WHY W. CAN'T MAKE UP HIS MIND. FIRST OF ALL, IT'S NOT GOOD POLITICS. Why not put a little drama into an obvious slam dunk. Why do presidential candidates make early announcements? To get name recognition. To plant a money tree. To get wealthy and powerful political backers. To set up a national network. Dad's given him his name, his rolidex, and his wealthy and his powerful political backers. To that, the Guv's added his own wealthy and powerful political backers in the worlds of oil, sports, media, and leveraged buyouts, the latter giving him entry into other key industries such as health, land development, energy, insurance, and gambling. Keep in mind that on the basis of his past holdings and present friends he's become a double-digit millionaire. As to the national network, that's being set up as we speak. Remember that last January he surprised the press by calling reporters into his office and announcing that he will not say he'll serve out a second term if elected. Then, he began to travel around the country to touch base with the players. He had no need to appear at cattle calls with the other candidates. Now, he may even decide not to participate in the early primaries, although Politex thinks he will, just as he did a debate with Mauro when he didn't have to. It is a risk, however, given his less-than-thrilling performance in El Paso.
SECONDLY, HE DOES HAVE HONEST RESERVATIONS. Politex believes that his experiences in the White House with his parents is at the heart of it, and that's been reinforced by his post-White House experiences as the President's son. Dad's diary notes quoted yesterday had to do with his decision to run in '92, a decision Barbara was against, a decision that made W. anxious enough to ask his father about it and then tell a deputy, "There's a good chance that he won't (run again)." (p.490) Walker, then, has been there and done that, and he knows the pain. Then there's the death-threats on his own family by Hussein, the Secret Service round-the-clock protection, the restrictions on normal living: "This is not a glamorous life to them. They've seen what it is like, what families go through." What about the "ugly" press, their constant, grinding presence, the down side of political life in a democracy? What about George W.'s thin skin and private life? "I didn't wake up saying, if I'm the eighth-grade class president I can parlay that into something; then avoiding my irresponsible youth--don't do that because that may come back to haunt you; then the post-irresponsible youth period; then whatever; then run for governor, run for president." This does not sound like a man who is totally comfortable with what he is about to do. Does this explain his tight expression when he smiles these days? 11/6
DOUBTERS DWINDLE DAILY. BRODER ACQUIESCES TO BUSH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY. Pulitzer Prize winner describes the Guv's actual announcement as "a mere formality." 10/19
BUSHLET'S "TO RUN OR NOT TO RUN" IS WEARING THIN, LAUGHABLE. Holds out hope he'll still be around to discourage closer scrutiny of Perry as GOP acting-Guv candidate. (Interview w SAEN Editorial Board.) 10/7
FORT WORTH: IS IT SOMETHING IN THE WATER? A FEISTY GARRY MAURO campaigned in Fort Worth the other day and said about his debate with Bush last week, "If (Bush) can't beat the land commissioner who's never had a debate, (he's) lost any legitimate chance of being a candidate for president." However, in his previous day's "Fort Worth Star-Telegram" column, random commentator BILL THOMPSON opines Bush is a sure thing to win the GOP nomination, and "a Bush-Kasich ticket could set up the GOP to control the presidency for 16 years." Note: Thompson considers John Kasich, a U.S. Rep from Ohio, to be a "dynamic crusader for balanced budgets." But, Politex asks, would Kasich offset the Dems' Latino candidate for Vice-President? 10/24
a href="bush.htm">IS BUSH SOFT ON HATE CRIMES?Everytime a particularly horrendous killing or beating of a black man, a wife, a man in a wheelchair, a jew, a gay takes place, there is an outcry for stronger anti-hate legislation. To date, the federal government has a law against hate crimes based on race, religion, or national origin, and there are hate laws of one kind or another in most states. However, in June, when James Byrd, Jr., a black man, was the victim of an obvious hate crime in Jasper, it was doubtful that his murderers could be tried under the present federal hate crime law. Further,the federal statute did not include hate crimes against gender, sexual orientation, or disability. As far as Politex knows, that's still the case, although the GOP-led Congress can move swiftly when it really wants to. Last week it quickly passed a law to restrict bankruptcy declarations.
