Tea Party's Cruz Vanquishes GOP Pick for U.S. Senate in Texas Run-off
The Tea Party has a message for the Republican Party: Lay on the floor, don't move, and nobody gets hurt. And today in Texas, with the resounding victory of a previously unknown lawyer named Ted Cruz against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, that message is being heard.
Politico's Alex Isenstadt put it this way:
And the tea party bash rages on.
The storm-the-gates conservative movement that keeps finding ways to stick it to the establishment did it again Tuesday night in Texas, this time propelling the insurgent campaign of an Ivy League-educated son of a Cuban immigrant, Ted Cruz, to perhaps its most impressive victory yet.
During the presidential primary, on the national political stage, Texas Gov. Rick Perry often looked like a Tea Party dupe. But in his home state he's not quite Tea Party enough; his anointment of Dewhurst as the next U.S. senator from the Lone Star State didn't stick, once FreedomWorks came to town.
You remember FreedomWorks, right? The neo-libertarian outfit led by Dick Armey that spent the summer of 2009 encouraging Tea Partiers to go thuggy at town-hall meetings led by Democratic members of Congress? The organization that showed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who's boss when it supplanted McConnell's prodigy, Trey Grayson, with Rand Paul for the G.O.P. slot on the 2010 U.S. senate ballot is the majority leader's own state of Kentucy?
Yeah, that FreedomWorks.
Texas is a big, important state in Right-Wing-World, and it's the land from whence Armey hails. No way was Perry going to be allowed to make some namby-pamby G.O.P. establishment pick for U.S. Senate, for God's sake -- not when Armey has laid claim to the U.S. Senate as his own little electoral playground, where he's hard at work, as FreedomWorks spokesperson Adam Brandon once told me, building "a power center around Jim DeMint," the senator from South Carolina. Since the Rand Paul coup in Kentucky, the DeMint cabal has essentially set the Republican agenda -- and, through strong-arm use of the arcane rules of the deliberative body, that of the entire Senate.
Just imagine what DeMint will do with even more like him in the Senate.
As Cruz showed strength going into the run-off, big-name Tea Party and religious-right favorites, including Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum, signed on to his campaign with endorsements.
They know who, when it comes to choosing G.O.P. candidates for the Senate, is the boss. His name is Dick Armey.