Sunday, March 16, 2008


What's the point of having 400 channels if there isn't a damn thing on there you want to watch?

Billy Clyde's default position is usually to look at ESPN, the cable news networks, or The Weather Channel. Granted, ESPN and TWC do great work. But unless you really care whether Florida Southern covered the spread against Georgia Tech, or whether it will rain in Rhode Island, it's not exactly like attending a major movie festival. Even one of my former favorite channels, CourtTV -- now renamed TruTV -- has quit showing compelling courtroom action of trailer park trash spouses accused of killing one another and now features sea shell collecting specials and exclusive reports on bungee jumping.

The cable news shows, though, are much worse. They are trying to cram political news down the throats of their viewers when no political news exists.

Take a break. If no political news occurred, then talk about something that did. Personally, I like the hard-hitting stories about teacher-student sex. Others probably favor color pieces about Missouria wheat farmers who win the lottery and consider splurging on a new pair of overalls. Hell, I dig L.A. car chases. Even though you know how it's going to end, there's always the chance of news helicopters colliding or maybe a little gun play.

The newspapers and political magazines seems to have received the message. But MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, et al apparantly didn't get the note. On Tuesday evening, I cut on the teevee to see what was going on. And was informed that the channel -- can't remember which one -- would be providing "wall-to-wall" coverage of the Mississippi primary results. What? These networks don't have time to remind us of the name of new president of Russia or clue us in on the bond market crisis, but can offer "wall-to-wall" coverage of a primary in a state I've only been to three times and probably has fewer voters than Harris County?

I'm not a judgmental guy. To each their own. But in Billy Clyde's book, this was not exactly Must See TV.

The two network shows I try to watch -- The Office and 30 Rock -- are supposed to be back on the air shortly. And The Road to the Final Four and The Masters are right around the corner. Thank Gawd!

Just wish Bob Newhart would bail us out of this tedium.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Ladies and gentlemen, no one is so presumptuous as to tell you who will win before the fact. Except me.

This is the post you've been holding your bladder for. You've put off grocery shopping and sex with your special other. Your dog is hungry and your trash is piling up. Okay, here it is: House Death Match 2008 -- Winners and Losers.

Doro Olivo
There's nothing wrong with Representative Olivo. She is genuinely nice. But so was Huey McClusky, who she beat to to win the seat. Things above her pay grade just got in the way this year.

Kino Flores
Brass knuckled Valley politics and lots of money usually means ... uh, jail sentences. But in this case, it's just the loss of a House seat. You can't piss off all your friends all of the time and hold onto power.

Kevin Bailey
There is probably not a single issue on which Billy Clyde and Representative Bailey agree. But we've been friends for two decades, and I'm sorry to see him lose, which he will.

Jerry Madden
This is a strange race. His opponent, Jon Cole, has run a stealthy campaign and is only 14 years old old. But it looks like he's winning. Bye bye Jerry.

Juan Escobar
South Texas politics are hard to predict, but Representative Escobar likely goes down. SPI dentist Tara Rios Ybarra has a pretty good organization, plenty of money and, well, her opponent is Juan Escobar.

Thomas Latham
Like most of you people out there, I fixate on the Balch Springs political scene. Latham beat Elvira Reyna, who now endorses Latham in his contest against former Mesquite Mayor Mike Anderson. I don't think Latham will cross the finish line, but it's a close call.

Nathan Macias
Former New Braunsfeels Mayor Doug Miller should win this race. But then again, no one really thought Carter Casteel would get beat on the last go-round. This one is tough to handicap.

Paul Moreno
This is hard to say, because Billy Clyde has harbored enormous respect for Representative Moreno for a long, long time. But his time has come and gone (it went about a ten years ago, actually). Marisa is the future. She probably wins.

Phil King
When a former school superintendent and mayor runs against you, that spells trouble. When he also has outside support willing to attack you on pocketbook issues, that's really trouble. This won't be a blowout, but Joe Tison looks like he'll take out the chairman of the House Regulated Industries Committee.

Jonathan "Baby Doc" Sibley vs. Charles "Doc" Anderson. My gut tells me Anderson wins, but Jonathan seems to have a better handle on what Waco wants.

Boris Miles vs. Al Edwards. On one hand, I have a fondness for both of these guys. On the other hand, I acknowledge that both are a tad bit crazy. I give a slight advantage to Miles. At least Al gets to be a Super Delegate.

Betty Brown vs. Wade Gent. God and Jesus are pulling for Gent, but it may not be enough. I don't want to seen as taking sides, but a Betty Brown loss would send me dancing in the streets.

Pat Haggerty, Dawnna Dukes, Charlie Geren, Corbin Van Arsdale, Aaron Pena, Delwin Jones, Byron Cook. Good incumbents almost always win.

One of these three will lose. I have no clue which one. But every election cycle brings us a little suprise. Will it be ...

Jessica Farrar?
Bill Zedler?
Garnet Coleman?

Please leave your predictions in the comments box. Gotta go now. Nice visiting with you.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Major GOP contributors and party activists have devised a strange new strategy for failure: When you find yourself in a hole, dig deeper.

