James Moore: Crazy Down in Texas (Senate Run-off)
Team Texas Crazy is about to pick up a few new players.
If polling trends are accurate, Tea Party crush Ted Cruz, who thinks there is a conspiracy to rid America of its golf courses, is about to toss over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a GOP U.S. Senate runoff election. Dewhurst, an out of touch multi-millionaire who thinks Phoenix is the number two kidnap capital of the world behind Mexico City, has spent almost $20 million of his personal fortune for what may be a huge embarrassment. The shame won’t be Dewhurst’s alone, however. Governor Rick Perry, who needs rich guy supporters in the U.S. Senate for his next presidential run, (yes, that will happen), has endorsed Dewhurst.
Cruz is a conspiracy theory character. He is convinced billionaire George Soros is funding a secret agenda to shutdown golf courses because they harm the environment and is conspiring with the United Nations to eliminate national sovereignty and private property. Cruz is convinced sharia law is an enormous problem in the U.S. and that extending unemployment benefits creates more unemployment and that churches ought to be able to keep their tax exemptions even as they endorse candidates from the pulpit.
Cruz came out of nowhere as a first-time candidate with little money and no name identification with voters. Texas establishment Republicans acquired him as their political problem as a consequence of their own behavior. They gerrymandered legislative districts so profoundly during redistricting that a court case challenging the new lines dragged out the primary election day from early March to late May, which gave Cruz time to polish his ranting points and fire up the Tea Party. If the election had been held as scheduled, Dewhurst, a former CIA agent, would have handily won. But he simply isn’t conservative enough or sufficiently crazy for the radicals taking control of the Texas GOP.
But how much crazy is required in a state that gave America Rick Perry?
Perry leads a Texas Republican Party that wants to abolish critical thinking and supports corporal punishment in public schools as well as cutting taxpayer funding of education to near elimination while ending the minimum wage. The party seems to have already begun to practice no critical thinking within its membership; the political nut tent that is the Texas GOP views homosexuality as a “practice,” (maybe like critical thinking?), and believes it tears down the fabric of society. Before the party platform was finally approved there had been discussions about making gay marriage a felony and prosecuting any state official that might conduct a ceremony between same sex couples. Texas is estimated to have 9,000 same sex couples raising children but, unfortunately for them, the majority party in the state does not view them as families nor does it believe they deserve protection under the law.
That’s just not crazy enough, though.
And the crazy crowd is increasing. St. Senator Jeff Wentworth, who is viewed as moderate in Texas even though he supports guns on college campuses, is also expected to lose his runoff to the Tea Party darling Donna Campbell. A physician, Dr. Campbell vehemently opposes abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. Wentworth, who has been in the state senate for two decades, made the dangerous political choice to work with his colleagues on the other side of the aisle on matters of choice and the environment. When he loses, the thinking public could reasonably make an argument to padlock the Texas Senate Chamber to keep its officeholders away from meeting and unleashing the legislative loony.
Cruz and Dewhurst spent the last days of the campaign to take their intellectual imbalances to Washington by running to be photographed buying sandwiches from the anti-gay fast food franchise Chick-fil-A, which knows a great deal more about how to make a sandwich than issues confronting people with same-sex orientation. Regardless, frying chicken expertise in Texas translates to knowledge about biology and the history of human institutions like marriage. These are undoubtedly constant topics of conversation over the fryer.
Winning will elevate Cruz to a national figure that will motivate Tea Party radicals from the rocky coast of Maine to the sunny shores of California and America will see that down in Texas we know how to deliver the crazy. (Of course, it could have a residual positive impact by reducing the migration of newcomers from both the north and south of our borders.) Unfortunately for Perry, Cruz’s victory will be a repudiation of the governor’s endorsement of his colleague and Perry will have something else to fret about other than his 29 percent approval rating in the polls. And Texans get the solace of knowing that they live in a state where policy and politics are driven by fast food chicken franchises.
Hey America, y’all want some chicken?