The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Saturday, June 02, 2007

Keeping Some Odd Knowledge

Many Americans not familiar with Texas politics might not know that when President Bush was governor, his favorite friend in Austin was Lt. Governor Bob Bullock (D). Bullock served in the state legislature for 40 years and served as Lt. Governor for Ann Richards (my father always called her the evil stepmother, as in the Grimm's Fairy Tales) and for George W. Bush. The Civil War began the path of Texas as a solid Democratic Party state and it remained so for 100 years until the Texas Republican Party began its ascent in 1984. Some say that Texas was Democrat when God made dirt.

Bob Bullock was a Texas Democrat, which meant that politics stopped at the door of the Capitol (not). We all know and understand that to be a Democrat is to be above all that partisan politic thing. What non-Texans often find interesting is that in Texas, our Lt. Gov. has the power--and Bob Bullock knew how to roll Governor Bush every time. Molly Ivans writes provocatively:
Bullock, the late lieutenant governor and W's political mentor in Texas, could be and often was meaner than a skilletful of rattlesnakes. Bush's story is that one time, Bullock cordially informed him that he was about to **** him. Bush stood up and kissed Bullock, saying, "If I'm gonna get ****, at least I should be kissed." It probably happened, but I guarantee you Bullock won the fight. Bush never got what made Bullock more than just a supermacho pol -- the old son of a bitch was on the side of the people. Mostly.

And for once, I agree with Molly. Bullock was an Imperial Texas Democrat, the kind for whom even the dead show up to cast their heavenly vote.

The K.O.O.K. (Keeper of Odd Knowledge) division of my memory recalls that during the 2000 campaign, Rush Limbaugh ran a "phone call" of President G.H.W. Bush trying to teach his son the phrase, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" because of the zealous nature with which then-Governor Bush was criticizing other Republicans campaigning for the presidency. So, in this current saga of "criticizing the base", it should be duly noted that this is not the first time.

As Peggy Noonan so eloquently states:
One of the things I have come to think the past few years is that the Bushes, father and son, though different in many ways, are great wasters of political inheritance. They throw it away as if they'd earned it and could do with it what they liked. Bush senior inherited a vibrant country and a party at peace with itself. He won the leadership of a party that had finally, at great cost, by 1980, fought itself through to unity and come together on shared principles. Mr. Bush won in 1988 by saying he would govern as Reagan had. Yet he did not understand he'd been elected to Reagan's third term. He thought he'd been elected because they liked him. And so he raised taxes, sundered a hard-won coalition, and found himself shocked to lose the presidency, and for eight long and consequential years. He had many virtues, but he wasted his inheritance.

Bush the younger came forward, presented himself as a conservative, garnered all the frustrated hopes of his party, turned them into victory, and not nine months later was handed a historical trauma that left his country rallied around him, lifting him, and his party bonded to him. He was disciplined and often daring, but in time he sundered the party that rallied to him, and broke his coalition into pieces. He threw away his inheritance. I do not understand such squandering.

Now conservatives and Republicans are going to have to win back their party. They are going to have to break from those who have already broken from them. This will require courage, serious thinking and an ability to do what psychologists used to call letting go. This will be painful, but it's time. It's more than time.

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Nancy Coppock, 6/02/2007 09:30:00 AM |