Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A note in appreciation of Ann Richards, who was one bad-assed old lady

She looked classy, but her balls were bigger than ours.

She'll only be a footnote in American political history, but for about seven years the late great Ann Richards was America's biggest and best bulwark against the steady creep of decrepit, decayed, Third World thuggery.

She died today. I looked up the famous speech that she gave at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. Then the State Treasurer of Texas, she ripped the shit out of a sitting Vice President in one of the most famous lines in recent political history.

But the lines that followed are interesting too.
Poor George. He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.

Well no wonder, no wonder he can't figure it out. Because the leadership of this nation is telling us one thing on TV and doing something entirely different.

They tell us that they're fighting a war against terrorists. And then we find that the White House is selling arms to the Ayatollah.
Her speech was about George H.W. Bush, but the remark foreshadowed the failed administration of his despicable son.

It was only appropriate that the harshest critic of the first Bush saw her career ended by the second. She lost the Texas governorship to George W. in 1994. The campaign against her previewed all of the horror and indignity we now take for granted. According to The Atlantic:
Bush's 1994 race against Ann Richards featured a rumor that she was a lesbian, along with a rare instance of such a tactic's making it into the public record—when a regional chairman of the Bush campaign allowed himself, perhaps inadvertently, to be quoted criticizing Richards for "appointing avowed homosexual activists" to state jobs.
There's no way to overstate how much better off we all would be if she had managed to squeak out a reelection. Generations of Texas voters owe the world an apology.

Another bittersweet passage from her 1988 speech:
Now, I'm going to tell you, I'm really glad that our young people missed the Depression, and missed the great big war. But I do regret that they missed the leaders that I knew.

Leaders who told us when things were tough, and that we would have to sacrifice, and these difficulties might last awhile.

They didn't tell us things were hard for us because we were different, or isolated, or special interests. They brought us together and they gave us a sense of national purpose.

They gave us Social Security. And they told us we're setting up a system where we could pay our own money in and when the time came for our retirement, we could take the money out.

People in rural areas were told that we deserved to have electric lights, and they were going to harness the energy that was necessary to give us electricity so my grandmama didn't have to carry that old coal oil lamp around.

And they told us that they were going to guarantee that when we put our money in the bank, that the money was going to be there, and it was going to be insured.

They did not lie to us.


Ryan said...

A note in appreciation of you writing things like this:

Well done, and right on.

copyranter said...

turd blossom Karl Rove was the man behind that BS in the 94 Texas race. God, I'd like to punch that face.

CrimeNotes said...

Thanks, guys. I always feel most self-conscious when I write something like this. And yes, i think '94 was Rove's major-label debut.