On CNN yesterday, an opponent of hate crime legislation noted that if you call crimes against racial minorities, gays, religious minorities, the disabled, and women "hate crimes," the only crimes that would not be hate crimes would be those against white men! Another speaker pointed out that it was his understanding that a hate crime takes place in addition to the crime, not in place of it. In other words, if a white guy is walking through a black neighborhood and he's beaten up because he's white, that's a hate crime, too. However, statistically speaking, many more blacks, gays, jews, women, disabled, etc. are beaten or killed than white men because of their identity. When this happens, our government is obligated to devise extraordinary ways to protect them, because the usual ways are not working. This was the case in our past with non-white, non-male landowners, with women voters, with blacks, to give three instances. Our history is a history of the government stepping in to assure citizens of their constitutional rights when our normal laws simply do not work. And for two hundred years a significant membership of the majority in power has complained and argued that such extraordinary protections are unneeded.
Here is what Robert Knight, of the conservative Christian Family Research Council, said about the Wyoming hate killing of Matthew Shepard: "Every crime is a 'hate' crime." (AAS, 10/11) Here is what Governor Bush said about the Jasper hate killing of James Byrd: "I think all crime is hate, particularly the crime that went on there. I think the way to get rid of hate in people's hearts, the best course I know is religion." (HC,6/11) The phrase, "all crimes are hate crimes," comes up over and over from the mouths of theo-conservatives. But if all crimes are hate crimes, no crime is the kind of "hate crime" blacks, jews, gays, women, arabs, the disabled, and Hispanics are talking about. Yes, that's right, Hispanics. The Guv says he's concentrating on making Texas a better place for Hispanics, but what's he doing other than accepting campaign contributions from the wealthy businessmen who run the Hispanic media empires in Texas and California, doing photo-ops during floods in the valley to load up his campaign web site, and stopping by Mexican restaurants for a bite and a handshake? When Byrd was murdered in Jasper, the National Council of La Raza and the NAACP both submitted requests for stronger anti-hate legislation.(AAS, 7/9) Yet, Bush says there's no such thing as a "hate crime" because all crimes are hate crimes. When the Guv repeats the words of people like Robert Knight,as he did about the Jasper murder, he is seen by people like Kim Mills of the Human Rights Campaign as part of the problem, not part of the solution: "There is a climate right now of intolerance that we believe is being fostered by religious political organizations such as the Family Reserch Council." Is this the kind of "religion" you have in mind, Guv? Or what about Focus on the Family? The Christian Coalition? Mills included these groups in her list of "intolerant" religious political organizations. Or when you say "religion," did you have the Texas Eagle Forum in mind?
Texas Eagle Forum is the state branch of the organization founded by Phyllis Shafly in l972 and it identifies itself as a conservative Christian, pro-family group. It supports the pro- Ballard, farthest-right wing of the Texas Board of Education and sends out a questionnaire to those running for office each election. Governor Bush answered the questionnaire, indicating he was for: phonics rather than whole language reading, the loser of a civil law suit having to pay all legal costs, term limits, and judges being allowed to display the Ten Commandments in their courtrooms. He also said he was against hate crimes legislation being "expanded to include sexual orientation." President Clinton likened last week's beating murder of University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard "to last summer's racially motived killing of James Byrd in the East Texas town of Jasper and urged Congress to pass pending hate-cimes legislation," including legislation protecting gays from hate crimes.(AAS, 10/11) Since in Bush's world there are no "hate crimes," we know what to expect if the Guv were President.
