Bill White for Governor of Texas

October 30, 2010

Even the conservative, often stuck-in-the-mud Dallas Morning News endorsed Bill White to take the governor’s chair.  Texas needs people to be smart about this race.

Bill White with Texas guys

Bill White with Texas guys - KVRX photo

According to the DMN editorial on October 16:

Record of pragmatism

Democrat Bill White is better-suited to steer this ship of state through the challenges ahead.

The former mayor of Houston is a fiscal conservative with a progressive bent. He’s more pragmatic than partisan. He’s proven himself competent in business and in public office. Indeed, he’s a bit of a throwback – in the best Texas tradition of the businessman governor.

We don’t make this recommendation lightly. This newspaper has a long history of recommending Rick Perry for office against Democrats ­ from agriculture commissioner to the governor’s office. But Texas requires a different kind of leadership at this important juncture.

Bill White is an entrepreneur and an energy expert who succeeded in the private sector before branching out into public service. White, 56, has no use for Perry’s swashbuckling, coyote-shooting style. The Democratic candidate is meticulous and analytical, hesitant to overpromise but determined to solve Texas’ most pressing problems.

As Houston’s mayor, White proved himself to be adept at balancing budgets, managing to cut property tax rates repeatedly. He drew national acclaim for his leadership in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

And White laid waste to the idea that environmentally friendly policies inevitably were bad for business – a myth that Perry perpetuates as he fights to maintain Texas’ right to pollute with impunity. In Houston, White struck a careful balance, proving that a city could go green and still be open for business.

As governor, White would be well-positioned to deliver in areas where Perry has fallen short.

For example, Texas’ transportation infrastructure needs are daunting and urgent. Yet Perry seems to be stumped when it comes to offering workable funding options for building roads. The governor’s go-to move is to blame Washington – and he does, for not sending more money. That’s a fine lament, but it won’t pay for any new lane miles.

White recognizes the need for new revenue sources and supports allowing counties to call elections to raise funds for transportation projects. This local-option approach has the support of North Texas transportation leaders but would stand a better chance in the Legislature with the backing of the governor.

The editorial took nearly a half-page of the newspaper — read the whole thing.

Texans, mark your ballot for Bill White (if you haven’t already).


Carnival of the Liberals #95, at Neural Gourmet

July 18, 2009

Liberals in America struggle as they try to deal with the little bit of success in the last elections.  Used to sniping from the sidelines for the past eight years, and unused to having a president who doesn’t make them pull their hair out at least once a day, liberals might be excused for breathing a massive sigh of relief and taking a few weeks off.

Oh, but that few weeks’ vacation did serious damage to the liberal presence on the internet.

The Carnival of the Liberals is back in a new and improved constitution, with an eye on working for liberal, patriotic ideals with a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and a president who might actually do some of the things that need to be done.

Carnival of the Liberals #95, at Neural Gourmet

Typical liberal concerns, you know:  Taxesfamily values; how to make torture work; waving the flag.

More seriously, there are some good articles there.  Go check it out.  The new format looks promising.  Liberals need to get back to the kicking and shoving that make politics work.


Ann and Molly

March 15, 2008

I miss Ann Richards.

Ann Richards with her motorcycle
Photo of Ann Richards with her motorcycle, from the Texas State Library & Archives Commission, Prints and Photographs Collection

Here’s an excerpt from Molly Ivins’ column of September 18, 2006, the week after Ann died.

She knew how to deal with teenage egos: Instead of pointing out to a kid who was pouring charcoal lighter on a live fire that he was idiot, Ann said, “Honey, if you keep doing that, the fire is going to climb right back up to that can in your hand and explode and give you horrible injuries, and it will just ruin my entire weekend.”

She knew what it was like to have four young children and to be so tired you cried while folding the laundry. She knew and valued Wise Women like Virginia Whitten and Helen Hadley.

At a long-ago political do at Scholz Garten in Austin, everybody who was anybody was there meetin’ and greetin’ at a furious pace. A group of us got the tired feet and went to lean our butts against a table at the back wall of the bar. Perched like birds in a row were Bob Bullock, then state comptroller, moi, Charles Miles, the head of Bullock’s personnel department, and Ms. Ann Richards. Bullock, 20 years in Texas politics, knew every sorry, no good sumbitch in the entire state. Some old racist judge from East Texas came up to him, “Bob, my boy, how are you?”

Bullock said, “Judge, I’d like you to meet my friends: This is Molly Ivins with the Texas Observer.

The judge peered up at me and said, “How yew, little lady?”

Bullock, “And this is Charles Miles, the head of my personnel department.” Miles, who is black, stuck out his hand, and the judge got an expression on his face as though he had just stepped into a fresh cowpie. He reached out and touched Charlie’s palm with one finger, while turning eagerly to the pretty, blonde, blue-eyed Ann Richards. “And who is this lovely lady?”

Ann beamed and replied, “I am Mrs. Miles.”

One of the most moving memories I have of Ann is her sitting in a circle with a group of prisoners. Ann and Bullock had started a rehab program in prisons, the single most effective thing that can be done to cut recidivism (George W. Bush later destroyed the program). The governor of Texas looked at the cons and said, “My name is Ann, and I am an alcoholic.”

She devoted untold hours to helping other alcoholics, and anyone who ever heard her speak at an AA convention knows how close laughter and tears can be.

One to make history, one to record it.

I miss Molly Ivins.

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