Looking over the Guv's shoulder since 2/15/98.
PACKAGING W.: TOP 10 $ GATHERERS NAMED, PRELIMINARIES FORM, INCLUDING ALL-IMPORTANT "PREZ EXPLORATORY." Although Republican "Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson said of Mr. Bush in a radio interview: 'He hasn't really done much as a governor in regards of doing anything new or innovative,'" he did note that George has lots of cash and name recognition. "In his re-election last year, ...he raised more than $4 million - over a quarter of his total - from more than 20,000 contributors outside Texas." The "vision" of "compassionate conservatism" came later. The Bush bidness is all too typical: you get money and marketing strategy, then you figure out what you're going to sell. 2/20/99< Bush decided to sell "compassionate conservatism," but his emphasis upon tax cuts for the wealthy does not reflect it, nor does his Texas record. Further, his faith-based rhetoric and the specifics he has proposed suggest that he's perfectly willing to begin turning our democracy into a theocracy. At times, he appears to be just too dim to understand the implications of what he is suggesting, but perhaps he's just a good actor.
REAGANITE TAX POLICY GROUP GIVES AWARD TO GEORGE FOR HIS TAX REDUCTION AGENDA. So far, the Guv has managed to reward oil lobbyists with a $45 million tax cut, and the greater share of the proposed tax cuts will be going to wealthy property owners and companies involved in research and development. To put this in perspective, "Texas collects 5.5 percent of its citizens' earnings, overall. But families that earn $20,228 or less lose between 10.6 percent and 28.3 percent of their income to state taxes. Those that earn less than $9,015 are paying 5.1 times their fair share. While this has long been suspected, few thought the inequity was so bad. Another shocker...is that all families earning $74,357 or less pay more than their fair share, while those earning $107,664 or more are paying only 57 percent of their fair share!" With respect to Dubya's "Tax Hero" award, then, the mission statement of Americans for Tax Reform should read, "ATR opposes all (fair-share taxes on the wealthiest members of our society) as a matter of principle." With respect to Bush, his mission statement could read, "the 'present tax system is heavily weighted for the very few with the most money,' and I plan to keep it that way!" (SAEN 2/17+19) 2/19/99 Still the same today. He talks about that single mother with kids, but the real tax cuts and rebates go to the corporations and campaign contributors. Single mothers in Texas know.
GUV'S "COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATISM" WORKS FOR BUSH BUDS IN OIL BIDNESS. They show "personal responsibility" by sending lobbyists to Austin, then they turn to their "faith-based institution," the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association. "What TIPRO wants to do here is dump an additional $45 million worth of tax liabilities on the non-well-owners of the state, and let me remind you on whom that burden falls. According to the state comptroller's office, the poorest Texans shoulder a disproportionate amount of the state's total tax burden. In its biennial study released just a few weeks ago, the office found that while the lowest-income residents pay the greatest percentage of state taxes, the highest-income Texans benefit most from exemptions on sales and franchise taxes. I must admit that this report amazed no one." 2/18/99 When Dubya's Midland buddies need money, it becomes a state emergency and the poor were forced to kick in. Where's that pay check protection, George?
"WHAT YOU BO'S GON' DO NOW?" BORIS THE BRIT TRIES HIS HAND AT CAPTURING G-DUB'S SCHTICK. Politex wonders who's zoomin' who as the "'uber-preppy' from Kennebunkport, Maine" is quoted as saying, "We're gon' talk about crawfish ay-touff-ay, haw haw." 2/17/99 This is a nasty side of Bush. He seems to enjoy making outsiders the butt of his jokes and letting insiders such as Talk's Tucker Carlson in on his cruel humor, such as his Carla Fay Tucker imitation.
TODAY GUV TALKS ON NATIONAL TELEVANGELIST'S SHOW AND BACKS THEOCRAT VOUCHERS AT "MAJOR" CAPITOL RALLY. Preacher James Robison warns fellow-Christians if they don't back Bush "may God forgive them." On another Christian front, George tries to keep the ed-stamp troops together as voter support dwindles and the battle lines begin to blur. The Theocrats want state money without government strings: "Any private school that whole hog buys into a voucher funding system will inevitably lose the ability to provide education that is uniquely built around the values of their faith group," says a Baptist rep, while an Eagle Forum spokesperson adds, "We see it as a back-door approach to control every private school in Texas." (AAS 2/16) 2/16/99 This is for those who think that Bush is a moderate.
