Friday, April 06, 2007

Has George W. Bush's presidency been good for Texas?

OK, ignore for a moment the "it's all about me" attitude suggested by that Texas-centric question, posed by a panel of political journalists and politicos at a newspaper conference I attended last weekend. That's just how Texans are. And they presume that when a Texan goes to Washington, there might be certain perks for the homeboys, whether putting local folks in positions of national power, steering lucrative projects homeward, or simply deflecting some of the bad stuff Washington can dream up.

One thing's for sure: George Bush's presidency has done wonders for the economy of Crawford (Pop. 767 when POTUS is in town ... double or triple that when he comes home for vacation.)

And some Democrats believe W has made it easier to raise campaign money in Texas ... for Democrats. The prospect of more Texas Democrats in office, they say, is a GREAT boon for Texas.

And Texas has certainly gotten more media attention, but maybe not the kind we wished for.

Beyond that, the esteemed panelists -- Dallas Morning News' Wayne Slater, former Texas Speaker Pete Laney and Texas Monthly's Paul Burka -- saw very few reasons for Texas to celebrate a native son's election.

There are many parallels between Texas presidents LBJ and Bush: They both had big egos and inner insecurities, and both had difficulty winning a war. But LBJ at least brought the Johnson Space Center to Texas; Bush hasn't brought much of anything in the way of institutional booty.

But that's not really the question. The genuine curiosity is whether Bush has been a good representative of Texas values and whether his service has reflected well on the state (which often doesn't even reflect well on itself.) The panelists generally agreed that Bush has reflected a little good and a lot of bad on the Lone Star State.

Largely, they believed that Governor Bush and President Bush are two distinctly different people. Gov. Bush's closest advisers -- Karen Hughes and Joe Allbaugh, among them -- were policy-oriented. But President Bush's closest advisers -- Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, among them -- are politically oriented. Thus, because the MBA Bush tends to put a lot of stock in delegation and counsel, the governship and the presidency have been distinctly different.

But they all also agreed that the biggest bum rap Bush gets is that he's a dumb guy. He isn't. He might not be able to pronounce some words to the satisfaction of elitists, and he might have an accent that sounds "dumb" to most of the world (although Democrats embraced Bill Clinton's Bubba accent and hoot at Bush's. Go figure.) But Bush, they all agreed, is no dummy.

What do you think? And I don't just mean Texans. Has George W. Bush been good for Texas? Has he represented the state well? Has he diminished your view of Texas? Take the little poll above, and leave your comments for all to see.


:( said...

Hell no!

His "presidency" hasn't been good for this country, much less, the Lone Star State!

I constantly find myself apologizing for the Shrub to my non-Texan friends.

Jspiker said...

I feel more comfortable with Bush hearding cows than running the nation. Can't you please keep him of the ranch where he belongs?

Anonymous said...

The best thing about his failed presidency is that he has become irrelevant. Few listen to his babbling.

Carol said...

NO, he's not been good for Texas! But, Bush has not diminished Texas unless it is so because he has diminished the whole country! Lots of Texans are ashamed that he ever claimed to be one (he's not really). He was a failure with his oil companies, failure as a governor and now a bigger failure as a president. Would someone please send him off to live in his imaginary world (the one in his head) so that the rest of us can attempt to reclaim our country!!!

Anonymous said...

My answer is absolutely no, he has not just given Americans a bad name in the rest of the world, he's given Texans a bad name with the rest of the country. And hasn't even brought any pork home to bribe us with. Disgrace is too good a word for him.

I have heard folks say he's not stupid before, but it seems to me that if you a) can't speak your native language (Texan) without SOUNDING like an idiot even to fellow Texans, and b) can't even run one small oil company successfully, it seems pretty idiotic to me to think you might be able to hold your own at running one of the most powerful countries of the world. I stand beside my firm opinion that the man is an idiot.