Twice in the past ten years, Republican turnout in the primaries exceeded Democratic turnout. In 1988, at a time when the GOP was emerging to make Texas a true two-party state, more than a million votes were cast in the R primary. Twenty years later -- after a complete political realignment, twelve years of total Republican domination, and massive population growth -- expect about 600,000 Texans to ask for a Republican ballot.

You can spin this baby all you want. But backwards is backwards is backwards. And that's precisely where Texans Republicans are heading. And some of the biggest donors and consultants are the mechanics rolling back the odometer.


The best explanation your man Billy Clyde can offer comes from a conversation I had with a big-time GOP contributor at an Associated Republicans of Texas dinner about seven years ago. This fellow explained the gameplan like this: "First we get the majority, then we purify."

Purify, of course, means going after those pesky liberal Republicans. I bet people in places like New England and the Great Lakes states would be mortified to learn that there are people to the right of Charlie Geren, Pat Haggerty, Brian McCall and Jim Keffer.

The current House map was drawn to create about 93 Republican districts. Entrenched conservative Democrats like David Farabee, Robby Cook, Jim McReynolds and Mark Homer can't be beat. Rs will just have to wait for retirements. But even taking that into consideration, 93 is a long way from 79, the number of seats currently held by House Republicans.

Democratic strategists can pat themselves on the back all day long, but it doesn't change the fact that this mini-re-realignment is the product of Republican self-tacklezation. The smartest thing Democrats could do is pack a picnic basket, be quiet and watch the opposing team trip all over themselves.

Here's a good anecdotal example of how average Texans think. One of my best buddies is a coach in a suburban Houston school district. His wife practices law part-time in a small insurance defense firm. They have three kids, a dog and a golf cart. They aren't very political, but they always vote. I talked to him on the phone earlier this week.

He recited a litany of things that the Legislature had (or hadn't) done, and I acknowledged that he got it about right. "So," he asked, "why do we keep voting for the Republicans?"

Man, BC was stumped. When the best answer you can come up with is that the Democrats would f*uck it up even more -- well, that's not much of an answer. And certainly a far cry from a ringing endorsement.

I don't foresee Democrats winning a statewide office this year. And the partisan makeup of the Legislature won't change much. But at some point, Republicans better put on their favorite pragmatic hat and quit eating their own. That, or else go back to meeting in a phone booth.

(editors note: Billy Clyde will be making his House predictions tomorrow. Or maybe the day after that. So stay tuned.)

Monday, February 25, 2008


Since Billy Clyde is only 29, he has a limited personal perspective about Texas primaries. But here goes.

First, people keep chiming "move 'em, move 'em up! We want a pony like like the kids in all those other states." Well, for most of Texas' history, we either didn't have primaries or they were held in September. Then, sometime in the 1950s I believe, the state moved them up to May. Where the stayed until 1988.

In 1987, Senator Chet Edwards went on some legislative junket. And he and a bunch of state lawmakers from the South and Southwest got to visiting and hatched up a scheme for a Super Tuesday, to be held on a ridiculously early date in March. The theory went something like this: (1) we band together and give our part of the country major mojo; and (2) produce a more moderate/conservative Democratic nominee (code for no more McGoverns or Mondales, please). Republicans fell in love with the idea, because it would produce an early big-state win for George H.W. Bush.

The Edwards bill sped through the upper chamber faster than a Senator accepting an invitation for free steaks and booze at the Tri-Delt House.

The House was all set to do the same, except someone pointed out that it was gonna be really expensive. And the state was really broke. So instead of having a split primary (March primary for Prez, the traditional May primary for everyone else), someone over at the Cloakroom said, "Just move all primaries to March. That'll solve your money problem right there." I wasn't there, but that innovative soul allegedly got his rather large tab picked up for many, many nights after that.

So the House passed the bill, the Senate concurred, and then-Vice President Bush rushed to Austin to personally sign the bill before Governor Clements could get back from the ranch.

All the the major Democrats came to Texas and started begging -- just begging -- for support. A few went with Dick Gephardt, a few with Bruce Babbitt. But the big winner was a young Congressman from Tennessee named Al Gore.

Speaker Gib Lewis endorsed Gore, and assigned his designated errand boy Representative Rick Perry to organize Gore's Texas effort. The summer before the election, everyone just assumed that Al Gore would sweep the South and Southwest. Ha! We would pull one over on those damn Yankees!

The only non-crazy elected official who backed Michael Dukakis was John Sharp. All the political people went running to him and begged him not to do it.

Sharp was right. Super Tuesday didn't go precisely as planned. And everyone -- even the left-handed homeless anti-nuke save the lesbian whale crowd -- voted for Bush.

But the statewide officials, county officials, and legislators figured out that Super Tuesday did have an upside: it provided almost no time for a potential challenger to beat an established, non-indicted incumbent. Texas may be the deciding state in the D primary this year, but lawmakers will call it a fluke. Look for the Legislature to move it up next session in the name of presidential influence -- with the unspoken added benefit of alleviating members with those pesky campaigns, allowing them to focus their full, undivided attention on fundraising and collecting per diem.

Now, enough of this nerdy stuff. On the heels of Senator Barack Omama's electric, overwhelming events in Austin and across Texas, Billy Clyde started thinking about his electric primary experience.

In 1984, Reagan did nothing and Gary Hart issued a dare -- and that was pretty much that.

