HIGHTOWER: Getting to Know Shrub

Shrub Bush is our darling governor here in Texas -- he's the darling of the National Republican establishment, the national media...and especially, of America's moneyed interests. Hip-hip-hooray, they say, let's make George W. Bush president!Even before he has been tested in a single presidential primary, Prince Shrub is being anointed the victor in 2000. Not only is he the Republican frontrunner, but he's also been frontloaded with a $7 million campaign fund that is expected to grow to $50 million. Plus, he has a darling campaign slogan: "Compassionate Conservative."Shrub's only problem is that the election isn't today. There's still lots of time for folks to get beneath the surface of the little darling, and to realize that there's not much there -- the clothes have no emperor!Bush cites his Texas gubernatorial record as evidence that he is now ready to lead the nation. But, alas, Texas ranks right at the bottom in the number of college degrees awarded, children who have no health insurance, high school completion rates, spending on natural resources and parks, doctors per capita, average earnings per worker, home ownership, tax fairness, health care for workers, and prenatal care for women. This is leadership?However, to be fair, I must concede that Texas does rank right at the top in several other important categories, such as pollution, poverty rate, teenage unemployment, adult unemployment, cancer risks, people without health insurance, job-related deaths, and putting citizens in prison. This is compassion?Well, Bush does have a compassionate side -- in fact, he showed it just recently when he said:"There's a lot of people hurting." He was not referring to children without health insurance, but to Texas oil well owners. He pushed a $45 million tax break for them through the legislature, while killing a provision to provide health insurance for 200,000 Texas children.This is Jim Hightower, saying ... Get to know Shrub before they make him president.

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