Go­ing home

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

One thing is for cer­tain about the post-pres­i­dency of Ge­orge W. Bush: “Un­der no cir­cum­stances” will first lady Laura Bush spend her re­tire­ment years liv­ing at the much-bal­ly­hooed Texas ranch that she and the pres­i­dent have been “es­cap­ing” to for the past seven years.

Or so one gen­tle­man in the know tells Inside the Belt­way, ex­plain­ing that the Bush fam­ily will settle down in Dal­las and visit the Craw­ford ranch for week­end get­aways.

Once writ­ing about the ranch in the pub­li­ca­tion Cow­boys & In­di­ans, Eric O’Keefe re­called that, in 1999, when Gov. Bush gave ar­chi­tect David Hey­mann a list of de­sign pri­or­i­ties for the new ranch house, his “top three re­quests were any­thing but ex­trav­a­gant: a king­sized bed, a good shower and some com­fort­able chairs on the porch.”

The new Bush home, our source as­sures us, will be far more ex­trav­a­gant and cer­tainly less dusty. In fact, Mrs. Bush on Nov. 8 com­mented three times in one sen­tence about the in­fa­mous Texas dust dur­ing a visit to Amar­illo and Mid­land, both in west­ern Texas.

Tex­ans, mean­while, are said to be fol­low­ing what Ken Her­man of the Austin Amer­i­can-States­man de­scribes as Mr. Bush’s “last roundup,” “fi­nal rodeo,” “last stam­pede,” to gauge what im­pact his low ap­proval rat­ings might have on the im­age of Texas.

South­ern Methodist Univer­sity po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist Cal Jill­son com­plained that Mr. Bush “has fed into that sort of im­age of Texas as shoot­ing from the hip and pro­ceed­ing on the ba­sis of your own sense rather than con­sult­ing more broadly and look­ing for com­mon ground.”

But that’s a good thing, coun­tered Rep. Michael McCaul, Austin Repub­li­can, who told Mr. Her­man that “Tex­ans have a way of talk­ing straight and stick­ing to our guns, and I don’t think any­one can ar­gue that the pres­i­dent, for bet­ter or worse, hasn’t done that.”

Fur­ther­more, he ar­gued, no lone per­son — not even a pres­i­dent — de­fines the Lone Star State.

Take Harry S. Tru­man, who left of­fice with the low­est ap­proval rat­ing of any mod­ern pres­i­dent, which “did not im­pact the way the na­tion or world viewed Mis­souri,” the law­maker said.

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