Who's that man behind George W. Bush?

From The Hightower Lowdown


For more than a decade, George W. Bush - the sitting Texas governor, son of the ex-president, and possibly the Republican nominee for president in 2000 - has not made a move without consulting The Man � and I don't mean his father.

Down here in Texas we call him Shrub, as in little bush, and a shrub needs watering to grow up, right?  So, in steps a man by the name of - we kid you not - Richard Rainwater. The national media has yet to probe into Bush's business dealings, but if and when they do, they'll find this man Rainwater.  He's a billionaire speculator and money manager who ranks among the wealthiest 100 Americans.  It's well known that Rainwater has been a major financial backer of Bush's political career, but it's a little-known fact that he's also largely responsible for Bush's personal wealth.  He's put Bush into various profitable deals, from oil and gas to real estate, but the big one was the Texas Rangers baseball franchise.

In 1989, Bush was one of 70 investors, including Rainwater, to buy the Rangers.  Even though Bush's $600,000 investment was a minor part of the deal, he was named managing partner, which paid him $200,000 a year.  When he became governor in '95, he put all of his financial holdings in a blind trust - all except for his holdings in the baseball deal, that is. In '98, the partnership sold the team, and the "lucky" governor pocketed $15 million - a 2,4000 percent profit!

Bush is nothing if not loyal to Rainwater, who has done very nicely while his pal has been governor.  Among the favors Rainwater has enjoyed:

State buildings sold to Rainwater's real estate company at bargain basement rates;

State college and public school funds invested in Rainwater's company;

A Bush-sponsored tax cut that failed, but would have cut millions in annual taxes for Rainwater; and

A stadium-financing bill backed by Bush that gave a $10 million bonus payment to a Rainwater company.

Shrub has become a national media darling and the GOP front-runner for president, campaigning on a carefully crafted slogan of "compassionate conservatism" - or is it "conservative compassionatism?"  The real story is that George W. is really just another practitioner of Crony Capitalism.

Copyright © 1999 The Hightower Lowdown.  All rights reserved.
Republished with the permission of The Hightower Lowdown.

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