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Dean Higginbotham of Georgetown. photo by Forrest Wilder TIIE ELEPIIANT IN THE ROOM Texas Republicans sport stiff upper lips at their state convention. By DAVE MANN & FORREST WILDER Fil or a few minutes at their recent state convention in Houston, Republicans actually seemed energized and unified. The brief respite from the malaise and discontent that otherwise pervaded the convention came courtesy of Mike Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor and former presidential candidate, beloved among grassroots Republicans for his charisma and fundamentalism \(not necesbegan his speech to delegates on the convention’s second day. The cheers only grew louder as he told the assembled faithful exactly what they were longing to hear: that America’s problems aren’t failings of economics or bureaucracy or politics, but rather failures of morality. “We cannot have a strong economic system if we do not have people of character,” he said to another standing ovation. “The reason we have so much government is our failure to do the right thing. If we followed Jesus’ lawdo unto others as you would have them do unto youthere would be no need for laws. You see, the best government is self-government.” Huckabee then imagined a Republican utopia. “I want you to think about a hypothetical community. I’ll call it Hucktown … In Hucktown, the crime rate is zero.” So you don’t need a lot of policeget it? “There are no high school dropouts. There’s no divorce rate and no domestic abuse… There’s not a lot of JUNE 27, 2008 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17