There are a number of moments in the new documentary Ann Richards’ Texas that evoke the famous dictum: The more things change in American politics, the more they stay the same.
Early in the film, the directors, Keith Patterson and Jack Lofton, explore Richards’ 1990 race for Texas governor against the wealthy businessman Clayton Williams, who suffered a major public relations setback in his campaign after questions arose over how little he paid in federal income tax.
Patterson and Lofton also devote a considerable amount of screen time to Richards’ bruising and ultimately failed 1994 re-election campaign against George W. Bush. In the film, Richards was the left-leaning populist, and Bush was running against her on behalf of highly organized big business interests. While no explicit references are made to the upcoming November elections, the directors certainly do not deny such interpretations.
“You can’t help but look at some of the clips and some of the things that happened to Ann and draw direct parallels to President Obama,” Patterson said during an interview earlier this month. He added: “There’s this great American