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tom moody

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Canyons in Crawford? Ri-i-i-iight.

The following paragraph appeared in the LA Times, concerning Bush's and Colin Powell's recent trip to the coffee shop in Crawford, Texas (via Hullabaloo):

Unlike Washington, this is an environment Bush knows and loves, from the canyons on his ranch to the patrons of The Coffee Station. And, here, far away from the partisan capital, the warm feelings are mutual.
And here's my response to that nonsense, originally posted in the Hullabaloo comments, which I am personally qualified to make having lived several years in the county where Crawford is located (McLennan) and still having kin nearby:
To anyone who knows that part of the country well, "ranch" is a stretch, and "canyons"--no way. The words evoke the extreme terrain in the western part of Texas, but the center and east are much more like the American South. The countryside around Waco--where Bush bought his property--is mostly rolling hills and farmland (cotton, oats, sorghum). To find drier, rockier, thornier "cattle country" you have to go further west. There is a line down the center of the state where the ecology begins to change dramatically to a "Southwestern" climate and terrain, but Crawford is east of that line. This is not to say there aren't cows in eastern/central Texas, but it's hardly the rough open range of the cattle drives. Bush may have stream beds or gullies on his property, but not canyons (a Texas source tells me he has a limestone sinkhole, but that doesn't count). The real canyons are even further west, in the Panhandle (Palo Duro Canyon) or Big Bend National Park. Pictures of the not-very-rugged terrain around Crawford can be seen here, in case you're looking for a nice "ranch" in the half-million range.
So what's the point of all this? That the property in McLennan County isn't really a "ranch," even though the press keeps saying it is over and over. It's just ordinary "rural land," purchased within the last three or four years and called a "ranch" to give the President a hardy "western" image. Bush's people are banking on press ignorance of Texas ecology and terrain, and so far it's working.

- tom moody 8-13-2003 8:40 am [link] [6 comments]