G.W.'S STATE POLICIES FAILING ON 2 MORE FRONTS AS HE CONTINUES TO BE DISTRACTED BY PREZ RUN. George claims he's focused on Texas legislative business but an orchestrated draft movement, four years of benign neglect, and the will of the people are serious roadblocks to his desire to leave town with a record of accomplishments that will look good on his campaign resume. Since he won't announce until May and Dole and company are not standing around and waiting, the faux draft is needed to keep his name in front of the voters in the primary states. Meanwhile, after 4 years of drift his program to deter child abuse and neglect is "playing catch-up." Texas ranks near the bottom in child welfare support and its philosophy is based on the generally discarded theory of intervention rather than prevention. As for his government-paid voucher plan for private schools, a recent Texas Poll had 46% saying "no" and 45% saying "yes." Of course, during the campaign Theocrat-backed "Mad Dog" Perry told his school voucher/ideological friends who contributed millions to his campaign that he'll "run over any school board or school superintendent that stands in our way." It's likely that the Lt. Gov. will be willing to include the majority of voters with the school boards and superintendents, but it's doubtful that Bush will want such carnage on his resume when the time comes to face the American people. Better to withdraw another campaign promise and spin the consequences, Guv. 2/14/98 Which is what Dubya did. He tried to keep out of the line of fire as vouchers went down in flames and he managed not to "reform" Texas' bare bones child welfare system. He does brag about how he "reformed" torts for the big corporations.
G-DUB, ANTI-GAY LEGISLATION, AND TINKY WINKY. Bills banning gay or lesbian adoptions or foster care placements were introduced this week. The wording of one bill "suggests that even if the foster or adoptive parents aren't homosexual, they could be disqualified by the presence of a gay or lesbian person in the household." Another would include bisexuals and make the foster care ban retroactive. Asked to comment the Guv said, "our agencies ought to work hard to make sure that adoptions and foster children are placed in traditional homes -- man and wife." He declined to comment on whether gays and lesbians should be banned from adopting children or being foster parents, or whether children should be removed from households headed by homosexuals. (AAS 2/12) In a Tinky Winky update, Johna Goldberg said, "My understanding is that in America, the biggest audience for Teletubbies is moms playing with their kids. The second biggest audience is pot-heads taking Rastafarian communion while knee deep in 7-11 microwavable burrito wrappers." 2/12/99 Bush has yet to figure out how to get gay and lesbian campaign money, which is substantial, without cutting them any slack or even meeting with them.
BUSH BACKER TERMS C-SPAN INTERVIEW "INAUSPICIOUS." "Bush badly needs some coaching lessons in speaking without a script; otherwise heíll be creamed in the numerous debates that will take place within a short period of time next year. Asked by Brian Lamb if he likes reading, Bush said, 'Yes, a lot.' Prodded as to what kind of books he enjoys he answered: 'I love history. I just finished reading The Sword of San Jacinto about Sam Houston. I like occasional social commentary. I say occasional; I occasionally read social commentary. But I love history. I was a history major in college and I spent a lot of time on history. Iím trying to wrack my brain now that you asked me to think of all the great history books. Well, I mean, The River Also Rises, the book about the Mississippi River that flooded; the í27 flood, I believe it was, of the Mississippi. Itís a great book... Itís amazing to be interested in history and livingómaking history. Itís an interesting coincidence.' As my friend Binyamin Jolkovsky would say: Oy!" 2/11/99 The cat's out of the bag by now, but the nation's voters can't say we didn't warn 'em.
HEY GUV, HOW DO YOU SAY "BENIGN NEGLECT" IN SPANISH? Bush has had over 4 years to do right for higher education in heavily-Hispanic San Antonio and has failed. The UT Board of Regents dragged its feet in providing a university in the first place, now it's spending less $ per student than at the other three branches, passing the costs on to the students: "the cost for attending UTSA is almost $2,000 above the average for Texas public universities." UTSA also has the poorest student-to-teacher ratio and the fewest tenured faculty per student. Obviously, Bush talk about cooperation with his Latino voter friends does not translate into meaningful action to correct inequities in higher-education. 2/10/99 Bush's idea of reaching out to minorities is literal. He shakes hands with them. He says he wouldn't want to insult them by offering them beneficial programs. Yet, he insults his oil and tort buddies all the time.
