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Top 10 Reasons To Love Texas (and Happy 4th!)

The Fix is spending the Fourth of July somewhere down in Texas -- what better place to celebrate the nation's independence than in this most independent of states! -- and thought we would honor the holiday with our top 10 reason to love the Lone Star State.

Have a great 4th!

10. Pickup trucks with deer antlers (fake, we think) on them.
9. Sweet tea.
8. LBJ
7. This bumper sticker
6. The weather (we kid).
5. Gigantic American flags at every car dealerships.
4. Lots of George Strait on the radio.
3. Brisket.
2. Rick Perry vs Kay Bailey Hutchison.
1. Panther football.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 4, 2009; 10:35 AM ET
Categories:  Fix Notes  
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Seconding the recommendation of HRXchange, the barbeque at the Salt Lick in Austin is AMAZING. Good outdoor area with live music, and BYOB. Awesome.

Posted by: RJD1 | July 7, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Chris, did you not see any truck nuts affixed to the towing bar on the back of those antler vehicles?

Posted by: TNbybirth | July 7, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Chris, did you not see any truck nuts affixed to the towing bar on the back of those antler vehicles?

Posted by: TNbybirth | July 7, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

HRXCHANGE, thanks for that explanation, which I enjoyed.

I guess it is we central Texans who chafe at being called
"north", "east", "south", or "west" Texans. It's that ornery streak. From a CenTex view, S.A. is the northern reach of SoTex!

But we agree that our state is lovable, despite the Goodhair [38%] governorship.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 7, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin (if you're still there):

Just to clarify, not argue: South Texas to me and most of my generation defines direction rather than political sentiment. Draw an arc from Del Rio through Round Rock to Galveston--that defines South Texas to me. It incorporates the original cattle country, including the Schreiner Hill Country holdings which after his death incorporated my maternal great grandfather's land including horse ranches near Eagle Pass and on Galveston Island. This would be a region culturally and in many ways politically distinct from East, North and West Texas. Here I note, based on a South Texas predilection to scorn West Texans, West Texas did unfortunately produce George W. Bush and Rick Perry underscoring some regional political, cultural and ethical differences. If there's still a difference of opinion between us, it hopefully will demonstrate to some of the nay sayers posting here that we are an independent bunch who can resolve differences in a most civilized way and are not the stereotypes they'd like us to become. It sounds to me that CC was somewhere in the vicinity of San Antonio (my birthplace), probably drawn by what many consider one of only four cities in the U.S. with a distinctly cosmopolitan ambiance.

And to "casaheart", I've lived in New Orleans, Kansas City, upstate South Carolina, Atlanta, Birmingham, and between Detroit and Ann Arbor. My wife and I spend six to eight months a year in our Morelia, MX home (another place CC should visit) and a fair amount of time each year in either London, Liverpool or Venice. It does make a difference--especially if you visit as a native might rather than flock with other estadounideses.

Posted by: HRXchange | July 6, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Molly Ivins (God bless her) used to say that Texas is America's laboratory of bad government... oops, make that "bad gubmint."

There are a few things about Texas that I don't much like, especially their alleged "jurisprudence" (Texas courts rate somewhere between the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials for fairness, and apparently never heard of a hanging they didn't like).

Yes, Bush the Lesser considers himself a Texan, but Molly was a Texan, too, so I'd call that a wash.

On the other hand, as Mark_in_Austin points out, we Californiacs probably owe Texas a debt of gratitude. Every time I've been through Texas, I had a great time. And I've rarely met a Texan I didn't like.

Posted by: Iconoblaster | July 6, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

JohInIllinois, Polk went to war against MX based on his view of Manifest Destiny. He had no cavlary.

MX had a huge cavalry and it was well trained. In desperation, the USA turned to the TEXAS RANGERS to provide a cavalry for the American infantry.

Without TX, and the Rangers, the Mexican War would have been lost, and the land west of TX to CA would have still been in Mexico.

You could look it up.

HRXchange, you are easily forgiven - we completely agree about everything except the inclusion of Hill Country as historically south TX. Austin and the Hill Country voted to stay in the union and actively ran the "underground railway" by which slaves escaped up the Colorado R., came ashore at Waterloo Crossing [Austin], and were hidden in wagons while they escaped to Fredericksburg where the German abolitionists hid them until the end of the CW.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 6, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I have been to Texas dozens of times and never understood what Texans were so proud of...but proud they are. I would just remind them that Texas was a miserable failure as a nation.

Posted by: JohninIllinois | July 6, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Great posts. After living in Texas for 5 years, and happily seeing it in my rear view mirror, I discovered what I disliked about it. It would be fine if it didn't have so many Texans living there. The best places are where those who've been somewhere else on the planet, like Louisiana, have congregated.

Posted by: casaheart | July 6, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, it was Mark in Austin, not Mike.

