the 1980s, George Bush largely focused on his work in the oil
business -- riding the at-times traumatic rollercoaster of supply
and demand for domestic crude. But Mr. Bush's next business venture
ended up being the first step towards a renewed political career
and one of the great successes of his life.
In 1989, along
with other investors, George W. Bush bought the Texas Rangers
professional baseball team. According to Mr. Bush he jumped at
the opportunity to take over the team despite its mediocre record
and dilapidated stadium.
like a pit bull on the pant leg of opportunity," Mr. Bush
said in an interview with The New York Times in 2000. "And
I just grabbed on to it. I was going to put the deal together.
And I did."
according to partners and league officials, was bolstered by the
fact that Mr. Bush's father was at the time president, but once
given the chance to lead, most say George W. Bush shined.
owner, Mr. Bush proved himself an outstanding manager, still remembered
fondly by players who pitched and batted for him, by fans he wooed,
even by executives he fired," Nicholas Kristof wrote in the
same Times profile.
While in charge
of the team he helped orchestrate the building and significant
public funding of a new stadium in Arlington, Texas. His style
and success angered some who said it ran counter to his conservative,
limited-government beliefs, but most say it was his success in
Arlington that helped jump start his run for governor in 1994.
He had backed
out of a possible run in 1990, but as first-term governor Ann
Richards faced mounting problems with the state's education system
and budget, Mr. Bush saw his opportunity. However he still needed
to convince his closest adviser, Laura.
wanted to make sure this was something I really wanted to do and
that I wasn't being drug in as a result of friends or 'Well, you're
supposed to do it in order to prove yourself, vis-à-vis
your father,'" The Washington Post quoted Mr. Bush as saying.
"That's why she was the last person to sign on."
But once she
was convinced her husband's motives stemmed from a desire to improve
Texas, George W. Bush entered the race against Richards.
education and tort reform, and criticized the state's juvenile
justice system. Richards, who had at one point famously quipped
about Mr. Bush's father "Poor George, he can't help it --
he was born with a silver foot in his mouth," initially dismissed
George W., repeatedly referring to him as "shrub" on
the campaign trail.
hoped for several missteps from the relatively inexperienced candidate,
but none appeared. Richards grew more and more frustrated, at
one point calling the Republican "some jerk."
Mr. Bush ran
what was widely considered a disciplined campaign. Focusing on
consistent themes, he was able to thwart Richards' efforts to
provoke him or knock him off message.
that the talent that George Bush has -- and I say this with not
disrespect -- is that rather than tell you the intricacies of
what he knows or what he intends to do, he is very good at saying
things that are rather all-encompassing," Richards told CNN's
Larry King in 1999. "You know, if you said to George, 'What
time is it?' he would say, 'We must teach our children to read.'"
George W. Bush was elected governor of Texas with 53 percent of
the vote. It was only his second official political campaign and
his first win. Just two years later, he was already listed as
a potential candidate for the presidency in 2000.
was further bolstered when in 1998 he dominated his Democratic
opponent, easily winning reelection in a state notorious for ousting
-- By Lee Banville, Online NewsHour