Promised land: Buzz spent the past couple of days sorting through data comparing the Lone Star State's economy with other states', a task also being undertaken by about 900,000 media types — damn libtards, all — trying to find evidence that presidential candidate Rick Perry's bragging about our state's economic miracle is just that same West Texas bullshit that America is so used to.
There's tons of anti-miracle stuff out there, from any number of sources: Texas is dead last among states in percentage of population with health insurance; ranked eighth in percentage of population living below the poverty level; tied with Mississippi for the percentage of hourly workers earning the minimum wage or less; 27th in median household income (though we're near the top in state gross domestic product); 29th in average public teachers' salaries; near the bottom in high school completion rates; near the top in teen pregnancies; and worst in the nation in pollution.
Oh, and we're pretty fat, too.
As miracles go, the fact that Texas has been tops in job-creation during the recession — although we're still 26th in unemployment — seems more like one of those Jesus'-face-on-grilled-cheese kind of miracles than a real God-sent event, like, say, the parting of the Red Sea or the canceling of Kate Plus 8. It's the sort of miracle that makes a proud Texan want to drop to his knees and thank the Lord for creating Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia and for making us look good.
Not that any of this matters. The electoral process is so divorced from reality (see Bachmann, Michelle) that things like facts and quality of life just don't signify. What has Perry really accomplished in 10-plus years in office? Who cares? Great hair. Great smile. Looks so damn presidential. How much worse could it get? (See above.)
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Besides, people with no jobs aren't inclined to look down at a place that offers some jobs, even if the pay is lousy. If you're looking for work at Walmart, it might as well be in a state that's hiring and doesn't have an income tax. To many of those people whom Buzz left behind in the Rust Belt, Texas still shimmers — not exactly with hope, but a shot. This may not be the land of milk and honey, but at least you might be able to afford a six-pack and a burger. (Extra mayo and large fries, please.) In a time of relentless political division and reduced expectations, Perry may well be the perfect icon of the age.