Not everyone can be Molly Ivins or Bill Safire. But then, not everyone can be a Peggy Fikacs or Dave McNeely either, and they are doing valuable work in our time. When it comes to politics and policy, newspapers tend to have an experienced and intelligent analyst in their midst. And if they don’t they better get one or groom one. Newspapers are still the primary generators of original news. But people need context and perspective, not just news. And not just opinions.

Here are some free samples from the newspaper columnists of Texas:

Peggy Fikac:

Call it Gov. Gandalf vs. Gov. Goodhair—but above all, call it Rick Perry’s signature style of in-your-face politics. Gov. Perry got a publicity windfall with a relatively tiny $24,000 investment in radio ads around California, slamming the Golden State’s business climate in the wake of a recent tax increase and urging companies to come to the Lone Star State.

Paul Burka:

Rick Perry has now maneuvered himself into a position where CEOs from every major employer in the state, and their lobbyists, will be on his doorstep. The state’s hospitals, nursing homes, and health care providers are next in line. This is just another case of how Perry’s ideological blinders have damaged this state for the past thirteen years.

Dave McNeely:

Well, that didn’t take long. Or, as NBC broadcaster Andrea Mitchell put it recently, “Ted Cruz has made his mark already.” If The Cruz were a missile, there might be a plaintive call to mission control: “Houston, we have a problem.” In just six weeks, Texas’ new U.S. senator has irked just about everyone he’s encountered in Washington. Those spared simply have yet to be in the Cruz Missile’s path.

Ken Herman:

There’s nothing Texas Republicans enjoy doing more than reminding Texas Democrats that the state GOP has put more blacks and Hispanics into statewide office than the Democrats have. This chaps Democrats just like the fact that it was a Republican president (the first one) who abolished slavery and it was many Democrats (southern ones) who fought civil rights legislation.

Corrections: This initial version of this story misspelled Peggy Fikac’s name in several places. The story also misstated the day that a Ken Herman column on gun issues appeared. CJR regrets the errors.

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Richard Parker is CJR's Texas correspondent. A regular contributor to the Op-Ed section of The New York Times, his columns on national and international affairs are syndicated by McClatchy-Tribune. He has also twice been appointed the visiting professional in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow him on Twitter @Richard85Parker.