The very first stop that President Reagan made after the GOP Convention was right here in Austin. It was an afternoon event on Auditorium Shores that drew 20,000 screaming fans. It reminds me of the afternoon Town Lake event Obama held last year when throngs of people went out in the rain and saw first-hand that yes, indeed, Barack Obama is a rock star. Big time.

If Obama was 25 years older, a former movie star, governor, and white, he'd be Ronald Reagan. They both give great up-lifting speeches, play great theme music, and just create that atmosphere that makes you damn proud to be an American.

BC got a ringside seat four years later, when Houston got to show off its brand spanking new George Brown Convention Center. All the major candidates were still in the race, and it was the debate of the season. There was no alphabet soup of cable news channels (CNN's motto was: The Only Game in Town; Take It or Leave It) and so maybe two or three primary debates was it. Man we had fun that week.

Then there was 1992. As Hillary Rodham will tell you, things don't always go as planned. Bush had an approval rating of 90 percent at the beginning of 1992. Unknown Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton had been in the race two months and was already mired in scandal. But ... well, you know the rest of the story. But it's a good lesson for prognosticators who think their crystal balls don't stink.

The GOP fell into it usual mode in 2006 and picked the guy who was next in line, Bob "Bob" Dole. That didn't worked out too well for Dole, who did manage to parlay his loss into major endorsement deals for Doritos and Viagra.

The primary of 2000 was odd. All the Democrats had to travel around the country and campaign. Bush hung around the Mansion and made everyone come to him. My only real involvement in that campaign was happening to office caddy-corner from the Mansion during the recount, and our parking lot made for a convenient place for the national media to congregate. Lesson learned: the national media are a bunch of litterbugs.

Best I recall, Texas didn't have any presidential primaries in 2004.

Now it's 2008, and Barack Obama seems close to sowing it up and Texas will get the credit. McCain will do better than expected because the New York Times reported that he gets it on with hot blondes in gold cocktail dresses. (Team McCain planted that story.) John Tower must be proud.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Craig Watkins releases new John F. Kennedy assassination information and Fidel Castro resigns the same day.

Coincidence? I think not.

Where's Jim Garrison when you need him?

Here are the facts as I understand them. Watkins, the Dallas County District Attorney, learned of a safe full of JFK shooting info that's been sitting around the DA's office for 45 years or so. They include at least some physical evidence (clothes, brass knuckles, a holster -- you know, the usual stuff) and an alleged transcript describing pre-assassination conversations between Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby conducted Ruby's strip club.

Moreover, the DA's office has known the stuff was there all this time and, I suppose, just never got around to telling anyone. Now Billy Clyde understands that there's a backlog in our criminal justice system. But am I the only one who thinks this is a little extreme? It strains credulity to think NO ONE in Dallas County government caught wind of the Warren Commission or the three major Congressional inquiries or the scores of books and movies on this subject.

I challenge the biggest conspiracy theorist on the planet to suggest that the Dallas County District Attorney's office was in cohoots with Cuba, the Soviets, the CIA, the Tri-Lateral Commission and the Mafia. That's not a secret that the gossip hounds at the courthouse could keep for a day -- much less half a century.

As they say on late night infomercials .. but wait, there's more!

Some law enforcement and professional JFK buffs said that what was released was not an actual Oswald-Ruby transcript but -- now fasten your seat belts for this one -- a movie script written by legendary Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade.

Man, I find that hard to believe. Although Billy Clyde only briefly met Mr. Wade a few times, he sure didn't come across as a Hollywood wannabe. If I had to bet, my best guess is that he never even went to the movies -- much less aspired to be a part of the Tinseltown scene.

Governor Connally, who got himself shot up pretty that day, never believed in the Lone Gunman theory or the Magic Bullet theory.

Billy Clyde has no idea what to believe. Except that the DA's office ouught to take all its decades-old files out to the Grassy Knoll every so often and have a look-see. Call it an office picnic.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


You will think that Billy Clyde is just making this up. But I'm not

It was even in the paper.

A sitting Governor of the Great State of Texas is traveling to El Paso to campaign against a sitting House member of his own party. Governor Rick Perry, the Al Gore For President campaign manager here in Texas, now wants to go after Saint Patrick Haggerty because ... well I don't know the because part.

There used to be a rule that incumbents didn't campaign against another incumbent. And certainly not incumbents of your own party. But Governor Perry has spent his tenure in the Governor's Mansion (actually a fancy house in Barton Creek) to eliminate all these rules. Why? It worked so well for so long.

Sure, there's not much I can do about it. But I sent Representative Haggerty a $2,5000 check this morning, Because I'm pissed off. There's no excuse for this kind of behavior. None at all. Why does Rick Perry give a rat's ass about what one-fifth of El Paso County voters think about a part-time citizen legislator? (Part time assuming Perry doesn't call numerous meaningless special sessions.)

Politics is a gross sport. Count me out.

Monday, February 11, 2008



TO: The Honorable Rick Perry

FROM: (redacted) TxDot, (redacted) Tx Dot, (redacted) TxDot

Operation Hide The Ball has come under attack. Pesky House and Senate members are snooping around and have sent the State Auditor our way.

