Thursday, May 10, 2012

Can Ted Cruz Pull a ‘Mourdock’? (Update)

Part of the big news about the latest series of primaries is the upset win of Indiana’s Tea Party conservative Richard Mourdock against the professional incumbent Dick Lugar for the Republican slot in the US Senate race.  Some media pundits ‘analysed’ this along the lines of the Tea Party “coming back”, whereas many within the conservative movement hold that it never went away in the first place.  (I respected Lugar in years past but he has become too comfortable in his post, unaware of the recent political shifts, and foolish to run for re-election at the age of 80.)

William Kristol writes in the Weekly Standard and ponders about the chances of Ted Cruz to do the same in “Is Texas Next?”  (Kristol also includes a delicious quip from the always entertaining Iowahawk, a take-off on the Obama line about “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”)
Ted Cruz, an impressive young conservative lawyer – recently solicitor general of Texas, before that a Supreme Court law clerk – trails the incumbent lieutenant governor, David Dewhurst, by about ten points in the latest polls in the race for the GOP nomination for Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s seat.  Cruz has (amazingly) raised almost as much money as Dewhurst (who is wealthy and can self-fund, however).
I have written before about the impressive Ted Cruz, including George Will’s definitive endorsement, and how he would be a perfect bookend to Florida’s Marco Rubio.

The Tea Party would do well to put their big guns behind the Cruz campaign (assuming that haven’t already come to that conclusion).  This is the same battle as in Indiana, about a refreshed conservative movement invigorating a business-as-usual Republican Congress that has become far too accommodationist to the Democrats.  We can no longer wince from the idea of a national political gridlock unless the Democrats get their way.  They have played that game far too long and are good and seasoned at it, protected by a main stream media that agrees with them that the term ‘bipartisan’ means ‘the Republicans should do precisely what we tell them.’

The elections in France have brought to power a dedicated Socialist in the form of François Hollande (no, really: he is the leader of the Parti Socialiste), which provides a boost to Democrat morale despite  the dire economic future for France and Europe as a whole.  If this election year here sees the Democrats inspired to fight on, then we would do well to remember the words of Captain Parker at the Battle of Lexington: “Stand your ground.  Don’t fire unless fired upon.  But if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”

Update:  World Magazine has an extensive write-up of Ted Cruz within its story of how the Republicans can court the culturally conservative Hispanic vote.  "When was the last time you saw a Hispanic panhandler?"

Update:  Josh Kraushaar of National Journal is of a like mind:
The next big contest is shaping up in Texas, where conservatives have rallied around former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz against establishment-favored Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.  Dewhurst, by virtue of a deep war chest and connections to Texas politicos, is expected to comfortably finish in first place in the May 29 primary.  Cruz, for his part, hasn't yet translated the outside conservative excitement in his polling, still lagging a distant second.
But Cruz-backers are anticipating Dewhurst will draw less than 50 percent of the vote, a scenario that would prompt a July 31 runoff.  Under that scenario, Cruz (if he finishes second) would be able to make the race into a one-on-one fight between the establishment and the grassroots.  Don't underestimate how quickly outside money could come in if Cruz looks to be within striking distance – just as Richard Mourdock's fundraising spiked after polls showed him competitive with Lugar.

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