The cliché: A "Texas Miracle" is on the move. A phrase that once existed only between quotation marks is now migrating outside of them to become generally accepted vernacular. Back in 2008, Texas experienced muted effects during the recession, and during the recovery, faster-than-average job creation. This economic boon was deemed a "Texas miracle." The phrase gained traction just after the recession hit, and thus came the attempts to debunk it as myth. But it really made its way into the mainstream this weekend when Governor Rick Perry declared his candidacy for president. Perry will presumably run on the strength of the "Texas miracle" which he oversaw, and this has revived the attempts to question just how miraculous his tenure was. "[W]hat you need to know is that the Texas miracle is a myth," writes Paul Krugman today in The New York Times. "The Texas miracle is, like so many miraculous things, complicated upon closer inspection," The Atlantic's Derek Thompson says more charitably. What's notable in today's coverage is that while many are continuing to put the phrase between quotes or to add a qualifier -- "the so-called Texas Miracle," USA Today's Paul Davidson writes -- many are beginning to throw around the phrase, whether they accept its truth or not, without reference or explanation.
Where it's from: The "Texas miracle" phrase harkens back to the 2000 presidential race, when George W. Bush campaigned on statistics that showed improving test scores and graduation rates for Texas public school students -- a "Texas miracle" he called it. Then, too, opposition sought to expose the "Texas miracle" as a sham and the statistics as untrue or at least misleading.