Of course, we have no intention of showing the auditors our real books. Still, with your permission -- and those us here at TxDot never do anything without you permission -- request a slight alteration in our game strategy. A new play in the playbook, you might say. But it requires a pledge on your part to ensure that your forward-looking, ingenious plan to make Texas a leader in transportation strategies becomes the reality that we so much desire.

We need an iron-glad promise of immunity from prosecution. Or at least a guarantee of a quick pardon. Your choice, wise one.

Elected officials and ordinary peons are suggesting that we are hiding money to promote private road building. More troubling, some of the folks are suggesting that the public servants at TxDot are lying -- as if extreme spinning to support your worthy goals is a lie!

We need some direction from our supreme commander. Everyone here is as loyal and committed as a dog seeking table scraps. Should we put our heads down and run through the line of srimmage? Play hide the ball? Run the statue of liberty play? Take our multi-billion ball home and just ignore these pests?

Just give us our marching orders, and we shall march to wherever you take us. Rest assured that none here will be happy until you can totally dominate us like the HHSC, TDI, PUC, etc. We agree with you that legislators, judges, and so-called "citizens" and are bottom-feeders with too much time on their hands.

We just our piece of the pie. And immunity.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


For weeks, if not months, it seems like people with normally good sense and judgment have become obsessed with all this presidential race nonsense. You can't open the morning paper or cut on the teevee set or radio with being deluged with McCain this or Obama that.

So in the interest of diversity, let's talk about the upcoming (okay, it's two-plus years from now) Texas gubernatorial race. There's some interesting stuff going on that front. And it affects us a heckuva lot more that some White House deal.

Here's Billy Clyde's latest news on Governor's Race 2010: Passion For The Mansion.

This came up because someone pointed out to me today that Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan has been hired as the new president of the Texas Rangers organization. That's a job formerly held by Tom Schieffer, who I have a sneaky suspicion just might be the consensus candidate to proudly be the Lone Star State's next main man.

A lot of Texans probably think of Schieffer as nothing more than the former U.S. Ambassador to Australia and the current Ambassador to Japan. But Tom has serious political credentials, including a stint as a real-life duly elected sitting member of the Texas House of Representatives. He also has major business, educational, and charitable cred. And let's face it, if you don't like Tom Schieffer, you just don't like people.

While he may not have the name ID of his brother, who hosts "Face The Nation" and anchored the CBS Evening News, people in the baseball and Metroplex communities know him well. In the Fort Worth area, the Schieffer name is almost as golden as Bass or Geren. While I'm not privy to polling data on the subject, I'd bet he is better known up there than Roger Williams, the former baseball standout and coach at TCU, from which the Schieffer boys hail.

Now I know what some of you skeptics might be thinking: A man of Tom Schieffer's stature would never subject himself to the indignities involved in a gubernatorial race. Plus he'd have to pick a political party and campaign and whatnot. But I bet if we got him in a room with Gib Lewis and Richard Rainwater and Amon Carter and Dan Jenkins and a few other Fort Worth bigwigs ... well, the deal would get cut. Count on it.

To those out there who are members of the "Ye of Little Faith Club," let me give you two really good reasons why us red-blooded salt-of-the-Earth Texans should line up behind Tom Schieffer and nail this thing down: (1) Tom would clear the field and be our next governor; and (2) Rick Perry would get that ridiculous notion of running for another term out of his system.

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


From Staff and Wire Reports

Simi Valley__ In a bizarre day even by presidential campaign standards, all major candidates dropped out of the race.

Longtime observers of the national political scene agreed that no precedent exists for such a wholesale collapse of candidacies -- particularly in such a short period of time and after years of intense campaigning. While the pull-outs of Democrat John Edwards and Republican Rudy Giuliani were widely anticipated, the other announcement astounded veteran political operatives and media pundits.

Here's a sampling of what the candidates who were thought to be left standing had to say:

John McCain: The Arizona senator acknowledged that the sadistic torture he endured as a Vietnam POW has made him mentally unstable and unsuitable for the role as leader of the free world.

"Let's face it. I'm old, tortured, and can't even comb my own hair. This was always a vanity deal for me. Late last night, it appeared I might actually win. I love my country too much to allow that to happen."

Hillary Clinton: The second-term Senator from New York said she has offers to rejoin the Wal-Mart board and rebuild the Rose Law Firm and to get a boyfriend who will wait on her hand and foot. She also expressed a deep interest in baking cookies and having tea parties.

"My soon-to-be-former husband put me up to this. I'd rather have half his money than all of the White House. I pretended like I really wanted the Oval Office because he manipulated me into believing that I did. I don't want to be president. I want a divorce."

Barack Obama: The charismatic young Senator from Illinois said his run was an attempt to ramp up book sales and had gotten out of hand. He expressed worry about a constitutional crisis.

"Look, I'm not not a natural born citizen. Or even a registered voter. On the other hand, I am a flaming Islamic terrorist. I didn't plan the World Trade Center attacks, but I knew it was coming and didn't tell. The Barcelona train attacks and the London subway explosions were my idea. I'm blackmailing the Kennedy family and really need to cut and run before I get in too deep."

Mike Huckabee: The former Arkansas governor acknowledged a long-term affair with his church secretary and church goat. He said his presidential run was an attempt to break into the acting profession.

