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Sulu Naga International Headquarters Come Visit us for LUNCH! In addition to our organic coffee, pizzas, empanadas, pastries and pies, we now prepare made to order sandwiches, salads, and even black bean gazpacho. 3601 S. Congress off E. Alpine Penn Field under the water tower check our site for monthly calendar Convention, continued from page 5 a media gathering to meet minority delegates and a “Diversity Conference?’ This time the party clearly invested the money and brought out the people in San Antoniotranslating that into votes is another matter, though. Still, the few dozen African-Americans at the convention stood out, as they tended to travel in groups. It was difficult to gauge how many Latinos participated, although a handful did mix with a majority of Anglos at the National Hispanic Republican Assembly reception. Despite Perry’s performance at the summit, he knows that his future in the primary really depends on the energy of the Anglo Christian grassroots. In his speech before all the delegates, he doled out plenty of red meat to them, mentioning his role in congressional redistricting, blasting “activist judges,” and proclaiming himself “an optimistic conservative who is pro-jobs, pro-growth, pro-family, and pro-life.” But if Perry didn’t know it going into the convention, the governor learned that many party activists are not altogether happy with his role in the seemingly endless 78th Legislature that he keeps calling back into session. And they chose the party platform as the forum to show their displeasure. The Texas GOP party platform embodies all the hopes and dreams of Gina Parker photo: Dave Mann the grassroots. They attach such importance to the platform that delegates are happy to debate it late into the evening. The final product is a fascinating document that describes a twilight world beset by horrible dangers like illegal immigration, the Internal Revenue Service, and the United Nations. It calls for the wholesale dismantling of the federal government and affirms that “the United States is a Christian nation” and that the Ten Commandments “are the basis of our basic freedoms and the cornerstone of our Western tradition?’ The platform is so extreme, Democratic Party chair Charles Soechting said to reporters during the convention, that it could qualify as “the longest political suicide note in modern Texas history?’ This year, the grassroots faithful passed a new plank in the platform urging the repeal of Perry’s transportation vision the Trans-Texas Corridorbecause it allows for eminent domain and is set up to reward commercial contractors. Surprisingly enough, the platform also recognized a growing revolt within the GOP grassroots against the school vouchers that Perry and some of his big campaign contributors want. “There was more testimony on school choice in the four days of hearing testimony than any other topic,” Richard Russell, a platform committee member told the delegates in his senate district. The activists testified to their fears that if public funding in the form of vouchers finds its way into private schools, government regulation is sure to follow. “It’s time to reverse the idea that Republicans are for vouchers,” said one delegate. “Vouchers lead to more control?’ The solution the platform framers found was a constitutional amendment to keep the government out of private schools that would be passed along with any voucher proposal. But many delegates’ true ire at Perry came from the governor’s hugely unpopular plan to legalize gambling in Texas by allowing up to 40,000 video lottery terminals. In addition to its longstanding opposition to the lottery, the platform now reads: “We oppose any further legalization, government facilitation, or financial guarantees relating to any type of gambling, including casino, riverboat, video lottery terminals liners, multi-state lotteries and other games of chance?’ When Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison spoke on Saturday, the final day of the convention, some of the loudest applause came when she said after a pause and a stern glare, “Governor Bush fought gambling in this state, and I will too.” The delegates erupted into a standing ovation. Sitting behind the senator on the stage, the convention chairperson, who has threatened to filibuster the governor’s gambling proposal, looked continued on page 23 20 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 6/18 /04