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When Fontenot announced his candidacy, the written text of his speech, as distributed to reporters, followed the line, "But most of all I'm standing here for them," with this parenthetical instruction to the candidate: "Point to wife and kids." Nobody has to tell him to point anymore.

At a recent fundraiser at Mexican restaurant east of downtown, Fontenot moved easily among a small group of supporters. Much of the sideline chatter concerned the collapse of morality, the impending fall of civilization and what a terrible bum our president is. Then, reading his speech with what for him was an almost spirited intonation, Fontenot pressed home those themes, decrying 15-year-olds with guns, 16-year-olds having abortions, 17-year-olds graduating from high school unable to read. The barbarians are at the gate, Fontenot seemed to be saying. And then Eugene Fontenot, the politician whose dream house sits behind a high brick wall miles from the people he wants to represent, spelled it out. Too many people, he said, are worried about "how close it will get to their gate." And what made him run for Congress, Fontenot added portentously, was his own worry about "how close will it get to my gate."

Perhaps it's been a while since Fontenot checked on his spread up on Spring Stuebner, what with the campaign and all. But it's already pretty damn close to his gate. Somebody's spray-painted graffiti on his brick wall.

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Jim Simmon