It was once a state whose residents considered themselves Texans first and Americans second. It was big oil, big money, big hats and most of all big Texas pride.
It was the state that made itself famous with a motto that basically said, "Don't mess with us."
But times have changed for the Lone Star State. Dairy farms full of cattle have been replaced by cubicle farms full of telecom geeks. The meatloaf and mashed potatoes at the local diner has been replaced by low-carb special at Ruby Tuesday's. And the state whose most popular icon was once Tom Landry, the brilliant head coach of "America's Team", is now synonymous with George W. Bush, the bumbling lunatic in charge of America's Corrupt Empire.
"People used to say 'I'm from Texas' with pride, like people from New York City do now." said high school wrestling coach, C.J. Hartmann. "It didn't matter if you were from Lubbock or Waco or Galveston. It was like 'Hey, I'm from Texas. Where the hell are you from?!?"
A State's Image Severely Tarnished
Times have dramatically changed, according to many like Hartmann.
"Now, no one wants to be associated with the word 'Texas.'" said Hartmann. "We had a good thing goin' and Bush stunk it all up."
Computer programmer Mike Horvath, who grew up in Texas, agrees.
"It's like a scarlet letter. My best friend, Rodney, never tells people he's from Texas." said Horvath. "He'll say something like, 'Well, I was born in Little Rock and then my family moved to Highland Park.' I think he's hoping people will think it's the Highland Park outside of Chicago."
Apparently, that was just the start of Rodney's deception. The other day, Horvath caught Rodney wearing an "LSU Football" sweatshirt.
"I'm like 'Dude, they're not even in the Big Twelve ... and you went to TCU for godsakes!'" said Horvath. "It sucks, people think we all make chimpanzee faces and walk around saying stupid crap like 'I'm the decider!' all day."
Even Texas A&M, the highly-regarded university in College Station, TX, finds itself in a tough spot trying to recruit out-of-state students. Admissions counselor Megan McGrath said the university tried to go with a marketing campaign in which they dropped the "Texas" and just tried to push the "A&M" moniker, but she said that turned out to be just as problematic.
"People started wondering if we were from Florida A&M, and we were right back to being associated with those Bush idiots." said McIntosh.
Local Congressman Brings Hope
Now, the state is pinning its hopes and its reputation on their Republican presidential hopeful, ten-term congressman from the 14th District, Dr. Ron Paul.
"It's like he's everything George Bush isn't." said Houston-based entrepreneur Bill Dobson. "He's honest. He's intellegent. He actually served in the military and understands the consequences of our foreign policy. He's a hard-working American who studies the Constitution and hasn't been handed anything on a silver plate."
While a lot of Texans are becoming optimistic as Paul's polling numbers have more than tripled and the national media is starting to take notice of Paul's meteoric rise, many fear that the connection to their home state is eventually going to doom Paul's campaign.
"I'm afraid that they are just setting us up for the inevitable disappointment." said Betty Masterson, a native of Corpus Christi. "The local media is portraying him as the new messiah, but I know once those Madison Avenue types get a hold of him, they'll bury him, dragging our state's name through the mud in the process."
Many in Washington think Masterson could be right. Democrats know that the Texas association is going to be a tough sell for many voters who have suffered through eight years of the Bush Administration.
"Right now, he's still under the radar." said Democratic strategist Molly Bradford. "But when push comes to shove, if Paul is their man, we know we can throw that 'Texas' thing right down voters' throats like the Republicans did with 'Swiftboat' and 'Flip-Flop' four years ago."
As Horvath pointed out, there could be some consolation even if Paul doesn't prevail.
"At least if Rudy Giuliani or Hillary Clinton wins, in four years, New Yorkers will feel at least as stupid as we do."