Again, it seems doubtful that religion is the way to get rid of the "hate in people's hearts," as the Guv suggests, if by religion he means the kind of theo-conservatism that divides people and turns neighbors who don't pass the litmus tests of self-serving questionnaires into enemies. As Mike Sanders of Austin wrote yesterday morning in a letter to the editor of the "Statesman," "Having an open mind is perhaps a necessary precondition for having an open heart." 11/13
DON'T DO AS I DO, DO AS I SAY. SEX? BOOZE? NO, PRIVATE PROPERTY !How seized land and a $135 million taxpayer subsidy led to a Bush $l5 million payoff. 9/25
HOW THE GUV GOT HIS GROOVE: WHO IS BILLIONAIRE BUSINESS BUDDY RICHARD RAINWATER?Then click on "Bushgate" for some details "Texas Monthly" left out. 9/18/
HOW WILL BUSH CHART AND SURVIVE THE STORM ON THE HORIZON? The Guv has "adroitly surfed the political wave between the ultraconservative and moderate Republicans,...(paying) enough lip service to conservatives' issues to keep them off balance but not enough to frighten the moderates," opines Austin reporter Dave McNeely. But what will happen if the far right GOP candidates for seats in the Texas House come in on W.'s coattails and become the vocal majority in November? At that point a moderate Bush will be ineffective as the religious conservatives call for "outlawing abortions, junking bilingual education, shutting down the Dept. of Human Services," and "endorsing wholesale use of state money for tuition to religious and private schools." The GOP needs a shift of 8 seats to gain a majority. The "8 in 98" Republican committee estimates that 88 of the l50 districts are leaning its way and, as one insider correctly puts it, "the kind of people that are out there running this time are not Bush Republicans."
Republican insiders are also not very surprised about this state of affairs. They were aware of the Guv's implied pact with the far right by the end of the GOP Convention in mid-June. At the convention, "every conservative-backed nominee for statewide office was defeated by a more moderate opponent," states "Texas Observer" reporter Nate Blakeslee. In essence, Bush got his less conservative running mates and the ultraconservatives, led by their hand-picked chairperson, Susan Weddington, got the party platform, litmus test votes, and inroads into moderate party policies geared to make the state GOP less exclusionary. Further, Bush running-mates such as Rick Perry, who could be the unappointed Governor of Texas when W. runs for President, have never been accused of being moderate Republicans. Perry would have less difficulty than Bush in agreeing to the conservative agenda of the House ultraconservatives. The Guv appears willing to sell out moderate Texans to the degree that such a scenario takes place.
Another part of the implied pact at the convention was for both sides to keep their differences in the closet and make nice together. Neither could do it. "For the last decade, abortion has been the primary litmus test by which Texas...true believers...have sought to incorporate into the state party platform and rules a "zero tolerance" logic, designed to purge moderates and consolidate conservative Christian control of the party once and for all," Blakeslee notes. As one follower said after an unneeded vote against an abortion technique that is illegal in Texas, "We took names, and we (will) replace people." The next step for the CC's is to eliminate party primaries and pack the committee that replaces the primary system with religious conservatives. Although Bush told the convention, "Any attempt to make it harder to get nominated, or to narrow who the decision-makers are, is something that I will resist," the next day the convention overwhelmingly approved an ammendment to have all Republican candidates fill out a questionnaire indicating their adherence to the conservative-backed party platform. The far-right warning to Bush was clearly stated by one of its leaders: "What good does it do to have a majority, if our leaders don't lead?" How Bush deals with the conservative Christian bloc after November will help us understand how he'll fare as a presidential candidate and how much of his soul and the moderate soul of the Texas GOP he's willing to give up to become President. (AAS,9/ll+TO,7/3), Austex, 9/ll
CANDIDATE BUSH AND THREE EMBARRASSING QUESTIONS. "Statesman" reporter Dave McNeely postulated 3 areas of questioning yesterday that the Guv will be asked over and over if he becomes an announced presidential candidate, and Politex paraphrases the questions and suggests the answers:
QUESTION: On TV you say, "I believe we've got to limit government to basic services," and it's well-known that you're a strong defender of private property rights. Do you really believe those things?
