Nicholas Wapshott’s analysis of the Texas Republican Senate primary makes no sense:
The shock defeat in Texas of Rick Perry sidekick David Dewhurst at the hands of Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz was chilling for the Republican establishment.
Cruz’s victory over Dewhurst wasn’t particularly shocking. Once he made it into the run-off, there was a good chance that he was going to win. Several polls had showed him leading the race. As others have pointed out before now, there are few primaries where the Tea Party/establishment distinction has meant less than it did in Texas. Yes, Cruz received endorsements from the Pauls, and Dewhurst was a Rick Perry ally, but one would struggle to find significant policy differences between the two. If Ted Cruz had been a Texan Rand Paul, we can be sure that we would have heard all about it from the same people who tried to defeat Paul in his primary race. Instead, he has received the Marco Rubio treatment. On the national level, the so-called Republican establishment was content with a Cruz victory. As Jordan Bloom said a few days ago, “With Cruz’s victory, everyone but the Texas Republican Party got what they wanted.”
This article from The Texas Tribune explains the real difference between Cruz and Dewhurst:
The draw at the moment — when you pair him with Dewhurst — is one of style and of political culture: Angry and frustrated with politicians and officeholders? Here’s the chance to dump one. Send a rebel to Washington instead of someone tainted by 14 years of experience and compromise.
The state party generally lined up with Dewhurst, because they had no reason not to:
The insiders like him because he’s an insider and there’s no pressing ideological reason for the conservatives to ditch him, either.
As the article goes on to explain, Dewhurst’s election to the Senate would clear the way for others to seek his current position, and opposing him in the primary represented an unnecessary political risk if Dewhurst had managed to defeat Cruz.
Wapshott’s conceit that Cruz’s victory tells us something important about the GOP’s internal tensions heading into the national convention isn’t very persuasive. Romney doesn’t need to placate Palin, who is less influential and relevant than ever, and there is nothing that he can do that would persuade most of Ron Paul’s supporters to rally behind him. The convention in Tampa isn’t going to be anything like Chicago 1968. It will be much, much more boring.