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1943Fwd: Molly, about Ann

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  • Greg Cannon
    Sep 16, 2006
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      --- Julie Keller <jakeller@...> wrote:

      > To: utepprogressives@yahoogroups.com
      > From: "Julie Keller" <jakeller@...>
      > Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 15:04:53 -0000
      > Subject: [utepprogressives] Molly, about Ann
      > Remembering Ann Richards
      > Personal reflections on wit and generosity of
      > departed Texas governor
      > AUSTIN, Texas -- She was so generous with her
      > responses to other
      > people. If you told Ann Richards something really
      > funny, she wouldn't
      > just smile or laugh, she would stop and break up
      > completely. She
      > taught us all so much -- she was a great campfire
      > cook. Her wit was a
      > constant delight. One night on the river on a canoe
      > trip, while we
      > all listened to the next rapid, which sounded like
      > certain death, Ann
      > drawled, "It sounds like every whore in El Paso just
      > flushed her
      > john."
      > She knew how to deal with teenage egos: Instead of
      > pointing out to a
      > kid who was pouring charcoal lighter on a live fire
      > that he was
      > idiot, Ann said, "Honey, if you keep doing that, the
      > fire is going to
      > climb right back up to that can in your hand and
      > explode and give you
      > horrible injuries, and it will just ruin my entire
      > weekend."
      > She knew what it was like to have four young
      > children and to be so
      > tired you cried while folding the laundry. She knew
      > and valued Wise
      > Women like Virginia Whitten and Helen Hadley.
      > At a long-ago political do at Scholz Garten in
      > Austin, everybody who
      > was anybody was there meetin' and greetin' at a
      > furious pace. A group
      > of us got the tired feet and went to lean our butts
      > against a table
      > at the back wall of the bar. Perched like birds in a
      > row were Bob
      > Bullock, then state comptroller, moi, Charles Miles,
      > the head of
      > Bullock's personnel department, and Ms. Ann
      > Richards. Bullock, 20
      > years in Texas politics, knew every sorry, no good
      > sumbitch in the
      > entire state. Some old racist judge from East Texas
      > came up to
      > him, "Bob, my boy, how are you?"
      > Bullock said, "Judge, I'd like you to meet my
      > friends: This is Molly
      > Ivins with the Texas Observer."
      > The judge peered up at me and said, "How yew, little
      > lady?"
      > Bullock, "And this is Charles Miles, the head of my
      > personnel
      > department." Miles, who is black, stuck out his
      > hand, and the judge
      > got an expression on his face as though he had just
      > stepped into a
      > fresh cowpie. He reached out and touched Charlie's
      > palm with one
      > finger, while turning eagerly to the pretty, blonde,
      > blue-eyed Ann
      > Richards. "And who is this lovely lady?"
      > Ann beamed and replied, "I am Mrs. Miles."
      > One of the most moving memories I have of Ann is her
      > sitting in a
      > circle with a group of prisoners. Ann and Bullock
      > had started a rehab
      > program in prisons, the single most effective thing
      > that can be done
      > to cut recidivism (George W. Bush later destroyed
      > the program). The
      > governor of Texas looked at the cons and said, "My
      > name is Ann, and I
      > am an alcoholic."
      > She devoted untold hours to helping other
      > alcoholics, and anyone who
      > ever heard her speak at an AA convention knows how
      > close laughter and
      > tears can be.
      > I have known two politicians who completely reformed
      > the
      > bureaucracies they were elected to head. Bob Bullock
      > did it by
      > kicking ass at the comptroller's until hell wouldn't
      > have it. Fear
      > was his m.o. Ann Richards did it by working hard to
      > gain the trust of
      > the employees and then listening to what they told
      > her. No one knows
      > what's wrong with a bureaucracy better than the
      > bureaucrats who work
      > in it.
      > The 1990 race for governor was one of the craziest I
      > ever saw, with
      > Ann representing "New Texas."
      > Republican nominee Claytie Williams was a perfect
      > foil, down to his
      > boots, making comments that could be construed as
      > racist and sexist.
      > Ann was the candidate of everybody else, especially
      > for women. She
      > represented all of us who have lived with and
      > learned to handle good
      > ol' boys, and she did it with laughter. The spirit
      > of the crowd that
      > set off from the Congress Avenue Bridge up to the
      > Capitol the day of
      > Ann's inauguration was so full of spirit and joy. I
      > remember watching
      > San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros that day with tears
      > running down his
      > cheeks because Chicanos were finally included.
      > Ann got handed a stinking mess: Damn near every
      > state function was
      > under court order. The prisons were so crowded,
      > dangerous convicts
      > were being let loose. She had a long, grinding four
      > years and wound
      > up fixing all of it. She always said you could get a
      > lot done in
      > politics if you didn't need to take credit.
      > But she disappointed many of her fans because she
      > was so busy fixing
      > what was broken, she never got to change much. The
      > '94 election was a
      > God, gays and guns deal. Annie had told the
      > legislature that if they
      > passed a right-to-carry law, she would veto it. They
      > did, and she
      > did. At the last minute, the NRA launched a big
      > campaign to convince
      > the governor that we Texas women would feel ever so
      > much safer if we
      > could just carry guns in our purses.
      > Said Annie, "Well, you know that I am not a sexist,
      > but there is not
      > a woman in this state who could find a gun in her
      > handbag."
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