"All in all, I fooled everyone pretty good. I still think I'd be great in the movies. But this religious everyman smiley faced personae I project, it was all just an act. In real life, I like to ice down a six-pack, smoke some weed, and watch the Playboy Channel."

Willard "Mitt" Romney: Presumably the last man standing on the GOP side also threw in the towel. Certain parts of his private life, the former governor and business turn-around artist said, would eventually catch up with him.

"I have seven wives and 34 children. Most of the money I accumulated came from bribes. And when I take off this toupee, I'm bald as a bowling ball. When you consider all the brain washing and surgical electric implants, I'm more robot than human. I just want to join the circus and relax."

Attempts to reach obscure Texas congressman Ron Paul were unsuccessful. But a top aide insisted that Paul is not a presidential candidate and never has been.

Leading political scientists and media commentators were stunned by today's developments. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia's School for Presidential Studies summed up the sentiments of him and his fellow academics.

"This is some goofy shit," Sabato said. "At this time, Charlie Wilson has the most name ID and probably would be considered the frontrunner. Hannah Montana is also very popular with the younger voters."

Texas Governor Rick Perry informally made himself available, but was quickly arrested for outstanding parking tickets. A spokesperson for the Austin Parks Police said Perry would remain behind bars pending the next presidential election -- assuming there is one.

Early speculation centered on former president Chris Rock being asked to return to his old job. His reaction can be found on this newspaper's website at


Monday, January 28, 2008


One of Billy Clyde's great pure joys in life is watching someone tearing another someone apart like a puppy chewing a cheap Raggedy Ann doll and doing so in such a nice, incontrovertible way that there is simply no.way.out.

Just a thing of beauty.

My absolute favorite insider political muckraking Jewish patriotic flag selling Internets newsletter publisher, Harvey Kronberg, posted this file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Dell/Desktop/todd's%20bitch%20slap.cfm letter today on his Golden Globe award-winning site, and let me tell you, brothers and sisters, this letter rocks.

Read it. Closely. And often.

The letter, penned by Representative Todd Smith, takes issue with a letter written by Representative Jim Jackson. In no way is Billy Clyde attempting to compare the relative intellect of these fine public servants (yes I am!), but the battle is so lopsided that it calls for the 10-run rule to come into play.

A little background first.

For some reason, Rep. Jackson felt compelled to write a letter responding to a brief by former Speaker Rayford Price regarding House rules. Now Rayford hasn't been in the House since Billy Clyde was in early elementary school. And Price may not be a rules wizard on par with Big Daddy or Bob Kelly. Or as current as a Karina or a Collins. But Rayford knows his stuff and knows it well.

Jim Jackson ... well, not so much. Though he is nice fellow.

Anyway, Jackson's argument was basically that all Hades would break loose if you wrote into House rules that 76 members could sign a form to seek recognition for a motion to remove the sitting Speaker. Petition signing would become the focus and day-today legislative matters would become a mere afterthought. For those of you fine folks who don't think that's an absurd argument, please return to the UFO Channel at this time.

Rep. Smith (R-HEB, the Tarrant County one, not the grocery store) wrote a firm yet polite reply (really people, read his letter) explaining why Mr. Jackson's position was full of shit as a Christmas turkey. Let's face it. The chances of the House routinely using this extraordinary rule even ONCE are slim. The chance of it causing the House to cease all operations and turn into a chaotic wreck are as likely as Britney Spears appearing on the next cover of Good Parenting magazine.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Speaker Craddick was technically correct that he was not compelled under House rules to recognize a motion to vacate the chair. Doesn't mean he couldn't have chosen to do so. Doesn't mean he shouldn't have chosen to do so. He coulda and he shoulda.

The question going forward is whether the House will adopt a rule to require recognition of such a motion. If anyone out there thinks the House won't adopt such a rule at the beginning of next session, Billy Clyde has a FantasyLand Timeshare in Jim Jackson's backyard to sell you.

Thursday, January 24, 2008



Tom Brokaw: First, welcome to the 2008 Presidential contest. Your quixotic yet ultimately successful bid to get on Florida's ballot and all the remaining states shows, if nothing else, a sheer ...

Billy Clyde: Dude, do I get to talk? Why do you guys get eight minutes to ask questions and the people actually running get 15 seconds?

TB: Fair enough. The obvious question that has perplexed our viewers, and certainly one that those of us in the media have pondered at considerable ...

BC: What?!

TB: Okay, since you learned that you qualified for the ballot this afternoon, why didn't you join your fellow contestants on stage?

BC: Three reasons. You guys been reporting all week that I didn't get me enough signatures. Two ...

TB: Let's concentrate on that puzzle first. Have you solved the mystery of how the Secretary of State, who expressed not only to those who hosted this historic event here at the tradition-rich ...

BC: Why don't you just interview yourself?

TB: What happened?

BC: Seems like just an honest mistake. This lady, I think her name is Linda, forget to carry the one when she added the five and the other five in the final column. She personally called to say she was sorry.

Chris Matthews: HA! That reminds me of the 1976 primary when I was monitoring the Philly suburbs for the Carter campaign, and a box came in that ...

BC: Is your mic not working? Stop yelling at me.

