Tag Archives: Beau Boulter

‘No’ never really means no for VP hopefuls

Rob Portman Pictures12

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio said “no” when NBC News asked him if he’d consider running as Donald J. Trump’s vice-presidential nominee this year.

Does that mean he would refuse to run with Trump if he asks him to do so? Does it mean the Republican will have none of it … ever?


It means only that he intends — at this moment — to seek re-election to the Senate.

How many times have these politicians  said “no” only to change their minds when the phone rings? A zillion?

I’m going to flash back for a moment to a conversation my colleagues and I had in Beaumont with the late, great U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen.

It was 1988. The Democratic senator was running for re-election. He visited us at the Beaumont Enterprise to talk about that campaign. The presidential primary campaign was winding down. Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis was pondering a VP pick. Bentsen’s name was being kicked around.

So … I asked him: Would you run for vice president if Dukakis asked?

I don’t recall precisely how Sen. Bentsen answered, but I do recall he said “no,” or words to that effect. He said he was focused only on his re-election campaign against Republican nominee U.S. Rep. Beau Boulter of Amarillo.

About a week later, his phone rang. It was Gov. Dukakis. The governor asked Bentsen to run with him on the Democratic ticket. His “no” turned to “yes.”

My memory of that conversation makes it difficult for me to accept a “no” at face value when the subject of running for vice president comes up.

In this election cycle, though, it strikes me as plausible that saying “no” to a presidential nominee as weird and unpredictable as Donald Trump actually might carry more weight.


Huey to ‘land’ at Panhandle War Memorial


Ernie Houdashell is the master of the deal.

The Randall County judge was chief of staff to state Rep. John Smithee and before that worked for U.S. Rep. Beau Boulter. His job description in both of his prior lives was to make things happen for the seasoned politicians.

He also is a proud veteran of the Vietnam War.

Houdashell has just scored another coup to honor those who served as he did during two tours in ‘Nam. A Vietnam War-vintage Huey helicopter has been towed from Arizona to the Texas Panhandle.

Eventually, the old bird is going to get gussied up, painted, detailed out and put on display at the Texas Panhandle War Memorial. Houdashell has worked for years to bring a Huey here, to show it off and to have it serve as part of an eternal display to honor those who served in Vietnam.

I’m proud of Houdashell for showing the persistence needed to bring another display to the War Memorial, which is slated to grow into a truly spectacular exhibit for visitors and those who live here.

Fundraising has begun on a 12,500-square foot education center that will be built at the War Memorial, next to the Randall County Annex at the corner of South Georgia Street and Interstate 27. The center will serve as an interactive exhibit to educate visitors on all the nation’s conflicts.

The memorial already contains stone tablets describing the conflicts dating back to the Spanish-American War; the tablets also contain the names of those Panhandle residents who died in service during those conflicts.

Houdashell developed his interest in aviation the hard way. He served in the Army and on his second tour in Vietnam served on a flight crew aboard a Huey. He remains a licensed pilot. Indeed, a few years ago, he negotiated for the delivery of an F-100 Super Sabre fighter jet that had seen service during the Vietnam War; the F-100 is not on display at a corner of the War Memorial property.

The county judge isn’t certain when the Huey will be ready for display. It was simply enough for him to negotiate for its delivery to the Panhandle.

As a fellow Vietnam veteran, I will await eagerly the day when the Huey is delivered to the Panhandle War Memorial, where it can enhance what has become a wonderful tribute to those who have defended our nation.

Thank you, judge, for your hard work.