Page 21


photo by Ja,ua 13ircituni drinking beer and shuld just step aside. The guys felt the bossy bitches shuld shut up. Despite some hard words, it was much ado about nothing: Glenn Smith always felt that it was a struggle over who was going to be closer to Ann. Political campaigns are a perfect hotbed for such rivalries, and when the candidate is as attractive a personality as Ann, the question of who gets to hang out with her can become quite fraught with emotion. I never thought she was well served by her top staff, except Mary Beth Rogers. She was also bedeviled by Bob Bullock, who was jealous of her: He got pissed off because she hadn’t backed him when he took a stand in favor of a state income tax, a genuinely courageous move. When Bullock got pissed, as he not infrequently did, he was awful. In this case, he passed a constitutional amendment against the income tax out of pique. Ann disappointed many liberals, but then, she was elected governor of Texas, not Sweden. Ann ran again after four exhausting years, and it was fairly apparent she didn’t really want to do it. She had been working flat-out for the entire term. Although few people knew it, Ann had a form of grand mal epilepsy that could result in seizures: It was dangerous for her to get extremely tired. Ann pushed herself so hard and what she really needed was someone to force her to stop at the end of the day. But she felt under such pressure to run againall those people who believed in her, all those women who were inspired by her. One thing Ann delivered on was opening government to all the people. Her record of naming blacks and Hispanics to state boards and commissions, of working them into the bureaucracy so they rise at their own pace, has not been equaled sincenot that Bush or Perry tried much. It was wonderful to see her appointees standing in line to see her as she lay in state at the Capitol. The ’94 race was the full tide of Republican reaction. Newt Gingrich & Co. had taken Congress two years earlier, and it was God, Gays and Guns. Naturally, rumors somehow spread about Ann and lesbians: She had appointed two openly gay people out of 800 or so appointments, but gay is gay. Ann had also said that if the Legislature passed a right-to-carry law, she would veto it. They did, and she did. The NRA put on a big push to convince her that we Texas women would feel ever so much safer if we could just carry guns in our purses. Ann said, when she issued her veto, “You know I am not a sexist, but there is not a woman in this state who could find a gun in her handbag.” Had Ann been able to see just a little further into the future, she would have run like a racehorse. She really felt contempt for Bush and thought his ignorance and arrogance a dangerous combination. Depending on how liberal you are \(and this magazine is Ann’s lobbying career once she left office. When she was with the law firm of Verner, Lipfert, she actually lobbied for the tobacco companies. When I talked to her, it seemed to me more of a case of Ann getting paid for her political judgment, and she was right on every call she made. She told me the Senate had made a mistake by holding out for better than the attorneys’ general agreement with the tobacco companies, and she was right. I’m glad she got to make money and take the grandkids on cruises and the girls down the Grand Canyon and all that good stuff. The most touching moment at a smaller service for Ann came from Bud Shrake, known as Ann’s “walker” when she was governor. Shrake is not likely to spill sticky sentiment across an occasion. He said simply, “She was the center of my life for 17 years. I loved her. A-men. A-women. A-Ann.” I think what she said most often in her life was, “Idn’t it wonderful?” Molly Ivins is a nationally syndicated columnist. Her most recent book with Lou Dubose is Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America The Texas Observer BRAZOS BOOKSTORE invite you to join us for an evening with SWANEE HUNT Director of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard She will be discussing her new book Half-Life of a Zealot A Memoir Thursday, Nov. 9 7:00 p.m. 2421 Bissonnet St. Houston 20 THE TEXAS OBSERVER OCTOBER 6, 2006