Well, I'm pretty much done kicking this tire. I'd rather give this subject plenty of rest till fall before it turns the great mass of voters off completely. Remember, G.W. was elected governor in Texas by less than 25 percent of the eligible voters.
I am now persuaded that Bush has improved the public-school education system by standardized testing, accountability, and by trying to end social promotion. When Texas students are among the top 10 nationally as far as SAT scores and Texas teachers are among the top 10 in salaries, then I will be convinced our schools are worth bragging about.
And Greg and Paul, I wish you were as passionate about land use and about empowering local governments—rather than letting the state bully cities and counties who want to control their own destinies, especially in issues concerning water quality (the state legislature vs. Austin), guns, the death penalty, campaign finance, and the environment—as you are about education. Because I believe those issues do and will matter nationally, where they've been downplayed here in Texas.
And don't discount the Texas factor. We do think highly of ourselves, but some of the messages posted on "The Fray" remind me that there's a definite hostility toward Texans in some quarters, meaning if G.W. keeps turning up the volume on his hayseed accent, he could be turning off potential voters. Think prep school, Guv.
Which brings up these larger questions:
Could George W. Bush be president? My short answer is, Sure. But so could many other people.
Should George W. Bush be president? I just don't know, and I wish I did. At this point, my choices as a voter are too limited by two guys who are more alike than different, which bums me out. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats speak to me. I'm more ready than ever for a third-party candidate to come along and upset the apple cart. I am disturbed how both Bush and Gore are on another fund-raising frenzy. I hate big money and the influence it buys. It smacks of just another kind of poll tax, only less polite. The more money you spend, the more influence you get. Disgusting. I'll vote for someone else, maybe even write-in my wife again—she'd make a great president—just in the hope that it might ruin the plans of both Bush and Gore.
Voter participation in the United States is lower than voter participation even in Russia, for a good reason. We're turned off by the whole ugly mess. George W. Bush offers no hope to me that this vicious cycle will end someday soon and citizens will once again be engaged by the political process. Al Gore offers no hope either.
You guys hash it out till November. I'd rather write about something else.
My prediction: If the economy's like it is now, Gore wins. If it tanks, it's Bush.
Hasta la vista,