George W. Bush called it "the best job in the world," yet many would argue that the Texas governorship is a weak office. Given few enumerated powers by the Texas Constitution, the governor must build a successful relationship with the state legislature—sometimes led by a powerful lieutenant governor or speaker of the opposing party—to advance his or her policy agenda. Yet despite the limitations on the office and the power of the legislative branch, many governors have had a significant impact on major aspects of Texas's public life—government, economic development, education, and insurance reform among them. How do Texas governors gain the power to govern effectively?
The Power of the Texas Governor takes a fresh look at the state's chief executives, from John Connally to George W. Bush, to discover how various governors have overcome the institutional limitations of the office. Delving into the governors' election campaigns and successes and failures in office, Brian McCall makes a convincing case that the strength of a governor's personality—in particular, his or her highly developed social skills—can translate into real political power. He shows, for example, how governors such as Ann Richards and George W. Bush forged personal relationships with individual legislators to achieve their policy goals. Filled with revealing insights and anecdotes from key players in each administration, The Power of the Texas Governor offers new perspectives on leadership and valuable lessons on the use of power.