ANSWER: Yes and no. It depends on how I can make a buck. For example, when we built the ballpark in Arlington we got the city government to get the owners off their land by the government right of public domain, then we worked it so the state would allow Arlington to create a half-cent sales tax to pay for it. As you know, I'm against sales taxes as well, but my gang ended up owning the park, and that's one reason I made $l5 mil on a $600,000 investment when we sold the Texas Rangers to Bill Hicks. Today, I'm like Hicks. He builds empires for the fun of it, not the money, but he makes money, too.
QUESTION: I appreciate your candor. During the l992 presidential campaign the Bahrain deal came up. The Clinton folks said your Harken Energy company was inexperienced but got the offshore oil drilling contract because of your father. How will you answer the Gore critics if they bring that up again?
ANSWER: I'll use the Clinton Whitewater defense. I didn't make any money on it. The hole was dry! I know, you're going to say I didn't know that when the deal was made. Of course not, you can't make a buck on a dry hole! Well, when I was young I did say I was "all name and no money," so I called my oil company "Arbusto," which means "Bush" in Spanish. My name became money for me when I sold out to Harken. Then I became an employee, Director of Harken. Of course, I would be a fool to think my name meant nothing in the business, but that's up to the folks that sign contracts with us, that's not up to me. To tell you the truth, I'm more worried about what the Gore gang will say about how I got rid of Harken right before the war over there and was accused of insider trading, but I have nothing to add to that today.
QUESTION: Moving on then, you tell teens not to have sex until they're married, but you weren't married until you were 31. How did you cope?
ANSWER: No problem. It's the old do as I say, not as I do switcheroo! No, seriously. Lanny Davis, my old friend at Yale, called me on that on national TV. He said I'll live to regret saying I was "embarrassed" about Clinton because "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." My problem with Lanny is that I didn't know if he was talking about me, my father, or both of us. I guess I'll just use the Clinton Monicagate defense. It's a private matter. Well, no, then I can't run on character and Gore will sic the Tipper Troups on me. Well, I...hmmm...let's see, now. Hmmm, well. Hmmm. Can I have Karen Hughes call you back with an answer to this? Hmmm... 8/30/98, Austex
ANTI-DUMP RALLIES TAKE PLACE ON CAPITOL HILL AND IN FRONT OF GOVERNOR'S MANSION AS BUSH IS ACCUSED OF "ENVIRONTMENTAL RACISM" AND ISSUE ENTERS PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS. The Guv's version of Dad's "thousand points of light" is "The Responsibility Era," but to whom is Bush responsible? Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), a wh2k player, is leading the fight against the "Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact," which has been approved by the House, will be approved by the Senate as early as today, and will probably be signed into law by Clinton unless a sudden blizzard of voter mail suggests otherwise. (Send veto requests to the President here.) Bush has said that Texas will not carry out its plans unless the compact is approved in Washington, which is just one more example of how he sets up an outcome and then makes it appear as though others are in control. In Washington, Hutchison and Gramm are saying they're voting for it because the Guv wants it. Brian Ahlberg, Wellstone's spokesman, says the compact is about "corporate utilities' big money versus low-income communities of color." If the Compact passes, Texas will get $55 million from Maine and Vermont for long-time storage. Given our previous experiences with the Guv's finances and friends (see "Bushgate"), one can only wonder where the money will go once it's in Texas. Politex has yet to read any Bush statement on a nuclear waste dump in Texas for other states that makes any sense. If Wellstone were to be the wh2k Democratic nominee, which is unlikely, the Bush position would make an obvious political target. But with Gore doing nothing as Vice-President to dissuade Clinton from signing the conpact, it looks as though the matter will be swept under the rug. Meanwhile, the Guv's being more responsible to corporate utilities than he is to Hispanics. Sources: MST, DMN, and AAS, all 9/2.
