George W. Bush isn’t our first Texas president or even our most Texas president. But he is certainly the most self-Texafied character to put up his boots in the Oval Office—a Connecticut-born dude who learned to walk, talk, and act Texan and who even bought his Crawford spread as a set in preparation for the 2000 campaign.
You might say Bush is part of the ongoing Texafication of American history, as mapped out from the Alamo through the JFK assassination to Iraq by Texas journalist James McEnteer. “Anglo Texas racism against Mexicans, Indians, and Blacks defined and directed nineteenth-century Texas history,” McEnteer writes in Deep in the Heart. The Mexican War, precipitated by Texan border claims only months after joining the union, was “the first great American imperial adventure.” Texas fought on the losing side of the Civil War, but by the time Woodrow Wilson took the U.S. into World War I, the Lone Star State had begun to exert a “profound” influence over the nation, thanks to Wilson’s “Texas-centric” adviser Edward M. House. By the 1950s, Texas had the most powerful state delegation in Washington, with Sam Raeburn running the House and Lyndon Johnson the Senate. McEnteer particularly loathes the latter, whom he considers a bagman for Texas oil interests. Bush I looks good mainly by comparison to his Texas rival Ross Perot and, of course, Bush II. “God told me to strike at al-Qaida and I struck them, and then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East,” McEnteer quotes Dubya telling Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas. Some 143 years earlier, McEnteer notes, the U.S. disguised its territorial designs by claiming to have been ” ‘called by heaven’ to liberate the Mexicans.”