Gail Collins on Texas and Politics

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gail Collins talks about American politics and the disproportional influence of Texas, which has become the model for not just the Tea Party but also the Republican Party. In As Texas Goes…How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda, she looks at the influence of the Texas way of thinking on the 2012 election, and shows how the presidential race devolved into a clash between the so-called “empty places” and the cities.


Gail Collins

Comments [19]

Pinch S. from 10012

Gail Collins would have you believe there is such a thing as an 'American agenda' and that Texas is somehow not allowed to participate in its formation, but New York and California are surogates for the remainder of the country. Spending your live working on a small island bounded by the Hudson and East rivers will convince you of anything. Collins would have listeners believe that diversity legitimately exists only when skin color is being discussed.

Feb. 23 2013 10:23 AM

Gail, there are a lot of Democrats in Texas and a long Democratic tradition. In fact, proportionally, there are probably just as many Democrats in Texas as there are Republicans in New York, which is close to or at 40%. If you look at the major cities -- Houston, Austin, even Dallas -- they're blue voting blocks. It's really frustrating as a former Texan and long-time New Yorker to always hear such a complex and dynamic state get caricatured by pundits at the New York Times. Come on! It was the land of Ann Richards and Molly Ivins! It's home to NASA and now SpaceX. Honestly, the place where I overheard a heated debate on whether there were 48 or 50 states was right here on a street corner in NYC. And the only place I saw religious protests against that movie made from a Dan Brown book was...oh, yes. Again. Right here in New York. Wing nuts recognize no state borders.

Feb. 19 2013 10:21 PM
MikeF from New Jersey

And what about California, which could be considered as influential on the left as Texas is on the right? Is it fair to pick on Texas? (not that they would care!) My sister lives there and the less intrusive role of government there makes it very affordable and livable. Maybe we can learn something from them.

Feb. 19 2013 06:20 PM
Suzanne from Texas

I'll agree Texas has it's issues and we Texans can be a bit over proud, but I don't want people to think we're totally crazy :-) I grew up here and maybe it's true that Texas Independence Day is a state holiday, but it hasn't been a school holiday in all my 43 years and I couldn't tell you when it is. Although I'm sure I learned about it in school. Philadelphia has a strong history around the revolution, NYC is awful proud of itself, too. Many places have a strong sense of self.

And as an aside, the "Don't Mess With Texas" bumper stickers are part of an anti littering campaign started in the 80s. We're honestly not all out looking for a fight ;-)

Feb. 19 2013 05:24 PM
texas j from NYC

I grew up in Austin and I am a very proud native Texan who has lived in NYC for over 10 years. I strongly disagree with Ms. Collins viewpoint. She paints texas as a completely backward state and that is totally inaccurate! She said that the sex education program in public school teaches nothing except that condoms don't work and that is simply not true. I went to public school and we had a normal curriculum that taught the basic tenets of reproductive science and contraception. She is totally misinformed - just another a typical judgmental classist jerk with an anti-texan agenda!

Feb. 19 2013 03:50 PM

Rebecca from Texas: "Also, LBJ didn't start the Vietnam War..."

True, but he sure as heck expanded it.

Rebecca from Texas: "..and W. Bush is from Connecticut (as shameful as it is for me to admit"

Also true. But he was raised in Texas.

Feb. 19 2013 01:37 PM

TO: Larry from Brooklyn - Textbook publishers try to sell books approved by the largest school market states to all the others. Otherwise, they would have no value.

California, pre-Reagan used to set the standard, now it's Texas.

Each state can buy the Texas book & save $$$ or make their own mods. Each state sets its own approvals, etc.

There is no national standard for either books or curricula, which differs from most of our economic competitors worldwide.

Feb. 19 2013 01:31 PM
Ezekiel from Texas

i found the comment Ms. Collins about Texans being able to carry a gun either on their hip or in a bar indicative of a total lack of research. i have a license to carry a concealed hand gun and neither can it be legally carried into a bar or any establishment that earns 51% or more of its income from alcohol nor can it be carried openly on ones' hip. it is a CONCEALED handgun license. these are facts that are easily researched and the fact that she didn't know it shows a surprising lack concern for the truth.

Feb. 19 2013 12:54 PM
John A

"This woman is full of elitist nonsense."
That's the Tone I'm picking up, tho I'm backgrounding the segment.

Feb. 19 2013 12:50 PM
Ed from New Jersey

Ms. Collins is taking advantage of the radio time to rehash all the tried and true Democrat talking points. Both parties have pushed programs that have not worked, voted in expensive programs that have not produced any benefit and passed laws that have limited citizens rights. These type of interviews should be paid promotions.

Feb. 19 2013 12:45 PM
Larry from Brooklyn

My understanding on the textbook issue is that Texas is the largest state where all school districts use the same book whereas in other states, different districts may use different books. Is this not the case?

Feb. 19 2013 12:43 PM
Larry from Brooklyn

A lot of what is being discussed here rings true to me. My native Texan friends are very generous but really very overbearing in their near constant boosterism for the wonders of Texas... its independence, lack of government, bestbiggest this, best/biggest that. More than I have ever seen from my friends from other states. What I wonder is why California, which is so much larger, seems to have waning influence.

I live in NYC but am a native of Louisiana which has become Texas' colony.

Feb. 19 2013 12:38 PM

One example of the power of Texas — K-12 textbooks. Textbook publishers bend over backwards to keep Texas happy with school books, especially those covering history and biology.

Feb. 19 2013 12:36 PM
Rebecca from Texas

This woman is full of elitist nonesense. I spent the first twenty years of my life in Connecticut and have been in Texas for the past two years. Just because it happens to be the site of a famous historical event (the Alamo) that people go to visit does not mean that it is a "pilgrimage" any more than it is a "pilgrimage" to take kids on a school trip to Washington, DC. If she said these types of things about China or Japan she would automatically be accused of orientalism.

Also, LBJ didn't start the Vietnam War...and W. Bush is from Connecticut (as shameful as it is for me to admit).

Feb. 19 2013 12:22 PM
Paul from NYC/Northern NJ

Not to knock Texas pride, but NYC residents (especially Manhattan residents?) just know they are at the center of the known universe. ::smile::

Feb. 19 2013 12:22 PM

Texas' immigration model and economic distribution ("two for me, one for you") are anachronisms. To the degree that they have served as a model for the rest of the nation, the nation has suffered.

When o when can we lift the curtain on the complete and utter BS of these all hat, no cattle fastbuck artists.

Feb. 19 2013 12:16 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Ted Kennedy was the Senate sponsor of the "No Child Left Behind" bill.... It wasn't all G. W. Bush....

Feb. 19 2013 12:16 PM
Noach (Independent Traditionalist) from Brooklyn

I suspect Ms. Collins is aware that Texas was the first state to allow patients to sue their HMOs.

Does she know the story behind that legislation?

Feb. 19 2013 07:47 AM

What, as opposed to New York and California being the models of the Democratic Party?

Feb. 19 2013 07:17 AM

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