Posted by: HRXchange | July 6, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

From a Texan born and bred with over 200 years of family history there: The friendly people are No. 1, sweet tea is Southern, and you have missed barbecue completely: The top barbecue is at home, the Salt Lick is second outside of Austin, a close third is McBee's just over the Atascosa River on US281 in Pleasanton, Texas, and almost any "joint" in East Texas where hickory is the preferred wood. My last trip to Rudy's six weeks ago was a taste disaster.

Politics and bragging aside, it's a great state with virtues shared by real old-timers. For those of us who are South Texans(which can include Austin and the Hill Country, Mike) and as one whose great grandfather drove the first Texas cattle north out of George Strait's home territory, a cattleman's and cowboy's ethic is what counts. Those of us with over 300 years of roots in the cattle industries of South Carolina, Louisiana and Texas don't have to brag about it, we try to live it every day by practicing friendship, helping others, and dining on the best brisket, rib and goat barbecue in the world washed down with plain tea that we sweeten to taste and an occasional Mexican beer.

Posted by: HRXchange | July 6, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Never has a state been so proud of so little. Academic standards are dreadful, racism is rampant, intolerance is acceptable, huge portions of the population are uninsured, gun crime is everywhere, the weather is unbearable... Colorodo says if God had intended Texans to ski he would have made b*llsh*t white! I can't wait to get off oil so these loudmouth boors in Texas can starve their very ample behinds off.

Posted by: cosmiccanine | July 6, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, it's nearly impossible to pick out the jealous posters.

Posted by: texascorvette | July 6, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

As someone born and raised in Texas, I can understand why a lot of people hate us. I don't agree, but I can understand. And a lot of the things people hate about us, I don't like either--not to mention several of the things on Chris's list (George Strait, one of the most boring artists ever, is played about every 5th song on just about every country station.) But those of us in Texas genuinely know that we're better than the rest of the country (with the arguable exceptions of California, New York, and maybe Florida), and we aren't ashamed to admit it regularly--so it's natural others would resent it.

Posted by: Budikavlan | July 6, 2009 5:50 AM | Report abuse

DDAWD, your list of FB page populations [with the word "Palin"] was very funny.

The best reason to love TX is the genuinely friendly people who live here. This is not a mere stereotype. We have three of the nation's nine largest cities, five of the top 17, and six of the top 21. We shrimp and grow rice and drill oil and grow cattle. We have major industry. Brownsville is closer to MX City than to Austin, Amarillo is closer to Denver than to Austin, and El Paso is closer to San Diego than it is to Houston. We have a huge, multi-ethnic state. The first VN born NFL player came out of A&M, not UCLA. But wherever you are, in city, suburb, town, or ranch land; in east TX which is like the south, or west TX which is like the west, or Austin which is like Austin, you WILL be greeted with smiles and politeness.

Come before all the Californians move in, however. We are beginning to understand how Portland and Seattle feel... .

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 5, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Chris's list is sadly lacking an important item: Collings Guitars.

Posted by: nodebris | July 4, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I had the pleasure of attending Rice for a semester. Houston isn't the worst place in the world to live either. Great place if you like to eat. It's not as liberal as Austin, but isn't insanely conservative either. I think the Houston district was about 50-50 for Bush and Kerry.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 4, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse


My apologies about the sweet tea (I'm just an ignorant foreigner), but the tea was sweet when I was in Texas--I know it's a pan-Southern thing.

The magnificent appearance of my favourite fish, pomfret (aka pompano) on a trip to Galveston doesn't make it quintessentially Texan, either, does it?

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 4, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Best Texan bumper sticker:
"Don't Mess With Texas"--meaning don't litter, recycle, etc.
Austin is a little bit of heaven dropped into purgatory just to show the unsaved what they can achieve.

Posted by: dricks | July 4, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

George Walker Bush lives there and not near me... is reason enough.

Posted by: whocares666 | July 4, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Sweet tea is southern, not Texan.

It has recently made its unwanted appearance here.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 4, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

The number 11 reason to love texas - it gives America hope that it's secessionist movement will succeed.

Posted by: whocares666 | July 4, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

@ 80237DTC - Consider it a mirror image of the trashing California took after last week's Sunday op-ed. There are juveniles on both ends of the spectrum.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 4, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Texas is the only bi-ethnic state that kind of actually works that way. Mexican Americans are everywhere here, have their own radio stations, tv stations, newspapers, and so on and so forth. Was not always that way. Soon, we'll likely see a Hispanic governor!

Will be enjoying a margarita or two tonight. Adios amigos.

Posted by: Martial | July 4, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Nice comments, posters.... On the anniversary of our nation's independence, Great job you have done in tearing down a state and your fellow Americans. Happy Fourth of July.

Posted by: 80237DTC | July 4, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Can't think of a single reason to love Texas.

Austin can be fun at least.