THE GUV'S SPINMEISTER NEEDS A SPINMEISTER. W.'s lame quotes must be catching. In last Sunday's "Doonsbury," Garry Trudeau accused Bush of lacking vision simply by paraphrasing the bland, redundant response he gave to a N.Y. "Times" reporter last month (quoted in "Presidency?"). He went on to show how obtuse the father continues to be and showed both father and son as blank spaces side-by-side on a couch. Here is what spokesperson Karen Hughes said today in the "Statesman" about that particular episode of the comic strip: "I thought it was fairly harmless. I didn't quite understand the point. I think he was trying to compliment the governor. It was sort of a backhanded compliment." Either Hughes is as obtuse as father and son or she's the James Carvell of the Bush League, willing to insult the intelligence of the public with inane spin in the face of the obvious. Karen should keep in mind that Carvell is considered the family pet of the Clinton's and the laughing stock of the serious press. Is that how she wants to end up? One thing she could do to show us her honesty is to delete the absurd "warranty" on the Bush '98 web site that says, in effect, what we say here may not be true and what we quote here may not be a quote. Until then, we're left to assume that she sees Bush as a product and she's operating under the rules of caveat emptor. 8/30, Austex
BUSH TELLS HOUSTON FIFTH GRADER HOLLY BUCK "I HAVEN'T DECIDED" ABOUT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, AND VISITS SOUTH CAROLINA IN SUPPORT OF GOP GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE DAVID BEASLEY. Meanwhile, Garry Mauro consults his map of Texas to find South Carolina and Politex wonders if Holly understands dad-speak.(AAS, 8/25)
GEORGE, KAREN, AND THE EVER-DANGEROUS MEDIA. The Guv still seems to be learning on the job, and there's only so much his main spin-lady can do. Karen Hughes, 41, a former TV reporter and ex-executive director of the Texas Republican Party, is widely admired for her ability as both spokesperson and adviser in keeping W. from talking too much and to the wrong people. He is most confortable in a TV ad or with fellow businessmen, many of whom are his partners in one scheme or the other, or the party faithful, but get him in front of a camera and a neutral audience and the potential for a media boo-boo is surprisingly high. For example, here's some recent dad-speak about the colonias problem (more on that later): "I would say that progress is good--not great, not excellent, but good--certainly not poor." (AP,8/20) Even when he has a slam dunk, he goes too far. As Charles Fincher notes in his "Thadeus and Weez" strip, announcing his "Right Choices" initiative for children, which turned out to be recycled from the ongoing programs of others, on the same day Clinton "tells all" was a way to "get media coverage for a dull story." However a post-announcement Q+A video clip on the national news opened up questions about past Bush family behavior on the "right choices" front. (More on that later.) Even when he wins, he loses: today we learn that the Guv was tweaked by U.S. District Judge Lucius Bunton of Midland for bringing in the press as part of his fight against the Tigua Indian casino: "This court does find...that in his honorable pursuit of faithful execution of the laws of Texas it is not truly necessary for the head of Texas to voice his actions to the press, since it is not the press he should be recruiting as help." Aside from the Guv's personal problems with the media, in cases such as this he seems to have gotten questionable advice from the media experts around him. AAS, 8/22 + FWST,8/21
GUV WALKS TIGHTROPE BETWEEN CLINTON'S LACK OF "CHARACTER" AND HIS OWN PAST. Bush took to the campaign trail yesterday as he flew to a number of spots in East Texas, trying out a presidential theme as he called for a renewed sense of dignity and personal responsibility in politics. He said further, "it's up to the American people" to decide upon the line between private and public life, and Clinton's behavior went "across the line." He cautioned, "the President has got to be mindful that the nation's eyes are on you." While his listeners understood the implied comparison between Clinton and himself as presidential timber, the Guv took pains to distance himself from his "young and irresponsible" past, indicating that he changed when he married his wife in l977 and when he became the father of twin daughters in l982. He quit drinking in l987. While he was reluctant to inventory his "mistakes," he said he learned from them. AAS,8/19
