R.G. Ratcliffe

R. G. Ratcliffe began working for Texas Monthly as a freelance writer in 2011 and joined the staff as a senior editor for politics in 2017. After retiring in 2019, he became one of the magazine’s writers-at-large. Drawing on 22 years of experience as a political and investigative reporter for the Houston Chronicle, Ratcliffe was on the Texas Monthly team that produced the Best and Worst Legislators list from 2015 to 2021. Ratcliffe covered seven presidential campaigns, as well as the classic gubernatorial races when Democrat Ann Richards defeated Republican cowboy businessman Clayton Williams, in 1990, and when she was defeated, four years later, in an election that put Republican George W. Bush on the path to the presidency. Ratcliffe was featured in the HBO documentary about Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign, Journeys With George. He also was a key source in the Bill Moyers documentary Capitol Crimes, about the political corruption of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Republican House majority leader Tom DeLay. A native of Dallas, Ratcliffe earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and in American history from the University of Missouri.

455 Articles

Politics & Policy|
May 30, 2011

R.G.’s Take: The Budget Session Nobody Enjoyed

As the 82nd Legislature hurtled this weekend toward a crash landing, freshman Republican Representative Lanham Lyne of Wichita Falls stepped up to the front microphone of the Texas House to deliver his first major legislative speech. Lyne was arguing on behalf of the budget, which cuts billions, yet he seemed

Politics & Policy|
May 26, 2011

R.G.’s Take: Perry Gets His Way Again

Oh, ye liberals, Democrats and college professors, weep. There is no doubt now that the man you love to hate – Governor Rick Perry – will be the biggest winner of the 82nd Legislature. Perry has gotten his way on almost every item on is legislative agenda and squeezed the

Politics & Policy|
May 24, 2011

R.G.’s Take: The Nanny State of Texas

Once upon a time, not so long ago, in a faraway land called Pennsylvania, a woman named Sarah Palin brought 200 protest cookies to school for children at the Plumstead Christian School - because she had read a report – mistaken as it turns out – that the state was

Politics & Policy|
May 19, 2011

Deal or no deal

When senators Florence Shapiro and Steve Ogden earlier today said they had a budget deal, the deal apparently was just among the senators. House Speaker Joe Straus just issued this statement:

Politics & Policy|
May 19, 2011

Dewhurst said deal left in Straus’ hands

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst just emerged from a meeting in Speaker Joe Straus’ office and said he left the Senate’s budget “deal” with the speaker to consider. Dewhurst said he had 21 senators signed onto the deal — the 19 Republicans and Democratic senators Royce West of Dallas and Juan

Politics & Policy|
May 18, 2011

Ogden frustrated, says special session possible

Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden stormed off in the opposite direction from other conference committee negotiators as they left Speaker Joe Straus’ office. Caught in the stairwell behind the House, Ogden made a dour prediction: “We really haven’t made any progress. “There’s several issues. The thing that’s frustrating to me

Politics & Policy|
May 13, 2011

R.G.’s Take: Texas Partisanship Week

Thursday was to have been Teacher Appreciation Day in the Legislature under House Republican plans to bring up HB 400 to make it easier for school districts to furlough or fire teachers, while giving those who remain employed the opportunity to teach more children in larger classes. Only

Politics & Policy|
April 28, 2011

R.G.’s Take: No budget joy in Mudville

Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden stands like Casey at the Bat, fully wanting to score. And nothing but a base hit, or a walk, perhaps, will get him to the floor. As this week ended with the scoreboard showing naught, Ogden admitted he lacked the stroke to bring his budget

Politics & Policy|
April 18, 2011

Steve Ogden’s Sweet Spot

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden today talked to reporters about the Senate’s two year budget proposal. The bottom line numbers, they said, will remain a squishy secret until Thursday. And how extra money for the plan will be raised will be revealed Tuesday. But for

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