There is no movement the liberal media has been more eager to see disappear than the Tea Party. Back in February, before the Tea Party took out Sen. Dick Lugar in Indiana and Attorney General Jon Bruning in Nebraska, Newsweek published a story proclaiming, “The Tea Party is Dead.” Texas voters will have the honor of proving Newsweek wrong, again, today.
Two months ago, the establishment favorite, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, beat former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz 45 percent to 34 percent in the Texas Republican primary for U.S. Senate. But since Dewhurst did not reach the 50 percent required to avoid a runoff under Texas law, Texas Republicans will go to the polls today to pick a final winner. And all indications are that Republicans are going to the polls in record numbers. ABC News reports that in Harris County, 70,000 Republicans voted early or by mail in the runoff, meaning nearly 9 of every 10 primary voters showed up for the run-off.
The high voter enthusiasm is a great sign for Cruz and troubling news for Dewhurst. As The Washington Examiner‘s Tim Carney reported earlier this month, the election between Cruz and Dewhurst is really a battle for the soul of the Republican Party between K Street and Main Street:
Dewhurst has hauled in more than half a million dollars from business PACs, which is 33 times Cruz’s take from business PACs. K Street lobbying firms are siding with Dewhurst, too. The PACs of Greenberg Traurig, K&L Gates, McGuire Woods and other lobbying firms have donated to Dewhurst.
Late last year, Dewhurst held a reception at the townhouse of powerful lobbying firm Podesta Group. Last week, GOP lobbyist Rick Murphy threw a Capitol Hill fundraiser for Dewhurst. A Dallas Morning News reporter wrote of last week’s event: “Dozens of donors — many wearing nametags indicating they work for lobbying firms and government contractors, as is typical at high-dollar campaign events in Washington — filed out of the townhouse near the Capitol as Dewhurst schmoozed inside.”
Sarah Palin has been campaigning in Texas for Cruz this past week alongside Tea Party stalwarts Sens. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Mike Lee, R-Utah. If elected, Cruz would join a growing conservative caucus in the Senate that includes not only DeMint, Paul, and Lee, but also other strong conservatives like Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Penn., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis.
Following the big government excess of the Bush years, the Republican party was in desperate need of change. The Tea Party has helped deliver it, and a victory in Bush’s home state would go a long way to making that change permanent.
Romney: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called Romney racist for his assertion that the Israel is rich, and the Palestinian Authority is poor, because the two lands have different cultures. Back in the U.S. the Romney campaign released a new ad featuring past Olympians discussing Romney’s leadership, including gold medalist figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi
Early Voting: National Journal reports that a record 40 percent of 2012 voters could cast their ballots before Election Day, up from 33 percent in 2008. Both campaigns eyeing a jubilant November are taking note.
Polls: A new Pulse Opinion Research poll shows Romney holds thin advantages over Obama on leadership, personal values and honesty.
In Other News
The Wall Street Journal, Heat Rises on Central Banks: Markets have risen on hopes that two of the world’s most influential central banks, the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, will make additional moves to spur growth if their economies don’t perk up—if not this week, then in the weeks ahead.
The New York Times, Insurance Rebates Seen as Selling Point for Health Law: Health insurers will pay out $1.1 billion this year to businesses and individuals by order of the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS mandates the payments under the authority of Obamacare which grants them the power to determine how much profit is legal.
The Washington Post, Syrian rebels seize rural territory while Assad forces focus on major cities: War came late to this little farming town set amid rolling hills in the Syrian countryside east of Aleppo, where the absence of upheaval was long construed as an implicit signal of support for the government led by President Bashar al-Assad.
Cato‘s Michael Cannon argues that the best way to help the poor isn’t expanding Medicaid, it is getting government out of the way.
The Mercatus Center‘s Emily Washington notes that weak state finances threaten the whole country.
At The Corner, Charles C. W. Cooke explains the difference between culture and race to Mahmoud Abbas.
The New Republic‘s Jonathan Cohn attacks Romney for praising Israel’s socialized health care system.
The Huffington Post‘s Sam Stein reports that Romney’s new “you didn’t build that” ad features an Ohio businessman who often has the federal government as a client.
Talking Points Memo celebrates the placement of same-sex marriage in the Democratic Party platform.