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R.I.P. Texas, Says Best-Selling Author (A Non-Texan)

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Texas, your day is done.

That's according to Bryan Burrough, the Vanity Fair contributor and author of The Big Rich, a best-selling look at the oilmen who ruled the state and beyond for much of the 20th century.

Burrough writes in an op-ed column in the Washington Post that, with the farewell of George Bush, Texas's influence on national matters has waned to perhaps its lowest level since before the Depression.

"Now that George W. Bush has hightailed it back to Dallas, there is no Texan of any real significance left on the national stage. Kay Bailey Hutchison is still hanging on, and Texas has that governor, Rick whatsisname, the guy with the haircut, but the most visible Texan in Washington right now is probably the Libertarian Ron Paul. I don't think I need to say much more than that...Offhand, I can't even name another Texas congressman. You?"

Well, that hurts.

Burrough feels free to pile it on:

And now, well, it's over. The Bush administration's bonfire of the inanities has made being a Texan something you don't brag about. None of the East Coast Texans I know want to talk too much about their heritage these days -- surely a first. Nationally, about the only Texas oilman who can still make waves is T. Boone Pickens, who captured a certain amount of national attention last year with all those commercials about alternative energy. Folks listened to Boone there for about five minutes when oil was at a million dollars a barrel, but now that the price has fallen back to earth, he has grumped his way back to Amarillo.

The good news is that at least Burrough predicts Texas "well be back" at some point. So we got that going for us, which is nice.

Burrough will be taking questions from readers at noon today on the Post's website, if you want to argue the point.

-- Richard Connelly

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