| It's over. Ted Cruz defeated David Dewhurst tonight.
Let's pretend for a moment that both of these candidates are running to represent Texans, not the corporations that paid for their campaigns and that will make them rich after leaving office. Let's pretend David Dewhurst is actually sad because he believed Texas needed his views in Congress.
Well, Dew, you've got nothing at all to worry about. Ted Cruz winning is like having your ideological identical twin brother run against you for the Republican senate nomination. You guys have the same views. Cruz won because he was able to capture conservative grassroots titillation because he's "Tea Party"...and you've already served several terms in elected office. That makes you the "establishment" and him the "real conservative" prepared to "shake things up"...by doing exactly what you would do. So rest assured, your crazy ideas will be executed - but it'll be Cruz lapping up the special interest money for years to come.
Well, there is one difference, Dew. Cruz is going to be a rockstar senator. People are going to talk about him as a future presidential candidate, they're going to compare him to Marco Rubio, and he's going to be on television constantly. In spite of the fact that Cruz is not charming, he is a good speaker and clearly can fire up already-angry conservatives.
But his hot streak won't last forever. The problem with Tea Party candidates is that they run on extreme platforms they can't possibly live up to once in office. Their extremes are in constant conflict; if they vote yes to a defense bill, they may also be voting for an earmark in another state. Next election, the new "Tea Party" candidate can accuse him or her of "selling out" to the "GOP establishment" and screech about the need for a "real conservative." That's the problem with being really conservative...it's an ideology, not a governing mechanism.
And Cruz is going to fall into that bind real quick. The only positions he lists on his website are
Pass a Balanced Budget Amendment
Reduce the Size and Spending of Government
Defend the Constitution
Jobs and Growth Plan
At some point, one of the bills he votes for will increase the size of government in some way conservatives don't like. Boom: Tea Party challenge. There is no nuance left in the Republican Party. Most of Cruz's supporters truly believe he's the genuine conservative in the race against a fake conservative. Just like many of them will believe he sold out in some way.
So, enjoy it while it lasts, Cruz. Tonight is the purest you'll seem for the rest of your career. If only you were in a party that cared more about what you can do for your country.