Posted by: sufi66 | July 4, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

As a native Texan, I'm glad to hear and see that many people do not like Texas - that should keep them out of our great state and let their native states worry about having those idiots running loose and voting in their states!

Posted by: traveler11 | July 4, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Why would you even care about Tx? I don't like your new picture, go back to your old one.

Posted by: girard73 | July 4, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Why would you even care about Tx? I don't like your new picture, go back to your old one.

Posted by: girard73 | July 4, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Ten reasons many of us loathe Texas:

1. In Dallas they shoot Presidents in the street like a rabid dog.

2. They drive pickups with black men tied to the fender like marriage tin cans.

3. They have governors who threaten secession, and then won't follow through.

4. Home of Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys (the new Steinbrenner/Yankees).

5. Land of 185% humidity, long thought an impossibility.

6. Home of Mack Brown, the carny barker football coach at UT always pimping the Longhorns on the BCS...even during baseball season.

7. A state that apparently believes they are paid by the execution, and therefore consider it a growth industry.

8. The land that pawned its village idiot, George W. Bush, onto the nation.

9. A state that "improved" its educational stats, particularly dropout rates, by claiming dropouts were no longer students and therefore shouldn't be counted.

10. The one state where DNA is apparently not recognized as proof of innocence in overturning false convictions.

Posted by: filmex | July 4, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Top Reason To Love Texas?

Texans want to secede.

Let them. And good riddance. The cumulative IQ of the US might rise three or four points.

As to the food in Texas?

I grew up in NE Indiana, and ate all those types of food, cooked by a grandmother who was raised in Ohio and Indiana, and whose ancestry was German and English. The biscuits. The tea. She made fried chicken on top of a wood-burning stove that would put to shame 99.999999% of the 'revered' southern fried chicken that most people slavishly adore.

Posted by: critter69 | July 4, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Ah, yes Texas

1. Karl Rove
2. Tom Delay
3. George the Dumber
4. George the Smarter (but not much)
5. Ignorance in Squeeze Bottles
6. Phil Gramm
7. Tony Garza
8. John Tower

Sorry, I can't think of two more.

Posted by: coloradodog | July 4, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

CC, confirm to me that Palin's been eating 'shrooms and it will give me a some perspective.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 4, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Hullo Chris!

Thank you for posting on Independance Day! The advantage of having been brought up and educated in the UK, but having been born elsewhere is that one rarely takes Independence Day as a personal affront!

Love your list! (you are, apparently, a 'list person'--as am I)

I actually lived in TX (mostly Austin & San Antonio) once for 4 months, on the assignment from hell! Other than the weather, which I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, I loved it because I knew it would come to an end.

Bar-B-Cue: For you, the brisket; for me, the pork loin! And the entire South is biscuit and grits country--yum! Nothing like a breakfast of sausage and gravy over those flufft light biscuits followed by a glass of sweet tea--the only way I can stand ice in drinks (then followed by a strenuous game of squash of a long swim). A Southern friend said: 'You talk kinda funny, but you sho got Bubba tastes'.

Panthers: So WHAT has NBC done with 'Friday Night Lights'???? If only they'd stop pre-empting it, it might develop a bigger following! I've been a big Kyle Chandler fan since I discovered him one night in 'Homefront', (remember that one?) on my first visit to the US, while channel-surfing at my hotel.

George Strait: Surprisingly for a quasi-Brit, I love Country music, including George Strait (one of my faves: 'Write This Down')

I'm less enthusiastic about the giant US flags--smacks a bit of jingoism to me. If one is patriotic, it's in one's heart and in every fibre of one's being. No need to pin it up on a wall! Sorry--no offence meant.

At the risk of offending even more people, I love the kind of pick-up trucks you talk about (I mainly saw ones with steerhorns, rather than stag antlers on them), but prefer them without African-Americans tied with chains to the rear bumpers.

It's a festive day, though, so I probably should have left off that last bit. Again, apologies, and Happy 4th of July.

Come back safely!

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 4, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Hope you have a great time, Chris. As an Australian who moved from New York City to Austin a few years ago (admittedly, a more likely place to find music and barbecue than handguns and fundamentalists), I think you have come to a very under-appreciated place for your vacation.

Best wishes for Independence Day (or as my English stepfather cheekily called it, "the anniversary of the rebellion").

Posted by: Krunj | July 4, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Do they have sweet tea in Texas now? When I lived in Houston, it was always unsweet.

Posted by: rmabry | July 4, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm stealing this from an old Danny Devito movie, I think, but as a native upper midwesterner I thought I'd like my epitaph to be, "Has never been to Texas." Alas, the military spoiled that for me; I got to visit Camp Bullis. San Antonio's riverwalk is pretty cool, but not enough to make me move there.

Posted by: pdech | July 4, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Chris, you know why it's so windy in Oklahoma?

Because Texas sucks.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | July 4, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

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