Good morning, Texans. It’s great to see you all on BurkaBlog, and I’m tickled that I can start my time here by referring you to my profile of Ted Cruz–the cover story for our February issue. I began reporting this story in July. The idea was to publish a piece on Texas’s junior senator as he finished his first year in Congress–to assess whether Cruz, whose 2012 upset in the Republican primary had astonished the state’s political establishment, had managed to rattle any nerves in Washington. I guess we all know how that turned out.

Reporting the story was a lot of fun, although a more sprawling project than I anticipated; fortunately the senator was generous with his time. I’m happy with the result because I think the story gives a more nuanced account of Cruz than many media reports have offered to date, but you all can be the judge of that. In the meantime, a few quick thoughts:

–Cruz’s discussion of his work as solicitor-general sheds some useful light on Cruz, but also on his former boss, attorney general Greg Abbott. I was struck by how thoughtful those two were about their approach to their work, and by the fact that Texas has had such a skillful and assertive attorney general since Abbott was elected in 2002. Now that Abbott is running for governor, that is bound to change; our next attorney-general is unlikely to be so effective.

 –Speaking of which, it’s notable that Abbott–who is clearly close with his former solicitor general, on a personal and professional level–is the only Republican running as himself, rather than as Ted Cruz 2.0. What does that tell you?

–I have heard from several print subscribers who are so appalled by the cover image itself that they’ve been inclined to burn their mailboxes down. If you are in that camp, here’s what I’d say: it’s a free country, so suit yourself, but if the issue has already darkened your door, why not give it a look? Start with the last page, where most of the plot twists are.