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Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson Observer Archives were treated to the John Tower Show, wherein the former Senator-turned-defense contractor assumed responsibility for investigating the Iran/Contra caper involving Greater Persia and Nicaragua. As chair of the President’s Special Review Board, Tower absolved Reagan of wrongdoing on this one couldn’t remember a goddamn thing about either of these two countries. And, of course, throughout the 1980s we had grown accustomed to the unsettling sight of Vice President Poppy Bush in the background, together with his unscrupulous adult children and his malicious wife Bar. When he assumed the presidency in 1988, the John Tower Horror Show continued: Poppy rewarded Tower for going easy on Reagan with a nomination for the position of Secretary of Defense. In humiliating testimony during his confirmation hearings, however, it emerged that Senator Tower had been drunk for most of his tenure in the United States Senate, and was not a good bet for keeping the nuclear peace. Moreover, he liked to dress up in a Superman costume and frequent Capitol Hill bars, where he lunged at the ladies. The secretary of defense, you will recall, is the person in the government responsible for advising the President to declare a war. Or not. Frightening isn’t it? Poppy’s tenure was relatively undistinguished, given the rather low expectations established for Texans in this part of the country. His crew behaved comparatively well for awhile. That is, until Poppy and his sidekick Jim Baker decided to celebrate the end of the Cold War by compulsively invading Panama. As of this moment, no one in Washington can fully recall the reason for doing this. The two invading Texans claimed they undertook this missionOperation Just Causebecause they were convinced that Panamanian “Strongman” Manuel Noriega was dealing drugs out of Central America. Unfortunately, no drugs were found, although the Special Forces did report confiscating a white powdery substance from Noriega’s refrigerator that turned out to be tortilla flour. In response to the mediocrity at the White House, Texas Democrats retaliated by placing Jim Wright in charge over at the Capitol, their own pedestrian representative. He was not the best card the Texans could have played either. He got himself marginally mixed up in the savings and loan mess, although not nearly so deeply as Neil “Don’t Steal” Bush, and was easily brought down by Newt Gingrich for improprieties that, although they netted him little, made up for it by looking really bad. Among other things, Wright assembled his speeches into a small book and sold them in bulk orders to lobbyists who wanted favors. And he allowed one of his corporate backers to put his wife Betty on the payroll for $18,000 a year while she did nothing but drive the company car. So Wright lost his job without even pocketing very much. Ooops. John Tower Observer Archives 12 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 12/3/04