Bimbo Banter

An Important, Personal Story

  • Leadership
  • November 9, 2020
  • by Merrie Spaeth

Screen shot 2020-11-09 at 1.53.51 pm

Those of you who know me know that I am a glass-half-full person. I believe there is always something positive on which to focus. That’s the purpose of this post, as well as to share an intensely personal story on a topic that I haven't shared with you before. I’m writing in the midst of a highly charged and polarized political environment. Americans across the nation are wondering, “Can government work?”

Twenty-six years ago, my husband, Tex Lezar, asked the same question as president of one of the country’s most innovative and influential think tanks, the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Tex drew on his contacts and relationships cultivated in policy circles in Texas and during two of his most influential roles in Washington, D.C., including his time serving as a speech writer for President Nixon and as assistant attorney general in Ronald Reagan’s Department of Justice. Together, this group produced a book, Making Government Work, that explored a wide range of government-related issues and corresponding recommendations.

Tex died in 2004 at the age of 55. Many of the policies he espoused have been enacted, but as time marches on, many of the same issues remain unsolved, or even, unimproved. Two years ago, I approached a good friend, Texas State Representative Tan Parker, then-chair of the Texas House Republican Caucus and a well-known and respected legislator and elected official, about creating a new edition of the book. He is a conservative in that he believes in individual freedom, the rule of law, a constitutional approach to making and enforcing policy, the capability of Americans to innovate and solve problems and American exceptionalism. President Bill Clinton said during his first inaugural address, “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.”

This quote is fitting in the context of describing the intended purpose of the original and new edition of Making Government Work because millions of Americans believe that sentiment. They want government to work and for leaders to make government work by drawing upon concepts derived from what’s right with America. Tan worked for Tex at the age of 19 and went on to lead a successful career in business and politics. (This is Texas, remember? We revere our successful entrepreneurs.) Just as important, he upholds the highest standards of integrity and is simply a wonderful human being. Working on behalf of all Americans, Tan picked up the mantle of Making Government Work and, 26 years later, the new edition is ready for you to read, learn from and argue with. I believe it’s important that you join in the conversation. You’re an important part of whether and how government works. Abraham Lincoln’s famous words spoken at Gettysburg, “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” are still relevant today and prove inclusive of all Americans.

Making Government Work is an easy book to thumb through, as it provides a concise analysis of and corresponding policy recommendations on 23 key topics. Want to read 20 pages on tax reform? Dr. Art Laffer’s chapter is for you. Curious about whether or not the electoral college is obsolete or a remnant of slavery? Read Professor Bradley Smith’s analysis. Want to know more about energy now that the U.S. is energy independent? Jacki Deason shares her expertise. Interested in infrastructure? Businessman Bob Hellman says, “Enough talking,” and elaborates upon approaches that, well, work. Chuck Norris writes on the Second Amendment, Kathy Ireland on what it means to be pro-life and one of the most powerful chapters is by Robert L. Woodson Sr., a civil rights activist whose chapter explores revitalizing low-income communities.  

I authored a chapter on media, in which I look at how the very definition of the term has changed over two-and-a-half decades and include a brief description of the Sulzberger family, known for building the New York Times, and while many focus on the paper’s former publisher and chairman, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., I’ve focused on another member of the family—Iphigene. You’ve likely never heard of her, but you should familiarize yourself with her history.

The book includes contributions from a variety of impressive leaders—some of which have strenuously disagreed with each other over the years on policies and politics like former governors Rick Perry and Jeb Bush, but they are united here on the importance of—wait for it—making government work.

Wherever you are on the political spectrum and whichever issues you care about most, you are involved. You’re a decision maker.

Making Government Work is more than a tribute to Tex’s life, to carry on his passion for America; it’s a great contribution from Tan Parker, one of the leaders of this and the next generation of problem solvers, it’s a love letter to the country, a commitment that government can work. It can work for you and all the people you care about now and in the future. Please order it, and let me know what you think.

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