economy was humming, his opponent was half the man Gore was in terms of experience and intellect. Gore had three chances to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man on national television and still couldn’t knock him out. Somehow he even managed to lose his own home state, and Arkansas, too. Clinton’s sexual proclivities didn’t help any, but people are tired of blaming him, I guess. But the problem in the Democratic party runs deeper than Clinton’s philandering or Gore’s debate skills. Under the direction of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, the party methodically alienated its core supporters in the Clinton era. Nader wasn’t the only one who refused to be a team player, after all. How about the Steelworkers? They used to be good for $5 million in soft money per cycle, but stopped giving to the Democratic National Committee after Clinton passed NAFTA. How many votes would an extra $5 million have turned out? Let’s blame them. Or how about the Teamsters? Those bastards were doing photo ops with Bush on the campaign trail, and didn’t even endorse Gore until September. The UAW, for its part, didn’t get on board until August. Together the Teamsters and the Automakers have over 50,000 members in Florida. How many votes would it have been worth if these unions had started whole-hearted campaigns on behalf of Gore in January? Six hundred? If somebody points the finger at just one factor of many, it usually means they have an axe to grind. The source of the outrage here, it seems to me, is that Ralph is one of us; he should have known better. Nobody knows better than Ralph Nader how government works. This whole argument is predicated on the unfortunate idea that Ralph stole all of those votes, that they somehow belonged to the Democrats. But nobody owns the voters.You have to earn their trust, just like you have to earn the Steelworkers’ money. For many, that was the whole point of the Nader candidacy: to hold the Democrats accountable. Nobody wanted Bush, but many simply could not continue to participate in the charade. If you don’t believe the national Democratic Party is beholden to its corporate benefactors, ask Senator Russ Feingold. He’s neck deep in it everyday. Gore’s loss should have prompted some serious soulsearching on the part of the national party leadership on where the party is headed. Judging from the official reaction to the Democrats’ losses in the mid-term elections, it doesn’t sound like any lessons have been learned. 20 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 1/31/03