“Gail Collins is the funniest serious political commentator in America. Reading As Texas Goes… is pure pleasure from page one.” —Rachel Maddow
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year (Nonfiction)
As Texas Goes . . . provides a trenchant yet often hilarious look into American politics and the disproportional influence of Texas, which has become the model for not just the Tea Party but also the Republican Party. Now with an expanded introduction and a new concluding chapter that will assess the influence of the Texas way of thinking on the 2012 election, Collins shows how the presidential race devolved into a clash between the so-called “empty places” and the crowded places that became a central theme in her book. The expanded edition will also feature more examples of the Texas style, such as Governor Rick Perry’s nearsighted refusal to accept federal Medicaid funding as well as the proposed ban on teaching “critical thinking” in the classroom. As Texas Goes . . . will prove to be even more relevant to American politics by the dawn of a new political era in January 2013.
The outsized influence of the union's largest state is decried in this by turns amused and appalled study of Texas's government and its discontents. New York Times columnist Collins (When Everything Changed) revels in the state's 10-gallon self-regard, Alamo-inspired cult of suicidal last stands, and eccentric right-wing pols. But the upshot of all that, she argues, is a disastrous model of public policy that inspired the Republican Party's national platform: a rickety economic boom based on insecure, poverty-level jobs and massive state incentives to corporations; financial deregulation that led to banking meltdowns; a raft of ill-advised education nostrums, from the prototype of the No Child Left Behind Act to abstinence-only sex-ed programs and textbook guidelines that frown on evolution; skimpy public services, high rates of poverty and inequality, and low rates of health coverage and graduation. Collins's book is really an indictment of what she calls America's "empty-places" creed the rural conservative populism that favors small government, low taxes, and lax regulation through a takedown of its colorful epicenter. Much like the late Texas dissident Molly Ivins, she slathers plenty of wry humor onto a critique that stings like a red-hot brand.