John Fund has an excellent analysis today on the recent Republican primary in the Lone Star State, and what it portends for the fortunes of the GOP and the Tea Party Movement - and the misfortunes of Team Hopenchange. More here.
Kay Bailey Hutchinson, a Bush "compassionate conservative" party regular who voted for TARP, got her clock cleaned. And while Perry won, it was just barely. Perry supported the Tea Party Movement early on, but a Tea Party inspired candidate, Debra Medina, split the frustrated voter vote. (Medina imploded after she would not disavow the loony conspiracy theories of the 911 Truthers and the Birthers. Had she done that, Perry would likely be in a runoff.)
The winners and losers here? The first and foremost loser: Team Hopenchenge. No, they weren't running, but they have sown the electoral wind; they are about to reap the coming whirlwind. The other loser: The current GOP establishment. Even their own don't see them as the coming whirlwind. They had their chance to tame Washington, but Washington ended up taming them.
The other big loser: Conspiracy theories. Birtherism, 911 Truth, New World Order, etc., are extremely toxic in mainstream politics. As Medina found out, just the hint a candidate might agree with them is enough. There is no middle ground here - you can not please both the vocal absolutist fringe and the frustrated mainstream voter. They can not be coordinated, no matter who won the straw poll at CPAC.
Which brings us to the winners. Running against Washington eekes out first: Perry sank Hutchinson by painting her as "Kay Bailout". The anti-Washington animus - which is always strong here in fly-over country - is monumental after TARP, the failed "stimulus", cap-n-trade, the health care takeover, and general Team Hopenchange arrogance. But the other winner, and likely the most game-changing, is the movement that has arisen to specifically oppose Washington's excesses - the Tea Party Movement. The Left / Mainstream Media are trying to play up Medina's loss as an indication of the lack of depth in the Tea Party Movement, but they miss the point - Perry and Medina together got of 7 out of 10 primary votes - they both embraced the Tea Party and their message of limited government and fiscal sanity.
The whirlwind is out there. Those who ignore it do so at their political peril.