TB: Please continue, Billy Clyde. We'll give you all the time you need. And Chris, we've been over this before. Please stop yelling.

BC: Alright, like I was trying to tell you. Since Linda made a math error and y'all reported as fact all week that I was toast, I didn't pack a suit. Plus that producer weenie said they were out of podiums.

Brian Williams: The focus of previous debates has been foreign policy and national security. Tonight it shifted to the economy and taxes. Assuming the math error had been corrected sooner, you had packed a suit, and there was a spare podium, how would you have responded?

BC: I would turned my head to the right, then turned it to the left -- unless I got stuck at the far end, then I woulda only needed to turn my head one way -- and told my worthy opponents that those are the dumbest ideas I've ever heard in my life. Just pure, 100-percent, unadulterated crapola.

BW: Care to critique their remarks and compare them to yours?

BC: Sure would.

McCain said about ten times he wanted to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. This is the guy who twice voted to kill them in the first place. He voted against them before voting to save them. Calling John Kerry; your long-lost twin has been found.

Willard Romney -- that's his real name, Willard, and I plan to use it over and over and over during this campaign, in the spirit of truth telling -- either talks too fast or just strings economic-sounding words together and thinks he can get away with it.

Mike Huckabee, if I heard right, wants to make a bunch of concrete and not let the Chinese have any. Look, in a state where chickens, pigs, outhouses, and do-it-yourself moonshine stills are the top commodities, maybe his anti-China concrete plan would work wonders. Something tells me one of us missed the point.

Ron Paul, who yells and whines as much as your boy Chris Matthews over there, wants to load up Fort Knox with gold and stop printing crisp new bills. Did that make sense to y'all?

NBC PANEL: (in unison) NO!

BC: Alright. It seems like there was one other guy up there.

Andrea Mitchell: Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani.

BC: That's him. I gotta be honest with you folks and the American people. He started talking about how New York City was a great bargain and we need to be more like France and England, and I shifted my attention to that Florida Atlantic co-ed with the long brown hair sitting on row six, about three seats from the end by the wall.

DAVID GREGORY: Yeah! The one in the lavender blouse?

BC: No. This one had sort of a light purple top on. Man. Smoking.

TB: Now that you've critiqued your opponents' plans, what policies would you undertake to stave off a recession, greater homeowner fear in the midst of this sub-prime mortgage lending crisis, and would you favor a long-term supply side plan or a short term stimulus package in an effort to ensure that the American people have faith ...

BC: My word! How did your long-winded ass ever finish the nightly news in 30 minutes?

TB: With commercials, it was only 23 minutes. Reporters in the field would usually waste another eight. I used to cry myself to sleep every night.

BC: Anyway, a barnyard donkey knows that more and better jobs are good, fewer and crappier jobs are bad. But that misses the point.

We need jobs that people want. Really want. The rest will take care of itself.

AM: What does that mean?

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I think I get it.

BC: Thanks Joe. Did you remember to bring me Mika's cell number.

JS: Yeah, it's in the truck.

BC: Think of it this way. Now, I'm just guessing here, but I suspect you fine folks like spending long hours talking in front of a teevee camera. Am I right?

PANEL: (in unison, panelists make various orgasm-sounding noises)

BC: But some people like fixing lawmowers.

DG: Fixing what?

TB: It's a relatively common machine, generally gasoline-powered, that is maneuvered over various types of grasses to ensure an orderly, even, generally relatively short level of grass that is aesthetically pleasing, a device I personally witnessed during one of my Emmy Award Winning Heartland of American documentaries I hosted as anchor ...

BC: Tom.

TB: Sorry.

BC: So we ensure that they're plenty of lawnmower repair shops.

And Chris Matthews. I bet you enjoy regaling total strangers with loud, rambling stories about your days in Tip O'Neill's office and maybe casually dropping a few names while they pick up the check at a 5-star steakhouse.

CM: HA! Do I ever! It happened to me in upstate New York one night when this insurance agents convention featured me as their master of ceremonies ...

BC: And that fellow over there, the dude running the sound board, I bet you'd rather be producing records for the hottest rock band instead of pushing a few knobs for these blowhards.

SOUND DUDE: Anything to get me outta here. But I'm more into blues and zydeco.

BC: In a Billy Clyde administration, that dream job is yours.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a grueling four days of campaigning ahead of me. Thanks for having me over.

BW: Since this is your first official day in the race, don't you think our viewers and the voters deserve to know a little more about your positions on the specific issues before you head out.

BC: Like what? And make it snappy.

BW: For instance national defense, Social Security, Iraq, global warming, abortion, and today's Congressional action to send out 150 million checks to stimulate the economy.

BC: For a strong one; give it to old people; yes, I rock; good in winter, bad in summer; mandatory; not worth it -- too much postage and too much toner.

Thanks, I really need to scoot.

JS: Where are you off to first?

BC: Full day tomorrow in Key West. Full day Saturday in Key Largo. All day Sunday on South Beach to press the flesh. Golf fundraiser and barbecue at Tiger Woods' gated community on Monday. Acceptance speech on Tuesday in Tallahassee.

Our Florida campaign motto is: Going to Work Like Fred Thompson on Meth.

See ya.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Dear Ollie:

Billy Clyde owes you an apology.

