Once again, the GOP establishment has been shocked by the resilience of the Tea Party movement. Ted Cruz's Senate nomination in Texas shows that ideas trump fundraising this fateful election year.
The Tea Party is deservedly celebrating a stirring win by former Texas solicitor general Cruz in a runoff that determined which Republican vies for the seat of retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in November. Massively outspent by establishment-backed opponent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Cruz finished with nearly 57% of the vote.
But another factor is at play, which also explains Richard Mourdock's recent primary defeat of Senator-for-life Richard Lugar in Indiana and little-known state Sen. Deb Fischer's unforeseen primary triumph in May over Nebraska's attorney general and treasurer.
Many voters have concluded that the old-guard Republicans in power in Congress for so many years before the 2006 election are nearly as big a problem as Barack Obama and the Democrats.
With the national debt pushing $16 trillion, they want leaders who are serious about addressing this dangerous excess. Cruz, 41 and fiercely energetic, offered just that kind of substantive reform.
His platform, in fact, is a conservative's dream list. It includes ending the moratorium on offshore drilling, opening up vast new reserves of oil and gas, repealing Dodd-Frank's new regulatory regime, defanging Sarbanes-Oxley's onerous regulations on business, cutting corporate tax rates to 15%, enacting a flat tax or something close to it, "fundamental entitlement reform," restoring the currency by restraining the Federal Reserve and passing a balanced budget amendment.
This is Cruz's maiden campaign for elective office. But he proved himself a populist fighter in his legal career — having won on behalf of 31 states a 2008 decision affirming the Second Amendment and securing that same year a ruling that prevented international courts from dictating domestic law.
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