Republican Showdown in Texas

In a state as red as Texas, general elections are mostly formalities; GOP primaries are the main events. That’s one explanation for the national focus on Tuesday’s U.S. Senate primary, where Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst faces a field led by former Solicitor General Ted Cruz in a quest to replace retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. As the name indicates, Cruz is far from a traditional Republican candidate—which is the main reason the right has been buzzing about this race for months. He’s not only the son of a Cuban-American father, he’s also a darling of the Tea Party, with Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum’s stamps of approval. Cruz has trailed consistently in the polls, but appears likely to keep Dewhurst—a more traditional conservative—under 50 percent, which would trigger a runoff. The lieutenant governor, who’s extravagantly rich and has out-raised Cruz considerably, will be the favorite head-to-head. But for at least a few more weeks, the overwhelmingly white Texas Republicans will have a visible and viable Latino candidate in the limelight.

Like Marco Rubio in Florida, Cruz is viewed as Republicans’ great nonwhite hope in a huge and diverse state that Republicans can’t afford to cede as it becomes more Latinized. But will the strategy behind electing folks like Cruz—elevating right-wing Latino Republicans to office in a symbolic show of acceptance—really be enough to woo Latinos to a party that is dominated by Anglos hostile to immigration and social services? Not likely, at least in any sizable numbers. And not when the Latino Republican in question is a stolid right-winger who’s spending the last days of this primary campaign hotly denying that he favors “amnesty” for illegal immigrants.

So They Say

"Well Ken, maybe you can teach the vets to milk cows."

Mitt Romney during his 1994 Senate campaign, responding to a homeless veterans' shelter director who said the state wasn’t providing enough money for the veterans' milk 


Daily Meme: Heroes and Liberals

  • On his Saturday-morning MSNBC show, Chris Hayes led a Memorial Day discussion by questioning the automatic use of the word “heroes” to describe the war dead. He added: “I don't want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that's fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I'm wrong about that.”
  • You can guess what happened next. So could Glenn Greenwald, who tweeted: “Questioning—rather than bolstering—orthodoxies is inherently controversial.”
  • “Chris Hayes’ recent remarks on MSNBC regarding our fallen service members are reprehensible and disgusting,” Richard DeNoyer, National Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars, told FOX News.
  • “Bob Wray, Realtor,” replied directly to @chrislhayes: “So, you're uncomfortable calling fallen soldiers Heros? Well, I'm uncomfortable calling you an American.”
  • Even over a holiday weekend, conservatives made time to turn Hayes a liberal whipping-boy. Here’s Kurt Schlicter of Breitbart: “So, like so many other useless progressive fops who glide from cocktail party to panel discussion, Chris Hayes continues to push his progressive vision of collectivist serfdom from behind the unbreachable wall of American warriors. He has not stood with them and, in fact, is unworthy of doing so. He is a parasite taking sustenance from the exertions of better men and women.”
  • Warner Todd Huston of Wizbang chipped in: “Hayes is just being a true liberal. They hate our troops and when they find one that is an upstanding hero they consider that person to be the one that is out of the ordinary.” 
  • And dear Ann Coulter charmingly tweeted: “Chris Hayes ‘Uncomfortable’ Calling Fallen Military ‘Heroes’—Marines respond by protecting his right to menstruate.”
  • The Daily Caller ran one relatively nuanced response
  • But for most right-wingers, Hayes had already become, as Newsbusters wrote, “a parody of the conflicted intellectual.” Wonder how that happened?

What We're Writing

  • Jamelle Bouie: Beneath the swirl of controversies, the fundamentals of the presidential race haven’t changed.
  • Abby Rapoport: Why are less-populated state capitals more prone to corruption?

What We're Reading

  • Are “transcripters” the new birthers?
  • Should Obama dial back the Bain attacks? E.J. Dionne says no: “Far better for him to be a fully engaged fighter with passion for what he's saying than a distant, regal figure pretending that the other side is playing by a dainty set of rules.”
  • Niall Ferguson thinks Obama’s “Fair Shot” theme won’t work.
  • Mark McKinnon gives the Romney Top 10 VP list—headed by “safe” Senator Rob Portman. 
  •  And hey, whatever happened to Glenn Beck? Post-Fox, he's building his own 24/7 media empire.


Poll of the Day

On Memorial Day, Gallup released a poll showing that veterans overwhelmingly support Romney over Obama, 58-34 percent. In 2008, McCain carried veterans' votes by a much smaller margin, 54-44 percent.

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