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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Raise some hell

Manda is half of Friday Chick Blogging.

I'm a bit sad.

Former Texas Governor Ann Richards died Wednesday. She's the kind of woman who is often called a "firecracker" — outspoken, driven and spunky.

Gov. Ann Richards
Most people can genuinely enjoy the fact that Richards gave George W. Bush a run for his money (though he beat her for Texas Governor in 1994). At the 1988 Democratic National Convention she was talking about our current president's father when she said, "Poor George, he can't help it — he was born with a silver foot in his mouth."


Buck would like Ann Richards because she refused to answer questions about her past drug use. Accusations came at her during her first, successful run for governor stemming from her friendship with Willie Nelson.

"By continuing to raise these questions," she said when asked about the charges in a debate, "I think we are sending a very sad message to a lot of people who think that if they seek treatment they will forever bear the stigma of their addiction."

Even after defeat, when Bush beat Richards in her incumbent run for Texas Governor, she spoke of her defeat gracefully and defiantly. As one of the last Democrats elected to statewide office in Texas, Richards said if she could do it all again, she'd, "Raise some more hell."

I admire Ann Richards for working her ass off and still getting a laugh out of it. As governor, Richards appointed minorities and women to commissions and boards without them. She expanded prisons, but did so thoughtfully by starting programs to help inmates with addiction problems.

Seeing leaders of today makes me long for a firecracker like Ann Richards. An honest, direct person who tells it like it is. Who does that today? Who?! Unlike leaders today, Richards' words were genuine, thoughtful, sassy and smart. And she didn't put up with shit, either.

In honor of a great politician who worked for progress, equal rights and change — in the Lone Star State, of all places — raise a little hell. It'll probably help a lot more than it'll hurt. And if you find yourself in a pickle, listen to the words of a wise woman.

"I have very strong feelings about how you lead your life. You always look ahead, you never look back."

Buck adds:

And let's not forget that Richards is the person against whom Karl Rove and Co. refined their smear-campaign playbook. In much the same way that John Kerry's patriotic military service to our country was called into question by supposedly independent groups (i.e. the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth), Richards was accused of being a lesbian. In Texas.

The same inclusiveness that Manda mentions was an invitation for the unscrupulous to torpedo her campaign:
Ann Richards was a socially progressive and inclusive governor of Texas, appointing a few gays and lesbians to state boards and commissions. In 1994, Rove pinpointed this as an issue certain to help George W. Bush win election in a conservative state. Of course, Rove was not about to let his candidate broach the subject himself. Instead, he worked through Republican operatives in East Texas. Rumors soon began to circulate through coffee shops and agricultural co-ops that implied Gov. Richards, an unmarried woman, might be a lesbian. Without identifying the topic, she acknowledged she was being hurt. "You know what it's about," she told reporters, dismissively, after being asked about the rumors. "And I'm not talking about it."

But Republican state Sen. Bill Ratliff from East Texas, who was also Bush's regional coordinator for that part of the state, was quoted in newspapers as criticizing Richards for "appointing avowed homosexual activists" to state jobs. The rumors were then given a form of legitimacy and widely reported. Then just as he did with Kerry and the Swift Boat controversy, Rove had Bush step forward as a voice of understanding and reason. "The senator doesn't speak for me," Bush told reporters. "I don't know anything about what he's talking about. I'm trying to run an issues-oriented campaign."


Anonymous Toothpick said...

I look forward to Fridays so I can read more from Mandasaurus. Keep up the good work Mandasaurus! Your contribution balances out the blog very nicely. Buck and G-gnome, get her to post more often.

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