The Ghost of Governor Ann Richards

November 5, 2015

Y’all remember Ann Richards, right? She was the Governor of Texas from 1991 to 1995. In 1994, running for reelection against the older, dumber son of former President George H.W. Bush, she lost, giving us W aka Shrub.

In 1988, Ms. Richards—then Texas State Treasurer—gave the Keynote Address at the Democratic National Convention. Best line? “Poor George[H.W. Bush], he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

Did the line she uttered in 1988 matter in 1994. No one knows for sure? But daddies are pop’lar in Texas, and nobody likes a wiseass.

Governor Richards died in 2006. Her legacy was directness, wit, and W. (Oh, her firstborn child is Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.)

On Tuesday I read President Obama Relentlessly Mocks Republicans, 2016 Field by Steve Benen for the Rachel Maddow Show at Two best lines?

On climate:

If you go to 100 doctors and 99 of them tell you you have diabetes … you wouldn’t say, “Ahh, that’s a conspiracy, All 99 doctors got together with Obama to keep me from having bacon and donuts.” You wouldn’t do that.

On Rs claiming they’ll kick Putin’s ass:

Have you noticed that every one of these candidates says, “Obama’s weak. Putin’s kicking sand in his face. When I talk to Putin, he’s going to straighten out.” And then it turns out they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators at a debate. I mean, let me tell you, if you can’t handle those guys, you know, then I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you.

Let me be clear about a few things. First, in my lifetime no American president has been treated so badly by his political opposition. He has tolerated claim after claim that he wasn’t born here, that he’s a Moslem extremist, that he has no right to hold office, that he’s … yada, yada!

Second, he’s got plenty of reason to get smart with the crowd that wants to succeed him. No, the country is not where many of us want it to be … although, ironically, the crew who are funding the Republican candidacies have done pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good over the past several years. That said, by any and every measure our lot is better than it was when W and crew walked away almost 2500 days ago.

Have fun kicking Obamacare, but without it a few tens of millions of people would have no healthcare coverage. Many others—me included—would not have the freedom to start our own businesses, try something different, etc. And health care costs have actually been contained, more so than anyone expected.

Other measures? The Dow is up about 125%, or roughly 18% per annum. The unemployment rate when W left? 7.8%. In October 2015? 5.1% (You’re to my right, and maybe way Right, and want to use U6, a broader measure? 14.2% in 1/2009, and 10% last month.)

OK, so opponents have treated the president badly—by the way, did any of them ever wonder, even for a moment, what his children might think, hearing their crap about their father—and he’s got a real performance record. Not perfect, for sure, but imagine where we might be if opponents had lifted even a pinky toe to help.

All of that said, Mr. President, please remember Ann Richards. The snark is fun, and it feeds the base, but it’s not essential and there are these things called microphones, recorders, computers, the Internet, etc. The stakes are high, and momentary pleasure may carry with it a price in a year!



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