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Texas Observer VOLUME 96, NO. 22 A Journal of Free Voices Since 1954 Founding Editor Ronnie Dugger Executive Editor Jake Bernstein Editor Barbara Belejack Associate Editor Dave Mann Managing Publisher Charlotte McCann Associate Publisher Jim Ball Circulation Manager Lara George Art Direction Buds Design Kitchen Poetry Editor Naomi Shihab Nye Copy Editor Roxanne Bogucka Webmaster Adrian Quesada Interns Kris Bronstad, Megan Giller, Dan Mottola, Aaron Nelsen Contributing Writers Nate Blakeslee, Gabriela Bocagrande, Robert Bryce, Michael Erard, James K. Galbraith, Dagoberto Gilb, Steven G. Kellman, Lucius Lomax, James McWilliams, Char Miller, Debbie Nathan, Karen Olsson, John Ross Staff Photographers Alan Pogue, Jana Birchum. Contributing Artists Sam Hurt, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Gary Oliver, Doug Potter, Penny Van Horn Editorial Advisory Board David Anderson, Chandler Davidson, Dave Denison, Sissy Farenthold, John Kenneth Galbraith, Lawrence Goodwyn, Jim Hightower, Kaye Northcott, Susan Reid. In Memoriam Bob Eckhardt, 1913-2001, Cliff Olofson, 1931-1995 Texas Democracy Foundation Board Lou Dubose, Ronnie Dugger, Marc Grossberg, Molly Ivins, D’Ann Johnson, Jim Marston, Gilberto Ocgias, Bernard Rapoport, Geoffrey Rips. tents copyrighted 2004, is published biweekly except every dation, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. E-mail [email protected] World Wide Web DownHome page . Periodicals Postage Paid at Austin, Texas. Subscriptions One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year; add $13/year for foreign subs. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. 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. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. The Books & the Culture section is partially funded through grants from the City of Austin under the auspices of the Austin Arts Commission and the Writer’s League of Texas, both in cooperation with the Texas Commission on the Arts. Democrats detected a hint of desperation in Speaker Tom Craddick’s November 3 announcement of 119 pledges from his colleagues in the state House in support of his reelection. They noted the ongoing Travis County grand jury investigation. A second set of indictments is expected, and many speculate that Craddick’s name may be among them. With the election losses of key lieutenants like to look at the speaker’s team and not see holes. While the Republicans who raised their voices against the Midland Republican prior to the 78th Legislaturedubbed the ABCs mute, presumably they are just waiting for an opportunity. “He did it to take away the debate,” said one Craddick confidant about the release of the pledges. While it may have the desired effect in the short term, a serious debate continues underground, and it could well intensify. It’s another sign that Texas Republicans may not be sitting as pretty as some think. “They say the darkest hour is right before the dawn,” Bob Dylan sang, and Texas progressiveswith hard work, focus, and energyhold the power to make those words true. The election victories of Chet Edwards, Hubert Vo, Mark Strama, and Lupe Valdez all offer lessons for future campaigns. We need forums where those experiences can be studied and shared. Many progressive-minded politicians and activists both Democrats and Republicans have begun a real process of reassessment. As a contribution to that effort, the current issue features conversations with two rising stars among Texas Democratic campaign consultants. In the coming year, the Observer will continue to be a journal of free voices and a place to disseminate new ideas and approaches. Independent media outlets are needed now more than ever. The last few months have seen severe cutbacks in news departments across the nation, and particularly in Texas. This comes at a time when some Republicans have openly sneered at the “reality-based” community. We believe in a Fourth Estate dedicated to the public, not the corporate interest. At the Observer, we remain committed to investigating and revealing reality, as well as finding the truth behind the cacophony of spin used to mask a growing chorus of bad news. It’s time to rekindle a sense of insurgency. As part of that effort, progressive politicians and activists must want to win more than bicker amongst themselves over who is most right. No sooner had the election night returns been finalized than the two wings of the Democratic Party set about detaching from each other and barreling in opposite ideological directions. Everybody should be able to agree that the National Democratic Party has no future as Republican lite. Yet there are questions whose answers require deeper thought. What are the most important differences between the two parties? Are there values that hold together the disparate coalition of interests that is the Democratic Party? Hatred of George W. Bush is no longer enough, because in four years that will be a moot point. There are shared values that differentiate us from the radicals that control the state and federal government. And whether it’s work over wealth or responsibility to the community over individual greed, these values reach into the deepest myths of who we are as Texans and Americans. EDITORIAL Climbing Back 11/19/04 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3