4 January 2004
The Dallas Morning News has selected George W. Bush as the Texan of the Year, which probably isn't that much of a surprise.
There was some wailing and gnashing of teeth, to be sure the paper's blog printed a couple of reader comments that, shall we say, took exception to the selection but it's hard to argue with the conclusion of the announcement, written by Rod Dreher:
To honor Mr. Bush as Texan of the Year is not necessarily to endorse all his policies, nor is it to approve without question his governing style. It is, however, to recognize that there was in the past 12 months no more important Texan, and that the principles informing his fateful decisions over the course of a fateful year came from the mind of a man with roots deep in the heart of Texas.
And Keven Ann Willey, editorial-page editor, noted that some of the disagreements stemmed from the fact that, well, Bush wasn't born in Texas. (Before you ask: New Haven, Connecticut.) Not that this matters:
It's tough to argue that Bush isn't Texan. No, he wasn't born in the state, but he sure exudes its spirit with every breath, mannerism and utterance. The word "native" is commonly associated with one's birthplace, but note the first definition of "native" as a noun in Webster's: "One born OR reared in a particular local" emphasis added. Reared counts.
It's certainly fair to debate the merits of Bush's actions and policies, but debating his "Texan-ness," to my mind, is wasted energy.
The Oklahoman has yet to announce an Oklahoman of the Year, though KTOK's Cam Edwards ran a phone poll last week, in which General Tommy Franks (who, incidentally, was born in Texas) was rather convincingly beating out OU quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Jason White before the combination of my morning commute and the station's weird directional pattern dropped the program out of earshot.