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IIEI Emmet J . J011111141 HOW A DULL EXTERIOR MASKS ONE OF THE MOST CONSERVATIVE RECORDS IN THE U.S. SENATE. By DAVE MANN emocratic strategists in Texas have been telling anyone who will listen for the past year that they can defeat John Cornyn, the state’s junior U.S. senator, in November. This is big talk for a party that hasn’t won a statewide race since 1994 and hasn’t held Cornyn’s senate seat in 47 years. But they have some fancy polling data to back it up. More than a third of Texans wouldn’t know their junior senator if he fell on them. They call this “name ID” ing business. Cornyn’s is abysmal for a politician who’s served as a Texas Supreme Court justice, state attorney general, and, for the past six years, U.S. senator. Of those who do know Cornyn, fewer than 50 percent view him favorablydangerous territory for an incumbent seeking re-election. Some of those same polls show him running closely with Democratic opponent Rick Noriega. But you don’t need polling data to know that Cornyn can be beaten. Just watch him give a speech. “Dull” is an understatement. When Cornyn spoke at the Republican state convention on June 13, for instance, the excitement leveleven among the 5,000 ardent Republicans assembled in a downtown Houston convention centerresembled a chamber music recital more than a rock concert. They offered Cornyn polite applause, but nothing near the standing ovations for the state’s senior senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison, or for former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Cornyn looks like a senator: He’s tall and lanky, with wispy white hair over the kind of broad, distinguished face that makes him look deliberative all the time. He’s also blessed with the bearing and charisma of a tax attorney. He doesn’t connect with audiences; he talks at them. In Houston in June, his deadpan delivery rendered the convention speech instantly forgettable. 8 THE TEXAS OBSERVER AUGUST 8, 2008 1C11,1,1, ….:’d. :;’.V….. ii in s gk k Z ‘”SZS>IZZIM. ..V.:Eig4r*.% r k:i176,71:11,74′: z :b’ s erl L” ‘S a IL ,,,,, ,,,,, AIRLYZA ,11:1 \\Z.11 “0.,%1,Zrkl ik …r 21 i t I a l 1 !.111 ” “MIS” IN” v iTZI11 S. 1St:VP ; .:14 ZZ lox Wok% V1111.111 a IlMaaaallIIMS* . ItsIssalli1111* .s. “…”,\\\\VILVOLV, aftsgssawlmiaa movanxikamwm ,,,,,, ..,,,vihNX\\X\\VNIV, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ..Z.1%,..7roa,,,vomboo: %%%%% 1111.111.1.101 \\ l ia VIOLZSi a ,tW ….. ;::: .a. Z. 17.V