Interview with Ben Barnes

The Austin Chronicle briefly profiles and then gives a more extensive interview to Ben Barnes. I highly recommend it, though I disagree often.

I read Barnes' memoir on a Wednesday about a month or so ago and took extensive notes. It was an excellent read, and I'd recommend it, but I lost my notes. So I'll wait to give it a fuller review until I reread or find my notes. Instead, I'll excerpt the portions relevant to this year's gubernatorial race:

I'm supporting [Carole Strayhorn] to get rid of a person who gets an "F" on his report card for what he has done as governor of Texas.I don't want to make it personal, but where Texas is today is back with Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. We're No. 1 in public education dropouts, we're No. 1 in prisons, we're No. 1 in children's deaths. We're getting statistics that just make us almost a Third World country. And if Texans really understood that, I don't think they'd be willing to accept that.

The Republicans are going to have a lot of reasons to be mad at me because I'm going to travel the country with this book, and I'm going to talk. And they can't get on me and say I'm out there trying to sell this book to make any money, because the proceeds from my book are going to the Boys & Girls Club [in Austin], and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Jack Kennedy said that sometimes party loyalty asks too much. And man, I like Chris Bell. I think he's a great candidate and a good guy, but he's not going to have the money to have an impact when Perry pulls in the money from the Jim Leiningers and Bob Perrys. [Rick] Perry has unlimited funds. Carole Strayhorn understands government, she's been there, she's comptroller. People have forgotten that Carole will have to have the Democrats in the Legislature to do anything if she got elected governor. And if she was governor, she'd have to be hoping not publicly but she'd have to be hoping more Democrats got elected. So it works in my mind that this can be a step in the right direction.

Look, we're not going to elect anybody statewide this time, even if we had the money. I think because of my age that I've become more of a political realist. I'm not Don Quixote as much as I was at one time.

I'm going to continue to support Democrats with my money, my time and energy, but it was very easy for me to see and to encourage my friends that Carole Strayhorn is the only possible person to beat Rick Perry. And I'm sorry Kinky's running. I like Kinky Friedman. But if Kinky was not running, Carole would be ahead right now; there's that much dislike for Perry. So it'll be interesting to see how independents run in Texas. We haven't had an independent governor since Sam Houston.

Barnes is very bright and someone I'd very much like to meet. I don't mostly agree with him, but I recognize his acumen and respect him. It's mildly depressing that at about my age he was Lt. Guv. So, if he ever wants a fair but challenging blog interview, I'd be willing. Heh.

Here's the one thing he said that I agree with:

California has nine flagship universities, and we've got two. U.S. News & World Report ranked them the lowest they've ever been since they started doing the rankings.
I quibble with how many "flagships" he gives California, but I absolutely agree that Texas needs more flagships universities.

Posted by Evan @ 07/07/06 12:04 AM


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What our are 2 flagship universities? A&M and UT? What were the requirements to be considered a flagship university?

Posted by Sentinel @ 07/10/06 03:03 PM

Those are the ones.

Requirements? It's a certain level of prestige only, so far as I can tell.

Posted by evan @ 07/12/06 09:18 PM

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