FORT WORTH, Texas — Welcome to Texas, where the smiles are as broad as the accents, and where oil wells dot the skyline, their dinosaur heads bobbing delicately as they take sips of the state’s liquid gold.
The rest of the country might be in recession, but business is booming in Texas. In this bustling new suburb of Fort Worth, there are shopping centers at nearly every intersection and houses under construction. There is frenetic activity everywhere. Texas is the exception to America’s grim economic reality, and proud residents are not above patting themselves on the back for it.
Rick Perry is still the enormously popular governor; Texans were torn about his run for the White House.
“We were sort of disappointed that he did not become president,” said a young man working outside a local polling station on primary day. “But we sure are glad that he stayed with us down here in Texas.”
Perry dropped out of the race in January, just ahead of the South Carolina primary, throwing his support to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
Despite early promise, Perry’s poor performance in the Republican presidential debates, combined with numerous gaffes and missteps, doomed his bid for the big time. His “brain freeze” moment, in which he could not recite the three departments of government he wanted to abolish, went viral throughout cyberspace, and sank his candidacy almost before it began.
He’s a big man in Texas, though.
“We were hoping he would get farther than he did,” said Amber, a perky young woman who works as a receptionist at a local gym. “But we really liked Newt Gingrich the best.”
Mitt Romney won a convincing victory in Tuesday’s primary in Texas, finally gaining enough delegates to drop the “presumptive” from his status as Republican nominee for president.
But in Texas, he’s more tolerated than revered.