The 1993 Bum Steer Awards

Hail to the beef! Texas tried to give the nation its next president but instead only produced the next Bum Steers. Two of them, in fact: George Bush and Ross Perot share the Bum Steer of the Year awards. But that’s the kind of year 1992 was. In what other election year could one state produce two major candidates in the general election and fail to elect either one?

The strangest things kept happening. In America the economy went down, and in Japan the president threw up. At Houston’s Republican National Convention in August, the weather was cool, Pat Buchanan was hot, and keynoter Phil Gramm was just lukewarm. In the debates Bush eyed his watch and Perot was all ears. As his parting shot of the campaign, the president described his Democratic opponents as Bozo and Ozone.

Perot’s campaign was just as strange. In the spring he went from out of the race to first in the polls in just four months. In the summer he went from first in the polls to out of the race in just four weeks. In the fall he was back in and climbing fast until he said on 60 Minutes that he had left the race because of fears that Republicans would disrupt his daughter’s wedding. He won the debate wars but lost the CBS piece.

Presidential candidates weren’t the only Texans who made 1992 a Bum Steer year. The Rice Owls won more football games than Nolan Ryan won baseball games. American Airlines lost big money, and the backers of the bullet train couldn’t find any. The new Texas lottery took away our money, and Congress tried to take away our supercollider. Can a president from Arkansas make things better in 1993? Look at the bright side—at least he’s not from Oklahoma.

Losing Isn’t Everything
Kyle Pennington of San Antonio bought three Texas lottery tickets to show her children the folly of gambling. She won $150.

Call Me Back When You Have an Answer
After seventeen years on the lam, prison escapee James Sanders was captured in Fritch—where he had started a new life, married, and fathered a daughter—after he called the FBI to find out how someone could clear his name.

James Sanders Might Fall for It
The City of Rollingwood announced a plan to paint stray dogs with spray guns, hoping that owners could be issued a citation when they called the city to complain.

Those Big Ol’ Books Were Just Too Tough for Our Kids, but at Least They Never Quit
The NCAA Graduation-Rates Report, which calculated what percentage of scholarship football players entering college in 1984 and 1985 graduated within six years, revealed that the University of Houston and Texas Tech tied for the next-to-worst record in the nation, with a graduation rate of 14 percent. The only school with a lower graduating percentage, Southeastern Louisiana, dropped football in 1986.

Horses and Zebras Don’t Mix
The Texas Tech school mascot, a black horse carrying a masked rider, galloped around Jones Stadium while celebrating a Tech touchdown against Wyoming and knocked down a referee.

What Did Richard Nixon Know and When Did He Know It?
Thieves broke into the state headquarters of the Texas Democratic party in Austin and stole $3,100 in campaign filing fees.

But We’ll Miss Dorito Breath
Frito-Lay of Dallas announced that its new recipe for nacho cheese chips would reduce the problem of “Dorito breath.”

That’s Nothing. His Washington Landlord Is $4 Trillion In Debt
Houstonian Properties Limited, the owner of the land and building at the Houstonian Hotel and Conference Center, where George Bush maintains a suite as his official residence for voting and tax purposes, filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 because of $28.3 million in unpaid debts.

Another Dirty Trick
Two of the eighteen new voting precincts in Lubbock had no residents and were located in the city landfill.

Take Two Aspirin and Sue Me in the Morning
After a lawyer took out a newspaper advertisement seeking the names of people who had been injured on the Rattler, Fiesta Texas’ roller coaster with a 166-foot drop, officials for the new San Antonio theme park said that of 600,000 riders, only around 30 had been sent to hospitals.

Let Them Eat Red Tape
Federal inspectors at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio found more than eighty mail buckets containing unpaid bills from vendors supplying groceries.

They’re Redlining The Pond This Year
A Bank One customer in San Antonio, whose loan application had previously been denied, was arrested after he entered the bank, stripped off his clothes, and quacked like a duck.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
Harris Country deputy sheriff Edward Estmere Webb, Jr., was charged with theft for removing approximately $600 from the collection plate during services at the Southeast Church of Christ.

Stumped! A Campaign in the Neck.

Where Is Santa Anna When You Really Need Him?
Pat Buchanan campaigned in San Antonio before the Texas presidential primary dressed as a defender of the Alamo.

Now We Know Who Really Has Family Values
Millie’s Book, Barbara Bush’s story of life in the White House told from the viewpoint of the family’s pet spaniel, earned $889,176. Looking Forward, George Bush’s autobiography, earned $2,718.

Smile if Galveston Is Tickling Your Nose
Hillary Clinton campaigned in Texas wearing sunglasses in the shape of the state.

They’re Looking for Deep Pockets
Ferrumar Resources of Alexandria, Virginia, formed a foundation dedicated to recovering Barbara III, the torpedo bomber that Lieutenant (j.g.) George Bush bailed out of over the Pacific Ocean in 1944.

Read My Clips. No New Taxes
After an article in Money magazine revealed that George Bush avoids paying around $29,000 annually in state income taxes by declaring Texas as his legal residence instead of Maine, Doonesbury character Zonker Harris told readers that they could do likewise by declaring their intention to move to Texas. More than 55,000 people clipped out the mock application that accompanied the cartoon and mailed it to state comptroller John Sharp.

It’ll Make a Great Pie Chart
Girard Kinney won an Austin pumpkin carving contest

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