How Millie the Milk Cow might just change Texas politics

Brandon Darby is in overalls, sitting on his wooden front porch, pulling a natural blend American Spirit to light up. He’s anxious.

“She wasn’t treated very nicely,” the Breitbart Texas chief says through an exhale of smoke, rubbing a scruffy bearded chin with his palm. “She’s hot and cold. Sweet and aggressive. I think she’s still upset from yesterday.”

She is Millie the milk cow, the newest addition to Darby’s 10-acre ponderosa, which is co-inhabited by goats, chickens, ducks, dogs and a plague of prairie dogs, a ways outside Lubbock.

It’s time to feed Millie, but he’s in no a hurry to head to the corral. “I left her in the pen too long and it ticked her off. I looked like a Spanish bull fighter versus a milk cow.”

“Cows are pretty agile, people don’t realize that.”

Darby, who’s widely believed to be one of the most powerful players in Texas politics, purchased his place a year ago. I ask what he’s learned thus far in his ranch startup.

He begins with the importance of good fencing, then observes why goats are an apt biblical allegory for damnation. “They get into the same trouble day after day.”

And then he launches into his most frustrating discovery: the difficulty in finding a large-animal veterinarian for Millie.

“If you’re starting out and don’t have lots of cattle, you’re not a priority for the few large-animal vets available,” he says. “And if you don’t have an animal trailer or industrial manufactured chutes, you’re (in trouble).”

Darby’s complaint is similar to many others who substantiated Texas Tech’s claims that Texas A&M is abdicating its responsibility to produce veterinarian services for the entire state.

But a Darby complaint is also different. It starts with a tremor across the political landscape, and it can eventually knock the Texas political world off its axis. For years he’s pounded on border insecurity and Mexican cartels. For years, few listened. Then in 2014, he discovered thousands of unaccompanied foreign minors in warehouses on the U.S. side of the border. State politics has spun differently ever since.

The vet issue has ignited a long-fuming complaint within Darby that rural Texas is underserved because it’s too often politically exploited.

“There are so many on the right who say, ‘We’re not using the power of government for anything.’ But that’s bull (droppings). You’re using the power of government to give people and industries tax credits and incentives.” Citing Rick Perry’s Texas Miracle that lured companies to the state, he hammers down, “the question isn’t if we’re going to use the power of government, it’s how.”

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