BUSH TRASHED BY CLINTON DEFENDER ON CABLE NEWS SHOW As Ronnie might say, "There he goes again." Perhaps Politex was right in February, maybe the Guv isn't smart enough to play with the big weasels. In an early wh2k move, he served up this sound bite while Clinton was still giving secret testimony before the Starr jury: "I think it's very important for people who are in leadership positions to behave properly if we expect our children to behave responsibly. I'm embarrassed for our country. It's time to get this behind us and move on." Perhaps Bush was ambushed by the media while in Dallas announcing his "right choices" children's initiative, but this was the pro-Clinton response by ex-White House attorney Lanny Davis just after the tape of Bushe's comments was run: "I went to school with Governor George Bush and he should watch the kind of sanctimonious statement that he just made about the President. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." Hours later, Davis added, "George Bush was a friend of mine at Yale... (I know he's thinking about the presidency, but it was) untimely and tasteless to take advantage of this event before President Clinton is able to address the nation. I predict, (Bush is) going to regret his comments today." Austex, 8/l7
THE LATEST HARRIS POLL has the Guv holding his own against Elizabeth Dole, 22% vs. l2%, with the rest of the field far behind, although the pollsters still maintain that some of those questioned, 1,011 in this case, still confuse him with his dad, and that benefits the Guv. NYT, 8/10
IF YOU'VE BEEN ON VACATION THIS PAST WEEK AND MISSED THE SOAPS, here's what happened on "Washington Hope," according to Joan Beck of the Chicago Trib: "Everyone assumes Al still has the Democratic nomination sewed up but he's trying to put some distance between him and Bill's problems while still sounding totally loyal. He may be making costly blunders with his personal income. Dick may be toying with the idea of running. George may or may not be bitten by the millennium political bug, but he's a hot topic. His dad and mom are keeping quiet, too. Trent keeps saying dumb things that make it tough for Republicans. Fred and Janet are at odds over campaign finances." 7/24/98, Austex
OUR HAMLET OF THE PLAINS LACKS VISION.This according to Richard L. Berke of the NYT (7/ l5). He thinks the Hamlet routine Bush plays ("I haven't made up my mind one way or another whether I will run for President.") is getting old, particularly when he spends most of the interview telling the reporter why he will make a great President: he learned from his father, he will unite the Republicans, he has a solid Democrat following, he can take a punch and give it back, governors make good Presidents, he likes people, and his wife would make a "great First Lady of America." W. told Berke that any candidate needs "a reason to run...a vision...I think I've got a pretty clear view of where a better tomorrow is for everybody." When asked to be more specific, here's what the Guv said: "The reasons to do it are reasons you've heard me talk about some...Ushering in the responsibility era. Or the best education system in the country. And, of course, other national issues I would be confronted with." Sure,Guv. 7/ l7, Austex
HIS MESSAGE, TO PUT IT CHARITABLY, IS VACUOUS," WRITES "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL'S" ALBERT R. HUNT. And W., "the most inexperienced nominee since Wendell Wilkie," is less seasoned, being "a chief executive in a weak gubernatorial system." Hunt sees message as one of the three M's in presidential politics, and Bush has the other two, money and momentum. (His dad also lacked a message, unless you want to count, "Elect me,I like doing the President thing!" ) Rather than his vague "hope in our hearts" or "purpose in our lives," Bush is expected to recite the specific lines of the far right litany in an effort to survive on the national campaign trail. (Am I being overly optimistic in assuming that the Guv's "reluctance" to enter the presidential race is his distaste for certain far right rants that he would have to rubber stamp?...Yes...sigh.) Lacking an established party leader, the Republican primaries promise to be a free-for-all, and activists are wondering if the former Texas Ranger can "hit big league political pitching." At any rate, Hunt concludes with this interesting perception: "Without a natural successor this time, the right wing may have close to a veto power and create the same dilemma--feel good in the spring and falter in the fall--that left wingers used to inflict on the democrats." (WSJ,7/9), 7/l2, Austex
