In 2012, as the conservative sagas tells it, Ted Cruz was lifted from obscurity to win a Tea Party-powered primary for a Senate seat. “When we started this election,” Cruz would tell audiences, “I was at 2 percent in the polls. The margin of error was 3 percent.” This is basically true: Cruz ran for the Senate seat for nearly three years, on and off, starting when it looked like Kay Bailey Hutchison would leave to run for governor, finishing when he destroyed Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a much-delayed runoff. Dewhurst was the last “establishment” figure felled by the Tea Party, so.
I think that’s all led to the surprise at this report from Chris Hooks, at a Tarrant County Tea Party event.
Dewhurst has been working hard to ingratiate himself with his party’s right wing. He’s reached out to, and won praise from, tea party leaders around the state. And given the chance to appeal to the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party, Dewhurst opened with the big guns.
“This election is about protecting you and your freedoms, which are given to you by God, but which are being trampled on by Barack Obama right now. I don’t know about you, but Barack Obama ought to be impeached,” he declared to hearty applause. “Not only for trampling on our liberties, but what he did in Benghazi is just a crime.”
What’s happened to Dewhurst? The irony is that he was never really all that liberal, or moderate. Earlier this year, it was Dewhurst who tried (and eventually succeeded) in shutting down Wendy Davis’ filibuster of an abortion bill. He was just an older, grayer, less firey conservative, and the movement thought (probably correctly) that it was wiser to give a Senate seat to a young half-Hispanic orator. More importantly: Dewhurst is being primaried again by conservatives who see weakness in him. There’s really no visible end for the great GOP purge of 2009-to-question mark.