Word is out that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison may run for another 6-year term in 2012. Whatever she promises about running or not running, no one can believe her. Example A: When she originally campaigned for the senate in a special election in1993 she vowed time and again to only seek two full terms after her short fill-in. She is now in her 17th year in the Senate. Example B: When seeking the GOP nod for governorship last year, Sen. Hutchison vowed to resign to run. Then she vowed to resign after the primary. Then (you get the drill by now) the resignation was to come sometime later. After Hutchison lost to Gov. Rick Perry, she decided not to resign at all, and now, as mentioned, there is that talk, not denied, that she will run for yet another term – her fifth. Notice what is not – repeat, not -- happening: There is no anger, no disappointment, because almost no one cares. The only people who care are the other Texas pols who had planned to move up a step with Hutchison’s departure. Back in the warehouse go those “Dewhurst for Senator” and “Lt. Gov. Abbot in 2012” and “Send Sheriff Rimfire to Austin” bumper stickers. So we have a top Texas officeholder who time and again goes back on her word with this constant Texas two-step (remember the guv’s dance in “Best Little Whorehouse”?) which we greet only with a sigh and a shrug. Meanwhile, we get all worked up over the Tigers’ Armando Galarraga almost-perfect game and who’s wearing what in “Sex and the City 2.” We line up in the dark to buy an iPad, but couldn’t care less when powerful office holders do not level with us. Some cads would say they lie. Why this lack of outrage? Because we now have such low expectations of our elected officials in both parties, the bar is so low, that we no longer care if they deceive us, line their pockets, preach Family Values while having a lover on the side. I think we’re so numb and cynical that we no longer care when our politicians turn out to be hypocrites, more concerned with their own careers than their constituents’ welfare, as I was telling Arlen Specter. Yesterday I was driving along and heard a talk show radio host say, “After this break, I’ll tell you how our government screwed up something, again, as it always does.” We are constantly being told by hate radio, late night comics and bloggers that Washington is evil, Congress is stupid and all federal programs are wasteful. Two out of three ain’t bad. This breeds rampant cynicism. As a result, polls show Congress’s approval ratings are the lowest since these polls were taken. Our disdain for Washington in general and Congress in particular is not new, of course. More than a century ago, Mark Twain noted, “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” Here is another lack-of-outrage in the Lone Star State: Now that Gov. Perry has handily defeated Sen. Hutchison, he will probably be re-elected, even though he is already our longest-serving guv who totally screwed up the Rita evacuation. (Perhaps it would have gone smoother if his Trans-Texas Corridor had been built.) He brought international ridicule for hinting at secession. On this latter matter, I think he had a point, but Perry doesn’t know his history. We tried secession once. Can you say “Appomattox”? He constantly says he balanced the state budget without mentioning that he did it with almost $22 billion in federal stimulus funds, which he denounces with great glee. We could say that is deceitful, misleading, the governor can’t have it both ways – except that he can. He fights any move to clean up our air. All the while, Texans consume two-thirds more energy and emit two-thirds more greenhouse gases per person than the average American, who is already twice as consumptive and polluting as the rest of the industrialized world. Our annual carbon dioxide emissions are nearly 1.5 trillion pounds. Texas emits the most greenhouse gases of any state. And, if Texas were an independent nation again, it would be the world's seventh-largest producer of greenhouse gases. This situation could get worse. We now have 17 coal plants with another 12 in the works. Considering that demographers say Texas will add another 4 million people by the 2020 Census and 8.7 million by 2030 -- the equivalent of adding another Houston, Dallas–Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi – Texas is going to be one big, smoggy traffic jam. Perry is doing so little about even our current pollution problems that the feds are threatening to step in. I’m all for states’ rights, but I like to breathe, too. In the latest flap, the EPA took control of one of the state's biggest permits, Flint Hills Resources' East Corpus Christi refinery, saying the state wasn’t doing enough to uphold pollution laws. Perry fought back, accusing Washington of a “power grab” and vowed to oppose the EPA’s actions with “every breath.” We must assume this is between coughs. Former Houston Mayor Bill White noted that the feds are only trying to get Texas to do what other states are doing about pollution. White, Perry’s Dem opponent in the fall race, is seeking to oust Perry from the burned–out Governor’s Mansion. Actually, the taxpayers pay $9,000 a month to rent the Perrys an estate west of Austin, and spend another $168,000 annually on chefs, stewards and housekeepers. So we have a choice between Perry, a West Texas farm boy who, as they say, “put the goober in gubernatorial,” and Bill White whose charisma reminds some of Bill Hobby who “could take the excitement out of an earthquake.” And it looks like we’ll have Sen. Hutchison for the rest of our lives. Either way, we don’t care. Ashby vows not to run at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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