2008 Archives

Texans weaker, but not powerless as D.C. changes hands


The following is from the Nov. 16, 2008, edition of The Houston Chronicle. Political Science Professor Cal Jillson of SMU's Dedman College provided expertise for this story.

November 16, 2008

The Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Texans have long assumed that the state would be a powerful force in the nation's capital — and for good reason.

Ever since Texas powerbroker Col. Edward M. House went to Washington with President Woodrow Wilson in 1913, the Lone Star State has boasted House and Senate leaders, Cabinet officials and White House confidants, Supreme Court justices, three vice presidents and three presidents.

But as Texan George W. Bush prepares to leave office and pass the reins of power to Illinois' favorite son Barack Obama — and with Texas the reddest large state in an increasingly blue country — the state is experiencing an unprecedented power outage in the capital's corridors of power.

Now, with a relatively junior congressional delegation, two senators from the minority party and a White House brain trust likely to be devoid of Texans, the state of the Bushes and LBJ, Rayburn and Cactus Jack, Tom Clark and Tom DeLay faces a political future with "as little clout as in a century," said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University.

"The days when Texans ran the Congress are over," Jillson said. "And we're not going to have the presidency any time in the near future."

Read the full story.

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