The harshly worded memo I sent you on Saturday was completely off base. Tired and frustrated after a grueling day of travel in some pretty nasty weather (it sleets in Atlanta? WTF!), I didn't pay real close attention to the article about our movie about President George W. Bush.

Josh Brolin and James Brolin are two totally different people. One is an up-and-coming actor you want to portray W. The other is some dude who for some reason married Barbara Streisand. I knew all that. I just wasn't thinking.

It was particularly rude of me to go off like I did after you have been so accommodating to me in all the other casting decisions -- many of which you initially found questionable -- and the last thing I want to do is second guess your movie-making skills or violate my confidentiality agreement.

Words can't express my sincere pleasure that you acquiesced and agreed to cast Beyonce as Condi Rice and Don Rickles as Vice President Cheney. You won't be sorry. To be fair, I caved on several of your big-ticket decisions: Jimmy Walker as Colin Powell still seems like a stretch, and Hulk Hogan as Karen Hughes just ... well, we've been over this. But hey, you're the pro.

As per your instructions, I had a sit-down with Mary Tyler Moore's agent. MTM is on board She'll make a great Laura Bush. I also -- gently -- broke the news to Bea Arthur that the Harriet Miers role has been cut from the script. She took it pretty well.

Outside of a little more script-doctoring, it seems the only big-ticket item left on the table is the film's title. Billy Clyde will acknowledge that "George Washington and George W: Two Peas In A Pod" is a little over the top. But your idea, "George Bush, 43rd Biggest Goober In American History" won't work either. Let's find a happy medium.

This project is starting to jell like a bat outta hell. Keep up the good work. And BC will try to contribute as well.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Great story. Great acting. Great direction. Beautifully shot and a heckuva lot of fun to watch.

Yet tragically flawed.

Maybe it's simply too much to ask for George Crile's stunning book Charlie Wilson's War to be be condensed to 100 seemless minutes on the big screen. Billy Clyde has read the book at least three times and is Charlie Wilson's friend. He still scratches his head about this U.S.-Pakistani-Israeli-Egyptian successful plot to end the Cold War. You know, the one that the American public never noticed and the pols didn't talk about. The one in which a talented but easily distracted Congressman from nowhere in East Texas ran a billion dollar a year campaign that successfully destroyed the Evil Empire.

Let me say upfront that the film is a hoot. Two hoots. And a holler. Julia Roberts was very good, Tom Hanks was great, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman's Best Supporting Acting statue should be Fed-Exed to him right now this very instant. Mike Nichols, predictably, directed a charming film, and Aaron Sorkin, who shares many of Charlie Wilson's good and bad traits, did a superb job of converting Crile's book to a screen format.

But who the hell edited this picture? And why? May those of us you care enough to watch a three hour version be allowed to get on our hands and knees and see what rests on the cutting room floor?

Don't get me wrong. It's a great movie. It's just disjointed to the point where, at least several times, you have to scratch your head and think WTF. There's no predicate for that. Where did THAT come from? Who? What? Really? That kind of stuff.

Enough about what's wrong with the film. Here's the good stuff.

Tom Hanks, who I've spent 20 years trying to dislike as a actor, turns in yet another great performance. It would be easy to overplay the role of Charlie Wilson and turn him into a caricature. Or to miss the essence of Wilson and miss the essence of the story. Hanks gets the man and gets the part. To the extent there are shortcomings, it ain't Hanks fault.

Julia Roberts' portrayal of Houston socialite and talk show host Joanne Herring is as charming and over the top as a River Oaks Christmas party during a boom in the oil fields. Herring is a woman who takes no shit. She gives it. And Roberts nails the part.

The greatest acting accolades belong to Hoffman. He plays blue-collar semi-rogue CIA agent Gust Avrakotos and is nothing short of brilliant. Billy Clyde, being a professional hater of the State Department, CIA, DIA, NSA, etc., just delights in knowing that a Charlie and a Gust -- two underestimated guys that the establishment viewed as back benchers -- did what all those bureaucracies could not. Strike a blow for the common man.

Whether you've read the book or not, whether you know the story or not, the film is very accessible to the masses. There's sex, drugs, rock and roll, violence, gun play, secretive government plots, swarmy foreign folks, strippers, hot tubs, classified Congressional hearings, wimpy bureaucrats getting bitch slapped, belly dancing, old ladies in Lufkin playing dominoes, tuxedo affairs at the Kennedy Center ... well you the gist. All of it is relevant. But maybe this story is just too darn complex to tell in 100 minutes.

Besides the cockamamie editing, my only real problem with the film is the gratuitous lecture at the end that attempts (and fails) to place this great escapade into a current geopolitical setting -- and do so in about 30 seconds. The story took place in the 1980s. The tale is complicated enough as it is. Trying to place it in a real-time context just muddies the already murky waters even more. Stop. Please stop.

Don't think this is a negative review. Far from it. Billy Clyde awards it 3 1/2 stars. It's fun, funny, and altogether larger than life -- the things we want when we turn off our brains in a dark theater for a couple hours. By all means, go see Charlie Wilson's War. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Long before it become a trite political buzzword, there were REAL proponents of change. Willing to, you know, make change.

Have a look.


