“The Trick Is Not to Act Like a Lawyer.”

Rusty Hardin, Houston’s defense attorney of the moment, the lawyer to whom the powerful and the privileged turn when they run afoul of the law, was ducking out of a Rockets game last winter when a fan yelled down at him, “Screw you, Rusty!” Rusty stopped and grinned as more abuse was heaped upon him from the stands. “Screw you, Rusty!” “Yeah, screw you!” Had Rusty sprung another celebrity client to walk free on the streets? Had another jury succumbed to his charms? Not this time: The heckling was a perverse kind of praise.

Lonesome Cowboy

If you know anything at all about David Dewhurst, the state land commissioner and Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, you probably know that he rides horses. He has carpet bombed the state with televised images that feature him sitting atop a galloping horse, wearing a spotless white hat and perfectly pressed shirt and swinging a rope over his head.

Round Two

Big Mac,

Well, here we are, nearly a year and a half into George W. Bush’s presidency—a good time to take stock. Because you and I cut our teeth on campaigns, let’s begin by judging W. by his own campaign promises.

In a time of peace, prosperity, and surplus, he promised change. Now we’ve got war and recession and deficits, so I guess he delivered. But like the man said, “Change is certain; progress is not.”

Giant

Lyndon Johnson's johnson was called Jumbo. He named it that himself. As a friend of mine pointed out, in olives, at least, jumbo is not the biggest size. LBJ was nevertheless generous in displaying Jumbo—to women, of course, and to men as well.

Life of the Party

POLITICS IS SO DELICIOUSLY unpredictable. Texas Republicans entered 2002 anticipating their second straight sweep of every statewide office and judgeship plus the election of substantial majorities in the state House and Senate. All of this may yet come to pass. But two occurrences in Dallas during the last days of winter suggest that the Democrats are far from dead.

Unfair Game

SINCE I'VE FORGOTTEN THE FIRST half of my life, it's rather difficult for me to remember my childhood, but I do recall going hunting at the wise old age of seven for the first and last time. One night my four-year-old brother, Roger, and I went coon hunting near Medina with our neighbor Cabbie. Cabbie had an old coon dog named Rip, and Roger suggested that I kiss the dog on the nose. It was the last time in my life I ever took advice from anyone who is younger than I am.

The Craddickal Right

IN THE BLOODY AFTERMATH OF the 2000 election contest, bruised from allegations of a stolen election, President-elect George W. Bush badly needed to reassure a fractured nation that he would lead with fairness and integrity. His solution? He asked his best Democratic friend in Texas, Speaker James E. "Pete" Laney, to vouch for him on national television.

Remember the Christian Alamo

THE REBEKAH HOME FOR GIRLS SITS ON A LONELY STRETCH OF SOUTH TEXAS FARMLAND, a solitary spot where, amid the switchgrass and sagebrush and fields of cotton, young sinners are sent to get right with God. On a warm Saturday in May 1999, a sixteen-year-old named DeAnne Dawsey unexpectedly found herself at its doors. Her mother had said only that their family trip to Corpus Christi would last the day, and DeAnne had no reason to doubt her.

Tony Sanchez's New Deal

Tony Sanchez loves maps. In the "war room" of his oil-and-gas company office in Laredo, the candidate for governor leads me past a long wall filled with oversized maps of Texas. "Overlay this one on that one," he says, "and you see that they're almost identical." Yes, I can see that, but I'm not sure what it means. Counties are colored according to various codes—Hispanic Voters in 2000, Potential Hispanics to Register, Registered Hispanics Who Do Not Vote. "Here's what concerns me," Sanchez says, pointing at a map of Harris County.

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