This was Kate Alexander’s main takeaway from the Senate debate. I don’t think it was any surprise that the top-heavy favorite in the race was on the defensive. If anything, as I wrote in my report on the debate on Friday, I thought Cruz missed opportunities to attack Dewhurst. Cruz’s charge that Dewhurst’s support of the business margins tax amounted to backing an income tax would have been a lot more effective had the Texas Supreme Court not ruled that it wasn’t. The most telling exchange involving Cruz and Dewhurst was this one, reported by Alexander: Cruz, who has won endorsements from several tea party standard-bearers from Washington, said there is an ideological battle afoot and that Dewhurst is not on the side of tea party conservatives. “There is a civil war going on right now for the hearts and minds of Republicans in the Senate,” Cruz said. In my book, this is exactly the problem with the Republican party today. And it’s going to kill them. Too many Republicans put ideological purity ahead of addressing the country’s problems. Ted Cruz is a smart man and a good lawyer, but do Texans really want a senator whose foremost concern is fighting a civil war with other Republicans? Dewhurst is hardly the reincarnation of Daniel Webster, but at least he knows who the enemy is.
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