DUBYA'S CRUMBLING COALITION: THEOCRATS DEMAND ACTION FROM "MODERATE" BUSH. "There's a lot of doubt in my mind that he means what he says," opines Texas Eagle Forum rep. "Social conservatives" point to past Bush failed promises and call for voucher legislation, abortion restrictions, and protection of religious liberties. Clay Robison suspects "that Bush is using the ('compassionate conservative') label to appeal to a broad cross section...without using the word 'moderate,' a much hated term on his party's right wing." George Will sees G-Dub's political language in a sinister light: "Bush's rhetoric, like Clinton's which it mimics, is evidence of more than just conservative panic about the public's receptivity to Clinton's belief that pathos is the primary business of politics. Rather, Bush's manner of speaking is evidence that Clinton's political style is not idiosyncratic but symptomatic. The conflation of culture and government is far advanced." The danger Wills sees is that a government on a "therapeutic mission both fuels and legitimizes government's expansions into new spheres of society's and individuals' lives." If true, consider the Theocrats' bill for services rendered if George should ever make it to the White House. 2/7/99 Now that Forbes is gone and Mac is playing to the moderates, Bush is trapped into using the theocrats as his foot soldiers, such as Pat Robertson coming out for him to pull in some badly needed South Carolina voters. Bush is beginning to pay too high a price for such backing, but he doesn't seem to have any other options.
IF GUV WANTS CHILDREN TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS, WHY DOES HE ALLOW HIS GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TO MAKE THE WRONG ONES? ASKS GROUPS CONCERNED ABOUT UNDERAGE DRINKING. The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife tempts kids with booze promotions and advertising in their parks, programs, and publications. Bud, alone, has poured in $5.8 million since 1991. It's time for W. to stop such promotions and advertising despite the protests of the parks officials and booze merchants. Of course, that means giving more state cash to Parks and Wildlife and giving less to reduce taxes on wealthy landowners. (See 1/31) 2/6/99 Just another small example of the difference between what Bush says and what he does.
DUBYA/MAD DOG'S BENEFACTOR'S SAN ANTONIO ED-STAMP PROGRAM NOT WORKING. BUSH SPINNER SAYS "GOV. BUSH BELIEVES WE SHOULD LOOK AT ANOTHER (PILOT PROGRAM)." Try Mars, Guv, 'cause what the Theocrats want is out of this world. The $50 million voucher program, backed by Leininger and Walton money, sent "the best students" out of public schools to private schools and "turned away disabled special education students." Such students are the most expensive to teach. The San Antonio project is the latest, largest, and best financed anti-public school program in the U.S. Presently, the pro-voucher lobby's media arm is financing a telemarketing blitz to convince the legislature to go with their flow. George says he wants a pilot voucher program "to see if it works." Earth to Guv: we already have one in San Antonio and it doesn't. (AAS,2/4) 2/4/99 Similarly, Bush claims that the Texas charter school system is working. See for yourself.
"BUSH'S PRINCIPAL POLITICAL ADVISER" CALLS ATTACK ON 60'S LEGACY BY LITERATURE PH.D. THE "ROAD MAP TO THE GOVERNOR'S ATTITUDES ON THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT." (From fifth paragraph on.) Conservative Myron Magnet's book contends overzealous liberals "held the poor back from advancement by robbing them of responsibility for their fate and thus further squelching their initiative and energy....For the breakdown of the poor to be healed and the moral confusion of the Haves to be dispelled, we need above all to repair the damage that has been done to the beliefs and values that have made America remarkable and that for two centuries have successfully transformed huddled masses of the poor into free and prosperous citizens." Is The Dream and the Nightmare really about "discipline for the lower orders"? (Third section.) (AAS, 1/27/99) 2/1/99 Magnet is a Charles Dickens scholar and his view of the world is something out of a Charles Dickens novel. Rove has foisted Magnet on an unwitting Bush, and the litarary scholar's vision of a future U.S. society would guarantee turning the White House into Bleak House.