(Nov. 25) Much of politics is getting favors and returning favors.

Well, President Bush owes a big favor to thirsty Texas growers. Back in March 1998, well before American voters delivered both houses of Congress to Bush’s Republican Party, and before Bush became president No. 43, then-Texas Gov. Bush visited Rio Grande Valley farms and told growers there he understands the important role of agriculture.

Four years later, those Texas growers have good reason to doubt Bush’s sincerity.

Mexico continues to defy a water rights treaty along the Rio Grande, and while the Clinton administration paid little attention, growers had good reason to believe their man, Bush, would solve their problems.

However, Bush has been more interested in cozying up to Mexican President Vicente Fox, continuing to emphasize trade with Mexico and pandering to Hispanic voters in the U.S., with minimal results.

Texas growers, who supported Bush both as governor and president, now have good reason to feel slighted.

“At this point, you have to ask yourself (whether) our government cares for us,” said Jud Flowers, general manager of Healds Valley Farms Inc., Edinburg, Texas.

The Bush administration needs to show Texas growers that it does care for them and about agriculture. It needs to insist that Mexico live up to its part of the Rio Grande water bargain and give Texas its fair share.