Many Texans boast, ad nauseam, that “everything is bigger and better” in the Lone Star State. Many non-Texans find that incessant bragging tiresome.
But Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry can — and do — fairly hail their state’s enduring economic strength through the Great Recession. The Republican duo also fairly hails the vital contribution Texas’ free-market focus has made to that ongoing success story.
So as President Barack Obama prepared to visit Texas this week, Sen. Cruz offered this advice: “Texas has shown the country how it’s done, and we hope the president will take some of these lessons back to Washington to bring true economic recovery to our nation.”
Lucy Nashed, Gov. Perry’s spokeswoman, had already sent that message by saying that the president was coming “to the right place” to learn those lessons. She cited the benefits Texas has reaped from cutting taxes, government spending and regulations, passing tort reform, and “getting out of the way and allowing employers to risk their capital and create jobs.”
Gov. Perry even bought a half-page advertisement in Thursday’s Austin American-Statesman touting those principles — and urging the president to heed them.
President Obama didn’t specifically endorse any of those conservative concepts during Thursday’s speech at a “Silicone Prairie” computer-chip facility near Austin.
He did, however, sound this upbeat theme: “If you listen to all the doom and gloom in Washington, the politics, watching cable TV, you think nothing’s going right. But the truth is there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about where we’re heading as a country after the tough times we’ve been through after the last several years.”
Pundits regard the president’s trip to a state that he lost by 12 percentage points in 2008 and 16 points last November as part of an effort to turn Texas from “red” (Republican) to “blue” (Democratic).
Yet though Gov. Perry greeted the president when he arrived at the Austin airport Thursday, the hospitable host later dismissed the notion that Democrats — who haven’t won a statewide race in Texas since 1990 — are on the rise there.
As the governor put it on a Houston radio show:
“The idea that a president or anyone else will turn Texas from a freedom-loving state to one that depends on government — not going to happen.”
But let’s hope the president’s view of Texas and its wide-open spaces gave him a new perspective, including a good look at the good economic effects of free-market policies.