I finished Cronies by Robert Bryce recently and I can’t help but tell people about it. I hadn’t really wondered why so many presidents and vice-presidents have been from Texas, but Bryce did. “Two of the last three American presidents — and three of the last eight — have been Texans. Each of them got to the White House by exploiting a network of money and power that no other state can match.” From the election of JFK to today, there’s been a Texan in the White House (as either pres or VP) for 24 out of 44 years. If you count Nixon as an honorary Texan — and considering the bundles of cash Texas oil men gave him to run his campaigns, we should — we get 32 years of Texas politics in the last 44 years.
Ever wonder why the senior Bush was head of the CIA? It turns out oil-men have been using US intelligence services to pursue oil interests since the second World War (the elder Bush, by the way, is the only president in history to exercise his right to daily intelligence briefings after leaving office). Wonder how Halliburton became so entangled with the Pentagon? It turns out that Halliburton’s construction arm, Brown & Root, has been over-charging the government since the 1930s.
We sometimes wonder how we got here. Cronies seems to explain it.