Thursday, September 14, 2006

Silver spoons and straight sense

The American political landscape suffered a the loss of one of it legends on Wednesday night, as Ann Richards the Former Governor of Texas passed away in her home state, having waged a six month battle with cancer.

Ann Richards was a life long Democrat who talked like aTexas cattle baron or oil tycoon, she was brash and bold, funny, and informative, and by far one of the most entertaining speakers the Democrats could ever conjure up.

A political speech by Richards spoke to the everyday worker, not steeped in privilege but in honest work coupled with dreams and aspirations.

This keynote address to the 1988 Democratic convention, best exemplifies not only her style but her message. It’s a piece of emotional political theatre that seems so lacking by today’s politicians. And sadly the themes that she touches on in it, seem to be the same issues that haunt the USA some 18 years later.

She personified the Democratic party of the late eighties, expressed what they stood for and pulled no punches. Her brand of politician seems to have been lost in the myriad of focus groups, poll driven agendas and glossed over image makers.

Her keynote address to the convention, preceded the nomination of the ill fated candidacy of Micheal Dukakis, its too bad the convention didn’t take a flyer and draft Richards to the ticket, her outspoken beliefs for the common worker and the average family would have probably found an audience, something that Dukakis couldn’t seem to pull off once he had that nomination declared.

By the time the election rolled around, George Bush (the original) returned the Republicans to the White House, a place they had grown quite comfortable in after eight years of Reagan. He did it in part with one of the most negative election campaigns ever waged in American history, though to be fair the Democrats weren't sitting idly by in the corner crying poor me. Both sides found that negatives garnered attention, lesson that to this day seem to form the blue print of many an election campaign beyond Americas borders!

That convention however, delivered one of the best political lines ever delivered by a politician, it’s part of the speech you can listen to at the link above, but to tease you and leave you wanting for more, here’s a quote, THE quote that set the agenda for the convention and an election:

"And, for eight straight years George Bush hasn't displayed the slightest interest in anything we care about.

And now that he's after a job that he can't get appointed to, he's like Columbus discovering America. He's found child care. He's found education.

Poor George. He can't help it - he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

She spoke her mind and was afraid of no one!

Just the vision of a Richards vs. Bush campaign leaves you wishing that it could have been so. An Ann Richards-George Bush debate, that would have been something to sell tickets to.

The Democrats who continue to wander the political desert these oh so many years, could use more like her. The passion and straight talking that personified her is sadly missing in many politicians today.

There’s an old saying about people in Texas that certainly describes those that talk the talk, but can’t walk the walk. Over the years many a Texan has been told; "that he/she is all hat and no cattle."

Ann Richards, now that was a lady that had the cattle!

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