CONGRATULATIONS TO TEXAS MONTHLY for your comprehensive look at the life and times of Governor Bush [“Who Is George W. Bush?” June 1999]. I don’t want to diminish an otherwise outstanding effort, but despite your careful fact checking, the articles included a couple of misrepresentations I feel obligated to correct.
The facts prove that the anonymous state official who claimed Governor Bush had somehow used favoritism to get into the National Guard is wrong. Colonel Walter B. Staudt, the commander who interviewed Governor Bush and recommended him for pilot training, has said that anyone who suggests the governor got into the Guard based on anything other than merit is a “damned liar.” The facts also show that Governor Bush’s unit did not have a waiting list but was undermanned when he entered the Guard. An aviation historian has confirmed records that show that just before Governor Bush enlisted, his unit had 98 officer slots authorized but only 69 assigned.
Finally, the governor has made clear that while his faith acknowledges Jesus Christ as his personal savior, he does not judge others and respects those who have different faiths. Governor Bush recognizes that judgments about heaven are made by God, not by governors.
Director Of Communications Bush For President
THE “GEORGE, WASHINGTON” PIECE in your articles on Governor Bush misses the point of a cited Houston Chronicle article. As the author of the Chronicle article, I thought I’d note the richer meaning.
Yes, George W. initially supported the desire of Dallas catalog king Roger Horchow to be chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, “because he gave money to my father.” This much was in your piece. But as the Chronicle article pointed out, after a quick cross-check of the records indicated that Horchow had also contributed to Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis, George W.’s advocacy of his acquaintance from Dallas stopped cold. “It didn’t take any more,” said a participant in the meeting of the “silent committee” who was quoted in the Chronicle article.
It was Bush’s reaction to Horchow’s bet-covering that more fully displayed his role as “a behind-the-scenes-operative who displayed and demanded unquestioned loyalty to the older Bush”—which was the point of your piece and mine.
Washington Bureau Chief Houston Chronicle
MY TWELVE-YEAR-OLD SON and I were wrapping up a three-game series with the Texas Rangers in June 1992 when it began to rain. While my son and I were standing in the exit, we witnessed a panicked crowd pushing and shoving and a fistfight. No security personnel were in sight. It was mighty ugly for the “fan-friendly” Rangers. After returning home, I wrote Mr. Bush, then the managing general partner of the Rangers, that his stadium personnel should have been prepared for such incidents. I was writing mostly to vent, not believing I’d get a reply. To my surprise, he sent a handwritten, two-page letter explaining how “my guys blew it” and offered an apology.
A couple years later I wrote Mr. Bush about a friend who had pitched for Montreal before being sent down to triple A. Again I received a handwritten reply, thanking me for my interest and that his scouts would look into the young man’s talents.
These letters reinforce George W. Bush’s forthright personal touch and how they are contrary to the typical notion of cold Republicanism. It also says much about how he was raised. It’s time we had a baseball man in the White House.
IT WARMS MY HEART TO SEE THAT a young man with grit and determination can overcome any obstacle. George W. didn’t let low grades at Andover keep him out of Yale. He didn’t let rejection from the University of Texas law school keep him out of Harvard Business School. He didn’t let the fact that his company lost $400,000 in six months keep him from selling it and pocketing $848,560. After all this adversity he managed to put together a deal to buy the Texas Rangers, invest $606,000, get the tax payers to fork over $135 million for a stadium, and then sell his share for almost $15 million. I think this shows pluck. George W. will make a fine president.
John A. Veillon
The Eagle Has Landed
THANKS TO SUZY BANKS AND OUR OLD FRIENDS at Texas Monthly, we may have solved a seventy-year-old mystery! In Banks’s article “Garden Variety” [June 1999] is a photograph taken by Wyatt McSpadden and a description of a cast-iron eagle. The life-size bird features a bas-relief date of 1906 at its base. Why is this significant?
The construction of the Terrell County courthouse in Sanderson was begun in 1906. From 1906 until the courthouse was remodeled in 1930, a spread-winged eagle perched high above the front entrance archway. An editor’s note and a photo caption in Terrell County: Its People and Its Past, say that the eagle disappeared during the “modernizing and remodeling of the courthouse in 1930.” No one knew what became of the eagle. Until your story.
A little digging indicated that the eagle could well be ours. We contacted Robuck Antiques in Austin, who agreed to sell the eagle to us once we raised the money, even turning down a higher offer from another party in the meantime. Our eagle made it back to Sanderson in time to participate in the Fourth of July parade.
Terry “Tex” Toler
Former Terrell County Economic and Tourism Development Coordinator
SAY SO LONG TO MARION WINIK FOR ME [First Person: “East Toward Home,” June 1999]. I’ve followed her life through her books and her articles in Texas Monthly and listened to National Public Radio for her unorthodox, always thought-provoking perspectives. She was an example to me in my days as a fledgling, unpublished writer. I empathize with her about leaving Texas. Although I, too, now call another place home, I still have half a dozen close relatives back in my native state—half a dozen reasons to visit. I hope to hear more from Ms. Winik in the future, but I will miss reading about Texas in her essays. Marion, in my book, you can call yourself a Texan any day. Thank you for portraying our state so lovingly.
Bank on That
THIS IS AN UNHAPPY TIME FOR THOSE who dream of raising taxes on working people and spending their money in Washington, so I am not surprised that some dream of a political landscape from which I am missing [Low Talk: “Has Gramm Had His Phil?” June 1999].
But before any Democrats get their hopes up, let me say that I am having my best year ever in the Senate. I am chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. I love my job and I think I’m pretty good at it and I expect to run for reelection at least a couple more times. It has occurred to me that if I equal Strom Thurmond’s record, I’ll be in the Senate for another forty years. I hope that doesn’t give any Democrats nightmares.
United States Senator
Editor’s Note: In “The Bingo King Is Dead. Long Live the Bingo King” [July 1999], former congressman Henry B. Gonzalez’s name was misspelled in several places. Texas Monthly regrets the error.