There are two parts of Texas, according to Jack Burden. "The part where the flat-footed, bilious, frog-sticker-toting Baptist biscuit-eaters live," and the "part where the crooked-legged, high-heeled, gun-wearing, callous-assed sons of the range live."
Both parts are a long way form Hyde Park.
Burden's descriptions of Texas reflect the contempt that many outsiders have always felt toward Texas (he was a Louisianan). As early as 1845, New Englander Edward Everett Hale wrote "How to Conquer Texas Before It Conquers Us."
George W. Bush, a New Englander by blood, became as much of a Texan as Sam Houston or Stephen Austin. But Barack Obama, on the other hand, has no connection to the state and probably sees it somewhat similarly to Burden.
Texas Democrats found themselves a little too busy today to meet up with Obama as he spoke in Austin. But this capital city and university town is definitely the friendliest part of the state for the pro-academia and pro-public sector president.
East Texas, on the "western edge of Scots-Irish American," would be solidly Republican. Gun sales soared here after the 2008 election and it maintains a "roughneck air," according to Barone. The "awl bidness" and the Bible reign here.
West Texas, home of LBJ, Willie Nelson and Anton Chigurh, is outlaw country where cattle outnumber people. This is "some of North America's most rugged and desolate landscape," according to Joel Garreau. El Paso is closer to San Diego than Houston.
For its part, Houston is "a swamp of heat and humidity only an air-conditioner repairman or an oil engineer could love." But it's also an international energy hub and world-class space center.
I could go on and on talking about the various regions and fissures in Texas, and I ought to write a longer post on it. But for today, Obama should rest assured that there isn't a more friendly and blue city in Texas than Austin.
Nate Silver envisions five regions in Texas:
Robert David Sullivan sees three: Southern Comfort (red), Sagebrush (white), and El Norte (brown):