Friday, April 01, 2005

Do Tommy Denton and George Bush go waaaay back?

Did you know Roanoke Times editor Tommy Denton is a native Texan who worked as an aide to Democratic Senator Lloyd Bensten in the early 1980's? This is intriguing. Bensten was a top-tier politician from the big state of Texas. He competed well with Jimmy Carter for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1976. In 1988, he served as Michael Dukakis' vice-presidential running mate, uttering one of the best-known televised ad hominem attacks in modern politics -- "I knew John Kennedy. John Kennedy was a friend of mine. You, Senator Quayle, are no John Kennedy."

Bensten and the Bush family knew each other well. Texas Representative George Bush Sr. ran against Bensten for Senator in 1970. Bush lost, but remained active in state and national politics, as did his son, George W., who made his own failed run for a Texas Congressional seat in 1977. George W. and Lloyd Bensten's son were both pilots in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam era, while Tommy Denton went to Vietnam.

During the time Tommy Denton worked for Lloyd Bensten, Ronald Reagan, with George Bush Sr. as his vice president, took office and started the revolution that realized the promise of an emerging Republican majority. To Salt Lick, much of the present bitter, partisan atmosphere can be traced back to that time, as the excesses of the anti-war movement and counterculture movement seeped into journalism and the Democratic party. One wonders, does Tommy Denton's apparent loathing of George W. Bush likewise date back to those days? As an aide to Lloyd Bensten and later an editor at the Fort Worth Star Telegram during George W. Bush's tenure as Texas' governor, he would certainly have known the state's politics. And he would have had a vested interest in opposing the Bushes.

Hmmm. Answers no doubt lie in the archives of the Forth Worth Star Telegram. Salt Lick must go into the mines and dig.