Since my recent foray into Texas, I’ve become a Texas Monthly nut. Last month they had a terrific piece (not available online without subscription, but thank god for Google cached content) about the Bush legend in Texas. Great read!
“Putting your name on Texas is [not] all that easy. Lyndon Johnson did it (better yet, he monogrammed us) and also got to lead the free world for a while. Yet between LBJ and the Bushes was a two-decade interregnum in which Texas voters strongly trended Republican but neither party could put the other away. It took both the Bushes to pull off the remarkable feat of rebranding this contested turf as their dynastic homeland—and whoever hopes to claim future naming rights to our state should take some notes on how a patrician New England family turned Texas into Bush Country. It wasn’t just brilliant political bean counting, chicanery, or a masterstroke of political strategy. Texas is a storytelling culture, and the Bushes told a story about Texas that was so good they got to put their name on our state.”
“Much like an epic in an oral tradition, the Bush story was composed of threads of history, myth, and previous narratives, and it evolved over time, which is why it held its force during two of the most transforming decades in Texas history. But at its heart was a powerful, patriarchal, almost biblical tale. It may have lacked the sheer moral drama of Exodus—that was LBJ’s Texas narrative, bringing the state out of the bondage of grinding poverty and Jim Crow racism. The story the Bushes told was more like the Book of Deuteronomy, a political covenant intended to bind a fractious, prolifically multiplying people and prepare them for the promised land.”