Man, you'd think Billy Clyde would have got the message by now.

After following the Clintons for close to 25 years, I still gotta be kicked in the shin now and then and be reminded that the Bill and Hillary partnership -- strange relationship that it is -- personifies resiliency. Obamamania had an magical few days. The Clintons have been battering down the hatch and emerging winners for damn near 40 years. Like most people, there are times when I have loved the Clintons and times when they have repulsed me. But give them their due -- call it admiration, respect, fear, deference ... whatever -- they also play their best late in the fourth quarter when they are behind on the scoreboard and the clock ain't on their side.

Simply amazing.

One of my college roommates subscribed to the Wall Street Journal, a newspaper not widely available in my hometown growing up. I used to take a break most afternoons to read the back page of the front section, where the WSJ chronicled the on-going battle between a small state governor (Bill Clinton) and a natural gas producer and distributor (Jerry Jones) who was the governor's chief nemesis. A battle between the economic and political forces played on a small, Beverly Hillbillies sort of stage. A real life soap opera in the Ozarks. Billy Clyde found it fascinating.

Less than a decade later, these two larger-than-life characters would emerge on the national scene. One took charge of America the nation; the other one got America's Team. No need to rehash the ups and downs, the controversies, the tomfoolery and self-destructiveness, the come-from-behind victories and improbable safe landings at the peak of the mountain. You've been a witness to these Arkansans' presidential wins, Super Bowl championships, self-inflicted wounds and remarkable healing powers.

Though it seems an impossible standard, Hillary Clinton seems to possess even greater resiliency than her husband. People watching election returns on the teevee last night just knew -- just knew! -- that those numbers would soon change as the votes were tallied and the uber-inspirationist who's come out of nowhere, the guy from our generation who we can relate to, would take the lead and become the frontrunner to lead our nation. I mean, the pollsters and the crowds and the pundits all said it would turn out that way!

This morning many of us awake feeling like Charlie Brown attempting a field goal. We know that Lucy always pulls the ball away at the last moment, but for some reason what should be lasting lessons are forgotten in the heat of the moment. The definition of insanity is counting the Clintons out over and over and expecting it to finally stick. They just. don't. lose.

The Clintons are polished, overeducated Forest Gumps. Billy Clyde won't be voting for Hillary Clinton for president under any circumstances. But the chance of her winning that office seems pretty good. Because the Clintons just. don't. lose.

Monday, January 7, 2008


Billy Clyde never could work that Rubik's cube contraption. Things involving spatial relation just puzzle me.

Other stuff I just can't get: playing the piano (tried and failed), game theory (math should be barred from the study of the liberal arts), soccer (America is the LEADER of the free world, not a follower), Northern California (though it's nice to look at), the inverted yield curve (did economists just make this up to confuse us?), and conch (chewy, tasteless seafood!).

But politics. Now politics is pretty simple. That's why BC is nothing short of stunned that upwards of two percent of the teevee-watching public is hooked to their 52-inch high definition plasma screens following the presidential race in absolute wonderment. It ain't exactly a man walking on the moon or France falling in love with Jerry Lewis.

Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses for basically the same reason: voters yearn for a little civility, a little humor, a little inspiration, a little hope. Forget issues and specific styles and backgrounds -- these two guys are a lot alike. The store shelves carried a full line of products, and consumers picked what they were looking for.

In New Hampshire, Republicans are gonna pick Obama again (for the same reasons) and John McCain, who also shares those above-mentioned qualities but is just a little grumpier. Voters in the Granite State are a little grumpier than the nation as a whole, and the dude is a 71-year-old POW who was tortured for half a decade by the Viet Cong. Pretty good excuse for being a tad irritable now and then.

Mitt Romney has not only run a terrible campaign, he comes across as a space alien. It's too late now, but if had talked about nothing except his executive experience ("I've turned around major businesses and will turn around the way Washington does business") and told his story about cleaning up the Olympics, he would have had a shot. But all the Bain Capital money in the world can't save him now.

Hillary Clinton has run a whiny, impersonal campaign of entitlement and is in fact a space alien. She reminds people of the high school chick who thinks she's popular when in fact she simply was the first to get a drivers license and a car. Plus, whoever advised her to set herself up as the "chosen one" is bonkers. The folks in Iowa and New Hampshire are some of the world's greatest contrarians.

There will be three big stories after tomorrow's R primary. McCain is right back in the thick of things, Huckabee's third-place finish is a semi-win, and Romney is toast -- although he'll probably still waste some more of his money.

On the D side, Obama will be described as invincible, and that story will play out again in two weeks when he wins South Carolina by 20 points. The media and pundits will call Hillary deader than Elvis, and John Edwards will be the only real candidate left standing. And that's just in case a dead-girl/live-boy situation crops up in the Obama camp.

Now you might be thinking, Bill Clyde, my main man, you are greatly oversimplifying our great process to select the major parties' candidates to lead our nation and world. No I'm not.

The nerd who tries to analyze the race by comparing the various nuanced differences in position papers and voting records has spent too much time with his nose stuck in the latest copy of the National Journal. It comes down to this: Do you want to be inspired and made a part of this wonderful journey, or be lectured to and sent to your room without dessert?

See that wasn't so difficult. Let's have some ice cream.