Texas political winners and losers of 2013

The Texas political landscape has been transformed in 2013.

No, the state hasn’t gone from red to blue. But it’s gone from old to new.

Here are some of the politicians who have benefited — or suffered — from the transition:

Winners

Ted Cruz (Texas Tribune photo)

Ted Cruz (Texas Tribune photo)

Ted Cruz
Began the year as a U.S. Senate newcomer. Ended the year as the leader of the national Tea Party movement.

John Cornyn
Began the year as an establishment Republican nervous about a 2014 Tea Party primary challenge. Ended the year with most leading conservative groups either on his side or on the sidelines.

Wendy Davis
Began the year as a junior member of a minority party in the Texas Senate. Ended the year as a national figure and a ballyhooed Democratic candidate for governor.

Greg Abbott
Began the year waiting for Rick Perry to decide what to do. Ended the year as a virtually unopposed Republican candidate for governor.

Joaquin Castro
Began the year as a House newcomer in the minority party. Ended the year as one of his party’s rising stars on Capitol Hill and a guest on Meet the Press. Oh, he got married, too.

Losers

Rick Perry
Began the year as a presidential longshot. Ended the year as a president longshot — and a lame duck governor.

David Dewhurst
Began the year as the most powerful person in the Texas Senate. Ended the year fighting for his political life in a re-election battle against stalwart conservatives.

Rick Perry’s UT Regents
Began the year trying to topple the university’s president and football coach. Ended the year an educational embarrassment and a political liability for the Texas Republican Party.

Louie Gohmert
Began the year as an off-the-wall right-wing congressman who talked about terror babies and presidential birth certificates. Ended the year looking downright boring compared to Steve Stockman.

Domingo Garcia
Began the year itching to end Fort Worth congressman Marc Veasey’s tenure after a single term. Ended the year on the sidelines as Veasey appears to be cruising to re-election.


The big announcement: How the Twittersphere reacted to my new job in China

tsinghua

Tsinghua, here I come! (University web site)

People who know me well know that I don’t possess one of the larger egos in American journalism. So I’m a tad apologetic for the blatant boosterism that follows. But I wanted to do it to thank all of my friends and the public officials who took to social media to respond to this announcement.

The overwhelming — and rapid — response reminded me of the power of social media. Twitter and Facebook have transformed our means of communication in just a few years. (Six years ago, when I left Business Week for the Houston Chronicle, I had to send emails to all of my friends just to let them know what had happened.)

Just like we do on Texas on the Potomac, I’ll start with Capitol Hill reaction:

Even former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who’s had to deal with my questions since my days as a young pup at the Dallas Times Herald, weighed in:

In the polarized American political world, there was bipartisan agreement — for once.

Reaction poured in from around the world, Helsinki to Beirut to Shanghai:

In Austin and Manhattan journalism circles, disbelief:

It was nice to hear from my colleagues:

Yes, Melissa. Definitely.

I’m especially grateful for the kind words from my former interns who have made me proud over the past six years.

And I’ll leave you with the words of that ancient Chinese philosopher Wayne Slater: