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ni t i t TOMS Commission on the Arts Cuhucul Art. Division ERT LELEUX East Texas native Robert Leleux, author of The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy, lives and writes in New York City, where he is working on an oral history of Sissy Farenthold. His column will run in this space in every other Observer issue. Ruth Pennebaker’s column debuts in the next issue. TEX IN THE CITY Always True to Us, Darling, in Her Fashion ET ME BEGIN BY SAYING THAT I FEEL BAD FOR KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON. It couldn’t have been easy to carve out a niche for herself in the Republican boys’ club. Or to slowly climb the rungs of power, ever-conscious of Poise, Dignity and Self-Possession, only to watch Sarah Palin become her party’s first female vice presiden tial nominee. \(Honestly, how would you like to be passed up for a ing a gubernatorial primary to an unpopular incumbent whose strategy seems to be acting as much like a certifiable lunatic as possible without being committed to the Rusk County Sanitarium. I mean, zut alors, as they say in Port Arthur. Won’t somebody give a sucker an even break? Having said that, Hutchison does leave something to be desired. OK: She leaves a lot to be desired, and never more so than on the issue of reproductive choice. I’ve been researching Hutchison’s position on choice, and I have to admit that, at first, I was a trifle confused: How could a politician who describes herself as pro-choice consistently vote for measures restricting reproductive freedom? Wait: You did know that Hutchison has always identified as pro-choice, didn’t you? If not, it’s understandable. I wasn’t aware of it myself until Muffle Moroney, one of Houston’s most admirable Democratic activists, told me a story. In 1989, when Hutchison ran against Nikki Van Hightower for state treasurer, fundraisers held a luncheon for Hutchison in a private room at Brennan’s, one of the Bayou City’s most elegant eateries. The guests included some of Houston’s most accomplished and progressive professional women. Many were inclined to support the liberal Van Hightower, and the purpose of the luncheon was to convince them that Hutchison was the more viable candidate. Though Moroney had known and liked Hutchison since their days as girls at Camp Longhorn, she hadn’t yet determined to back her campaign. That afternoon, however, she found herself swayed. “Ann Richards was leaving the state treasurer’s office in order to run for governor, and Kay encour aged us to see her as running with Ann. She said that on the cars of professional women throughout Dallas, her bumper stickers were placed beside Ann’s.” Politicians didn’t come any more pro-choice than Richards. \(The ex-governor’s daughter, Cecile, now heads the Planned After Hutchison’s speech, guests asked questions. Moroney recalled standing and saying, “I need to know your position on Roe v. Wade and choice.” To which Hutchison replied, according to Moroney, “I am totally pro-choice, and I support Roe v. Wade.” On this basis, many of the women present offered Hutchison their supportto their subsequent regret. “Later, when I saw the way she voted in the Senate, I felt like I’d been stabbed in the back,” Moroney said. “Apparently, Kay’s definition of pro-choice is very different from mine. She seems to feel that you can, in principle, support reproductive freedom while working to pass laws prohibiting that freedom. And to me, that’s like saying a person has the right to walk, and then shackling them.” Now, I myself have said certain things I haven’t quite meant after spending a few heavenly hours at Brennan’s. So, on the theory that people who dine in glass bistros oughtn’t throw stones, I figured I’d do a little digging before casting aspersions Hutchison’s way. After hearing Moroney’s story, I swam into the history of the senator’s voting record on choice. THE TEXAS OBSERVER contents copyrighted 2010, is published biweekly except during April, July, October and December, when . Periodicals Postage paid in Austin, TX, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: The Texas Observer, 307 W. 7th St., Austin TX 78701. Subscriptions: 1 yr $35, 2 yr $60, 3 yr $85. Students $20. Foreign, add $13 to domestic price. Back issues $5. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N Zeeb Rd, 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. INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING is supported in part by a grant from the Open Society Institute. BOOKS & THE CULTURE is funded in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts. Ap IPP71 OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE & Soros Foundat,ons Nemork 26 THE TEXAS OBSERVER WWW.TEXASOBSERVER.ORG