Wed April 2, 2014 2:11 pm By Erica Grieder

Last month I had a chance to sit down with journalist Alexis Garcia of Reason, a libertarian magazine and website, to talk about Texas. The interview was published last week, and you can watch it at the link. I'll revisit two points from the interview here. 

First, an elaboration on what I mean by "tacitly libertarian." People who describe themselves as libertarian or as part of the liberty movement are concerned with liberty as a first principle. Insofar as government encroaches on liberty, they generally align with fiscal conservatives, albeit not necessarily for the same reasons. Drug policy is one of the issues where the two perspectives result in support for similar policies, albeit for different reasons. Rick Perry, for example, has emerged as a critic of the War on Drugs; later today he's making an appearance in Lubbock, to accept a "Governor of the Year" award from the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. When he talks about the issue, he's generally emphasized controlling costs and reducing recidivism. That's a fiscally conservative mindset. Libertarians may approach the issue differently--by arguing, for example, that the criminalization of marijuana is government overreach analogous to prohibition--but the result is that they'll typically support fiscally conservative reforms in this area. 

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Mon March 31, 2014 2:36 pm By Paul Burka

Glenn Hegar, the Republican nominee for comptroller, wants to eliminate property taxes. He is among a number of Republicans who have sounded an alarm about the subject, and called for them to be reduced if not eliminated. The main argument is that Texas's average property tax burden is too high. But it also has an ideological dimension: If a homeowner has to pay property taxes, does he or she really own his own home? I don't have any problem saying yes, but apparently others do.

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Fri March 28, 2014 9:13 am By Brian D. Sweany

“Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president.” Monday marks the anniversary of those words, spoken by Lyndon Johnson from the White House on the evening of March 31, 1968. It marked a stunning end to a singular political career: congressman, senator, vice president, and president. Johnson, of course, assumed the presidency in the midst of a terrible national tragedy, but in 1964 he went on to win the highest percentage of the popular vote in the 20th century.

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Fri March 21, 2014 11:05 am By Brian D. Sweany

“I’ve never been a long-term planner about anything,” George W. Bush told this magazine in a May 1994 cover story. “I have lived my life with more of a short-term focus—on the theory that other interesting things would come up for me to do.” That candor (Bush insists that he didn’t decide to run until June 1993) is a revealing part of his personality, and it was an important aspect of a feature written by one of Texas Monthly’s most celebrated profile writers, Skip Hollandsworth. As the 1994 general election geared up between Bush and the popular incumbent, Democrat Ann Richards, Hollandsworth saw part of the campaign’s dynamic this way:

Bush is keenly aware that a lot of people, even those who swear allegiance to him, don’t know a thing about him as a politician except that he is the former president’s boy. George the Younger, he’s called. The First Son. The Shrub. Regardless of how much George W. Bush wants to talk about issues, the decisive factors in many voters’ minds are likely to be how they perceive him to be like his father and how they perceive him to be different—whether they believe he has his father’s strengths or his weaknesses.

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Thu March 20, 2014 10:40 am By Brian D. Sweany

No less than former first lady Barbara Bush said of Strauss's death last night, "He is absolutely the most amazing politician. He is everybody's friend and, if he chooses, could sell you the paper off your own wall." Strauss, of course, was a Democrat who ended up on the April 1974 cover of Texas Monthly along with George H.W. Bush. As Al Reinert wrote in a piece titled "Bob and George Go to Washington, or The Post-Watergate Scramble":

In less than a week’s time during December 1972, two Texans were named National Chairmen of the Democratic and Republican Parties. Robert Strauss, the Democrat, was a lifelong friend of John Connally—law school classmate, hunting sidekick, co-tenant of a lakeside cottage—yet lost the former governor to the GOP soon after taking office. Republican George Bush—who generously traded to the Democrats one of his own schoolmates, fraternity brother (Skull & Bones) and New York Mayor John Lindsay—graciously welcomed Connally, who had been largely responsible (in Bush’s estimation) for Bush’s defeat in the 1970 Senate election. The winner of that race, Connally protege Lloyd Bentsen, had been Bush’s occasional tennis foe and confederate in the same country club, as well as the first U.S. Senator to call for the election of Bob Strauss.

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