For some time now, “Captain Ed” Morrisey has been publishing an Obamateurism Of The Day at HotAir.com. Needless to say, he hasn’t even come close to running out of material. Captain Ed hasn’t blogged about the following story yet, but it certainly merits a place in the “Obamateurism” category.
ON Tuesday, Brad Watson from WFAA in Dallas had the audacity to challenge President Obama during a one-on-“One” TV interview. As we all know, our President tends to become testy in adversarial situations, and this interview was no exception.
But there was one answer given by the President that I found fascinating. When Watson asked President Obama to speculate on why he was so unpopular in Texas, the President replied, “Well, look, Texas has always been a pretty Republican state, you know, for historic reasons.”
Texas didn’t begin its political blue-red shift until 1978, when Bill Clements was elected as the state’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction (that’s a century of Democrat control of Texas state government, for those as ignorant of history as our Law Professor in Chief). Clements’ predecessor, Dolph Briscoe, was a conservative Democrat who campaigned as a reformer, and won the governorship in 1972 based largely on his pledges to end corruption within his party and within the Texas state government.
Briscoe’s election was the result of the Sharpstown stock scandal, a shining example of the kind of corruption enabled by single-party dominance over state government. Numerous state government officials, including then-lieutenant governor Ben Barnes, were implicated in the scandal. Texas bank tycoon Frank Sharp secretly loaned hundreds of thousands of dollars to Texas politicos, which was used to purchase stock in one of Sharp’s insurance companies. Sharp manipulated the company’s books in order to artificially inflate its value. Sharp’s crony investors then sold their shares at the inflated price, paid back the secret loans, and pocketed a nice profit.
Unfortunately for the Texas Democrats, one of the patsies who got taken to the cleaners as a result of this little scam was the Strake Jesuit College Preparatory school, which lost $6 million after it invested in National Bankers Life at the height of its artificially inflated share value. This proved to be a PR disaster of epic proportions, and the Texas Democratic political machine was dealt a heavy blow, from which it never fully recovered. And even though he wasn’t directly involved in the Sharpstown trading scandal, the political career of Ben Barnes, who was considered to be the Democratic party’s ‘golden boy’ and heir-apparent to the governorship, was for all intents and purposes completely destroyed.
Oh, and if his name sounds familiar, it is probably due to his connection with the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry. Barnes was one of only a handful of people who personally raised over $500,000 for Kerry. He was also the unofficial “go-between” who hooked the Kerry Campaign up with retired Texas Air National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Bill Burkett and his dubious “Rathergate” memos. Ben Barnes was also interviewed by CBS News, stating on the record that he was aware of circumstances that led him to believe that President Bush’s official TANG service records had been falsified.
On second thought, maybe President Obama simply doesn’t want to own up to the sordid history of the Texas Democratic Party, which also includes the massive legacy of corruption surrounding LBJ, and utterly shameful attempts to exclude minority voters from participation in statewide primary elections.
All of that cronyism and corruption probably hits way too close to home. And it doesn’t exactly benefit the whole “hope and change” narrative, does it?