Tom Foolery

Tusk, tusk—will Texas Republicans ever get along? Plus: Drawing the line on redistricting.

THE LEGACY OF THE TUMULTUOUS Republican state convention in San Antonio is that the state GOP is headed for open warfare between its mainstream and ultraconservative factions. The defining incident of the convention was not the unsuccessful attempt by pro-life dissidents to prevent U.S. senator Kay Bailey Hutchison from becoming a delegate to the Republican National Convention in San Diego. It was the successful overthrow of Governor George W. Bush as the chairman of the Texas delegation to San Diego, in which the essential perpetrator was none other than state Republican chairman Tom Pauken. By tradition the chairmanship should have been Bush’s, and he was nominated in the delegation meeting. But the ultraconservatives—most of them grass-roots party activists with an antiestablishment bent—object to Bush’s cooperative relationship with Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock and other state Democratic leaders, and they nominated Christian Coalition leader Dick Weinhold for chairman. Wisely, Weinhold declined and backed Bush. Then Pauken was nominated. Amazingly, he did not decline. A compromise was worked out that allowed Bush to be honorary chairman; Bush later said no thanks. Make no mistake about it: The governor and the chairman of the state party are at war.

This is not their first clash. As titular leader of the state party, Bush had planned to head up the unified statewide Republican effort, known as Victory ’96, but he was blocked by Pauken. Instead, the Republican campaign effort will be split. Bush will serve as chairman of—and raise money for—the Dole political organization in Texas, while Pauken will have to handle phone banks and voter registration drives without the help of Bush’s name or fundraising ability. A faltering Victory ’96 could adversely

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