Note to the above: "WHAT'S THE QUALITY THAT IS SHARED BY LINCOLN, JOHNSON, NIXON, AND CLINTON?" Tim Russert asked this of Doris Kerns Goodwin and William Safire on CNBC this evening. Their answer: they all have such drive that they can take a hit, go down, and come back for more. Tom Rath, Lamar Alexander's main man, has asked this very thing about Bush, who uses spinmeisters to fight most of his battles: "On paper, Bush looks formidable, but we don't know if he can take a punch." (WSJ, 7/ 9) 7/l2, Austex
COLUMNIST CAL THOMAS SEES BUSH LIKE REAGAN AND UNLIKE CLINTON. He's unlike Clinton, opines Thomas, because he has integrity, stability, honor, and humility and he has put his bad habits such as drinking and wenching behind him. He's like Reagan, says Cal, because "he doesn't need the presidency to complete his personality," and his low key, incremental approach could appeal to Regan's coalition like no other Republican candidate could. AAS, 7/ 8
Last Sunday's "New York Times" ran a lead piece in their news of the week section indicating that the POLLSTERS think the Guv's high numbers represent name-recognition fall-out from his father.Speaking about fathers, "This Week" featured BUSH VS. GORE as a conclusion to its piece on political father-son teams. Finally, in a column for the "Boston Globe," DAVID SHRIBMAN called the GOP 2000 race "wide open," but indicated the Guv has the inside track, and went on to offer some advice. Bush needs to avoid leading the pack (Too late.), have a reason for running (His father's problem.), get Republican lieutanant governor candidate RICK PERRY to run Texas when the Guv becomes an absentee father (He's misleading us in his speeches?), and survive until the Southern primaries (Perry's campaign advisor is a leading political operative in New Hampshire.). AAS, 6/20, TW, 6/2l
According to "Fortune" (6/22), Bush is the "prohibitive favorite" for the Republican presidential nomination and his political plan is to woo California (54 electoral votes), have brother Jeb deliver Florida (25), and call in Texas ((32), earning 4l% of the 270 needed to win the Presidency. (6/ 7/ 98)
This week's USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll has the Guv leading Elizabeth Dole, 30-14 percent. In a head-to-head with Al Gore, Bush wins, 50-46. Gore beats all other Republican challangers. 5/ l7/ 98, Austex
Bush political adviser Karl Rove has reserved "Bush2000.com" in anticipation of the Guv's run. He claims it's cheaper than buying it from an entrepreneur at a later date. Besides, he adds with a paranoia that, hopefully, will not be an earmark of the campaign, he wanted to carry out a "pre-emptive strike" to prevent postings of unauthorized materials. (That leaves The Bush Watch as the place for such goodies.) As of today, there's nothing at the web site, which, given the Guv's philosophy that less is more, is not surprising. (AAS, 4/ 26/ 98) Note: This section of The Bush Watch was named "Bush 2000" in February.
Columnist George Will says that "national politics in the next decade may be decisively shaped by this year's gubernatorial races." Jeb Bush is leading in Florida and some say George has a lock on a second term in Texas. Will thinks of George as Jeb's "less conservative brother," but such terms are relative. Ron Gunzburger sees him as "more conservative than his father" with "a strong following among religious right activists." 4/ l2/ 98, Austex (AAS)
Bush 3l%, Forbes ll%, Quayle l0%. This from "Campaign and Elections" magazine based on a March l7th nationwide poll of 327 Republicans. The Guv did poorest among those Republicans with economic problems and best with those who confused him with his father. 4/ 6/ 98, Austex (AAS, 3/29)