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NoPasaran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-04-04 08:29 AM
Original message
Barnes: 'Take Back Texas'
It's taken nearly three decades, but former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes is slowly re-emerging into Lone Star politics. The Democrat, despite never being charged with any crime, saw his rising political career killed in the 1970s by his closeness to players in the Sharpstown scandal. He's kept a relatively low profile since then, but the reign of George W. Bush and the Republican takeover of the Legislature has inspired him in recent months to speak out. Last week, he whipped members of Austin for Kerry into a frenzy at Mother Egan's Irish Pub.

"I'm damned mad about my state," Barnes told the 60 or so cheering Democrats on the pub's outdoor patio. "I love that Capitol. I served where we had the best highway system, higher education. ... We took the University of Texas and Texas A&M to where they were in the top five universities in the United States; we raised teachers' salaries where they came from 37th to 18th in the United States; we got in the top five states in mental health and mental retardation; we were working on plans to insure every single child in Texas, and today we're ranked 50th or 47th or 48th in almost all the areas of state responsibility. The only thing we rank number one in is prisons.

"That Capitol is occupied by people that don't love Texas," Barnes continued. "They're up there for their own selfish benefit and gain, and we've gotta take back Texas for the Democratic Party."

Barnes went on to lavish praise on John Kerry, saying that he initially told Kerry he couldn't support him but changed his mind after one round of golf with the now-presumptive Dem presidential nominee. He also disputed that a Republican chokehold on Texas is a foregone conclusion: "This is not a Republican state; Texas is a moderate conservative state." And, he says, one that will become winnable by Dems when people see that "no new taxes" and "scrubbing the budget" means, in Barnes' words, that "they've scrubbed the budget where 25% of the people in Texas don't have health insurance, they've scrubbed the budget where 500,000 kids right now have been taken off insurance."

-more-
http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2004-06-...
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GOPisEvil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-04-04 08:39 AM
Response to Original message
1. Go Ben!!!
"That Capitol is occupied by people that don't love Texas," Barnes continued. "They're up there for their own selfish benefit and gain, and we've gotta take back Texas for the Democratic Party." And for the people of Texas, too.
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mazzarro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-04-04 08:46 AM
Response to Original message
2. That is the kind of talk I will come out in full support for any Texas
Democrat. I am tired of wimpy, accomodationist approach to the rethuglican't mafia politics. Kerry, IMO, needs to return to the approach he used when he was trailing Howard Dean in the primaries. Yes principled moderation is understable but wimpiness is an abomination in my view.
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-04-04 08:56 AM
Response to Original message
3. Barnes was never considered liberal
when he was in office. In fact he was associated with the conservative party in the then two party state of liberal and conservative Democrats.
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ashling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-04-04 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. most of those "conservocrats" went over when
Reagan started running nationally. I remember the hoopla about Reagan Democrats voting in the Republican primary and then crossing back over for the runnoff in the Dem.

I was a delegate for Carter that year.
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-04-04 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Although Carter carried Texas in 1976....
Edited on Fri Jun-04-04 09:58 PM by Gman
and there were a lot in 1976, I remember the crossovers to the GOP really starting in earnest in Texas just before Reagan was elected when in 1978 Bill Clements was elected guv the first time.
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ashling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-04-04 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I say if Ben Barnes is still a Dem., through all of that
then Bless him. Take Back Texas!

BTW, not only did Carter Carry Texas that year, but , and this was just the way the vote came in, but it was Texas that put him over the top. I remember watching the returns from my dorm room at law school.
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-05-04 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. You got it...
damn near all of them, including Conally went over.
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ashling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-05-04 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I wish I still had my bumper sticker from back then:
"Texas Democrat - Always have been, always will be."
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salonghorn70 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-06-04 05:34 PM
Response to Original message
9. Ben Barnes Owes Me Money
Back in 1972, I was a weekend desk clerk at the 40 Acres Club on the Drag working my way through grad school at UT. The place was owned by Republican Jack Cox and was generally a hang out for lots of Austin's power brokers. One evening Barnes came over and asked me if he could borrow a dime. Who knows why. He sill owes it. I have not calculated the interest. Where's my Money?
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Wright Patman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-04 07:09 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Ben Barnes went just about belly-up
financially during the oil bust. He and the aforementioned John Connally were in business together and were going to become real estate tycoons.

I think Barnes has made a comeback, though, and is a multimillionaire again. Maybe someone who knows more than I could elaborate.

I can also verify that he was never a "liberal." My late father wouldn't have been his campaign manager in this county had he been so labeled.

Very few Texas Democrats who have ever held statewide office have been. I think Ann Richards was the last one, although I would submit that going on the biggest prison-building spree in world history wasn't exactly a progressive move. Her attempt to appease the "law and order" crowd didn't work anyhow and the BFEE swept her out of office after one term.

One other remembrance of Barnes from around 1970ish days was that former President Johnson once fairly confidently predicted to his associates who would come to see him at the LBJ ranch (which was actually a genuine ranch and not an abandoned "pig farm") that Barnes would someday make it to the White House himself.

Unfortunately, we've only had one Texas politician's prediction of ascendancy to the highest office in the land that has come true in recent years and that was when the late Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock predicted that * would be president. Bullock had a huge blind spot when it came to *.
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