Ann Richards, RIP

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The wisecracking former Texas governor is dead at 73, of esophageal cancer. (Remind me not to get that!) President Bush pronounces himself saddened at the news—which, considering all the Bush election victories Richards inadvertantly helped make happen, is easy to believe.

To get a sense of what a last gasp Richards was for the Lone Star State's Democratic party, consider that the current Democrat running for the governor's office is neck-and-neck with Kinky Friedman in polls. I don't blame (or thank) Richards for that, but while you're listening to all the celebrations of her famous feistiness in the next day or so, keep in mind that it all came to less than nothing.

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  1. But for Ann Richards, we’d have gotten the smart Bush as president. He did very well in Florida–sans L’Affaire Schiavo–and doubtlessly would’ve been a better president than the joker we ended up with. Um, no offense.

    Tough way to go, in any event. It would be nice if we could get around to curing cancer. This being the 21st century and all.

  2. I gave four hours each week from 1988 through 1990 to get Ann Richards elected. She was a genuinely decent person, even to lowly volunteers like me. (Note: she and Carole Strayhorn are the only politicians I’ve ever known who learned my name after one introduction. I live in Austin and work for the state, so I’ve known far, far more than my share of politicians.) That said, her staff ranged from clueless to dismal to walking versions of WorldNetDaily nightmares with, er, personal hygeine issues. Governor Richards herself was a decent governor, and avoided lots of really bad bills. A better chief of staff in 1990 and fewer wacko appointments and, well, there’s really no point in going there. Pro L’s right; it’s a shame people still die of esophegal cancer in this day and age.

  3. If memory serves, Richards had considerable help in winning the TX governor’s seat when Clayton Williams refused to shake her hand. He also made some bad joke about rape, comparing it to a storm and suggesting a woman just kick back and enjoy it.

    I’ve never been a Dem, but I always liked Richards.

  4. I don’t blame (or thank) Richards for that, but while you’re listening to all the celebrations of her famous feistiness in the next day or so, keep in mind that it all came to less than nothing.

    So if you don’t blame Richards for the subsequent failures of the Texas Dems, then why does her feistiness come to “less than nothing”? And since when is someone’s political legacy entirely dependent on their party’s later fortunes, anyway? If that’s the case, the LP’s worse than useless.

  5. If that’s the case, the LP’s worse than useless.

    You are correct, but no one in the LP is as famous as Ann Richards ever was. Her fame far outweighed her accomplishments.

  6. keep in mind that it all came to less than nothing.

    Jeez man, tough crowd. She’s DEAD. Can we just say she was a great woman and a great politician and hold off on trashing her repuation? Just for a minute?

  7. She dated Bill on King of the Hill. That says something about her.

  8. After seeing the slo-mo replay of her tonight of her famous line, “silver foot-in-mouth,” I’m wondering if the distinguished panel here would care to venture what she was on that eve.

  9. So if you don’t blame Richards for the subsequent failures of the Texas Dems, then why does her feistiness come to “less than nothing”?

    Because her celebrated putdown of Bush Sr. was followed by a Bush victory, and her misunderestimation of Bush Jr. was followed by another Bush victory. In other words, the Dems were in worse shape after than they were before. I liked Richards too, as a personality. But the way people talk you’d think her witty barbs led to Democratic victories, when if anything they led to defeats.

  10. I’m wondering if the distinguished panel here would care to venture what she was on that eve.

    She was drunk on power my friend. While I think smack shooting junkies are freedom-loving Americans I’m proud to call my brothers. Same goes for crack-heads, stoners, tweakers, and space-cadets. However, were it in my power to do so I would absolutely prohibit power. It is instantly addictive, and once it gets it’s hooks in you, all that matters is getting more and more. It takes less than three minutes on average, from the time a power junkie gets his first taste, till he sells his own mother into slavery. One thing you can be absolutely sure of, no one in a position of power (no matter how trivial) can ever be trusted.

  11. Yeah

    Richards was of that stripe of pseudo-populism which is one way Democrats hit on to keep losing. Molly Ivens is a good contemporary example. Dems are more appealing as Blue-State elitists…hell, be yo’self Man!

  12. Warren,
    I had no idea I would be causing you to wax so eloquent, but what you are saying is that rankism should be abolished… though easier said than done.

  13. Is there a worse southern accent than the Texas accent?

  14. I live in Texas and believe me Ann Richards was at best a below average governor. She did nothing of note and to that point the only thing I remember her for is her photo op sitting on a Harley. Oh yeah selling corn chips too. She was VERY close to Molly Ivans who wrote the infamous Saint Ann column near the day of her defeat by GWB. Sorry she died but that does not chnage the fact she was not a good politician.

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