How long can George W. Bush run for president without running for president?
By forming an exploratory committee, Bush can start raising money for his inevitable presidential run yet continue to avoid those annoying tasks that a presidential candidate must perform--campaigning, for instance.
Bush, the Mario Cuomo of the GOP, does not plan on truly throwing himself into the race until after the legislative session ends in May. If he can come up with a way to further postpone the beginning of his campaign, he will.
Who can really blame him for dragging his feet? Would you want to get close enough to Pat Buchanan to have him froth all over you? Or have to shake the sweaty palm of Steve Forbes? Or make small talk with Lamar Alexander? Or endure those awkward moments with Dan Quayle, making chitchat about his favorite episode of Gilligan's Island?
Nevertheless, the exploratory committee is a farce. What could Bush possibly have left to explore? He's ahead in the polls. Money won't be a problem and neither will name identification.
By prolonging his non-candidacy, he also can put off having to answer those pesky questions from the national media. Questions like "How would you propose putting an end to Saddam Hussein's terror?" (Some advice: Don't answer that last question with, "Well, I think I'll ask my dad.")
When Bush announced the formation of the exploratory committee Tuesday at the governor's mansion, he invited only Texas-based media to the briefing.
He'll face national reporters on Sunday at a second news conference in Austin. If Sunday is going to be his real announcement, that makes what happened Tuesday a pre-announcement announcement for a non-campaign campaign of a presidential candidate who isn't running for president.
For some time now, Texas GOP chairwoman Susan Weddington has referred to her feeble opposition as the "Democrat" party--her way of reminding folks that the Democratic Party is about as democratic as the Teamsters.
At least she's polite. "Sorry Lame-Ass Loser Party" would have been Buzz's choice--or, for brevity, the Dead Party.
Democrat-ick Party chairwoman Molly Beth Malcolm, a supposed adult, now has sniped back by referring to the other side as the "Republic Party of Texas." Apparently, she hopes to conjure up images of crazy backwoods zealots with big guns and bad haircuts, which pretty much sums up the GOP members of the State Board of Education.
Clearly, when in comes to wit, we're not exactly dealing with Oscar Wilde here. Still, we support any effort to make politics a little sillier and more vicious--it makes our job much easier. So, Sue and Molly, here's what you do: Get good and liquored up and challenge each other to a game of the dozens. You know: "Your mama's so fiscally conservative they call her kangaroo--short arms and deep pockets."
OK, so that's not exactly sparkling, but Buzz isn't allowed to get liquored up until we're done writing--believe it or not.
--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams