Does the Tea Party smell blood in the water yet again here in Texas? Possibly.
A recent poll by PPP found that 49% of Texas GOP voters want someone “more conservative” than John Cornyn representing their party in the 2014 US Senate race.
That's right — Texas Republicans are willing to run off the second-highest Republican in the US Senate, the Senate Minority Whip, a former chair of the NRSC, because he's not as crazy as Ted Cruz.
PPP writes, “John Cornyn is in grave danger of losing a primary next year if a serious campaign is run against him. Cornyn's approval with Republican primary voters is only 46%, with 33% of voters disapproving of him.”
Some of the names floated to challenge Cornyn so far have included right-wing hate merchant David Barton, who declined this week, and Louie Gohmert, who has earned support from many influential right-wing activists and bloggers who want him to jump in against Cornyn.
Below the jump, read more about these would-be opponents, find out more scary results in the poll, and see how conservative John Cornyn is compared to the rest of the US Senate. The notion of someone “more conservative” than Cornyn should be alarming to most sane Americans.
Cornyn was ranked the 2nd-most conservative US Senator in 2012. In 2008, National Journal ranked him the 17th-most conservative. The American Conservative Union gave him a score of over 80%. And as ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee he's gone out of his way to make thinly disguised racist attacks against AG Eric Holder.
Of course, this was all in the BCE: the “Before Cruz” Era.
Now, when Texas GOP primary voters call for someone “more conservative” than John Cornyn, evidently what they mean is someone so opposed to civilization and its discontents that he or she will vote against it at each and every opportunity.
And it shows in the poll: 62% of GOP primary voters have a higher opinion of Ted “Let the Government Default So My Constituents Don't Get Health Insurance!” Cruz than John Cornyn.
So who might take a run at Cornyn? Last week, evangelical snake-oil salesman and noted opponent of religious freedom David Barton was rumored to be a potential candidate. However, Barton declined, apparently realizing that he couldn't hasten the rapture by somehow landing in the US Senate.
Meanwhile, several high-profile Texas GOP activists and bloggers continue to call on Louie “52 cards short of a full deck” Gohmert to get in the race. In so doing they raise the question of what they think of the rest of the US Senate – do these people think Gohmert's intellectually capable of serving, or do they just want to punish the rest of the body?
PPP tested both names, and both fall far short in an initial trial heat against Cornyn. However, Gohmert actually leads Cornyn 38%-35% among voters who describe themselves as “Very Conservative.” Glenn Beck may get his wish that Gohmert challenge Cornyn, and might not even have to camp out on his fellow loon's front lawn to make it happen, as he has threatened.
Alarmingly, 62% of GOP primary voters have no opinion of Louie Gohmert, which just seems unfair to those of us on the left side of the aisle who have to read about his inane ramblings. (That's him at right, making the face most commonly found in a Google Image search of his name.) But it also means that GOP primary voters might well like what they find, should they have a chance to get to know Gohmert.
The specter of Texas electing someone more conservative than Cornyn — a Cruz 2.0 if you will — should instill fear in the hearts of sane Texans who don't think we should let the government default so that a few million Texans continue to suffer from lack of access to healthcare.
And it's also yet another sign that the Republican establishment has a growing problem on its hands with a base that refuses to consider anything other than ideological extremism. It's no wonder some Republican leaders want to reform their primary process.