Watching Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards deftly respond to the threats from the right, we can’t help but think of her mother, the late Ann Richards.
As state treasurer of Texas, Ann Richards delivered one zinger after another in her keynote speech at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. The most memorable line, drawing a roar from the crowd: “Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”
Although Richards did her best with what she had to work with, even her wit couldn’t propel Michael Dukakis to victory over George H.W. Bush.
Her performance did accelerate her own political career, however, and by 1991 she was governor.
She lost her re-election bid to an up-and-comer named George W. Bush. So many what-ifs and if-onlys followed that campaign.
Richards died of cancer in 2006. We suspect that if she were here today, she would leap at the chance to ridicule those set on destroying her daughter’s organization.
Yet Richards wasn’t all about jokes. Listen to her speech from 23 years ago, with its mentions of equal opportunity for women, homelessness, union busting and clean air, and you hear a skilled politician addressing the issues of today.