Friday’s Republican primary runoff debate for the US Senate between Ted Cruz and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst could have been renamed “The battle to be Tea Party favorite”.
Cruz and Dewhurst parroted each other down to the black suits and blue ties. They spouted near-exact beliefs about policies. U.S. military? Keep spending but fight less. Immigration policy? Mexicans are alien intruders from another planet. Social security and retirement? Work until you’re dead. Unemployment? Obama is waging a war on jobs.
Most of their sentences fit into neat little sound bites that mean nothing in particular, and we won’t be repeating them here. It’s as though they hired the same speech coach. Both repeated the term “Obamacare” and “career politicians” so many times it was as if whoever said it the most would win an ice cream sundae.
The only rational explanation for this farce of a debate is that Cruz and Dewhurst think the only people listening (and voting) consist of hard-nosed right-wing Tea Party movement fundamentalists, and they’re depressingly accurate. Dewhurst won more votes during the initial primary, but Cruz is the Tea Party favorite. This is what the entire farce boils down to.
Incidentally, Democratic candidates Paul Sadler and Grady Yarbrough are also in a runoff for the Senate seat, but Texas hasn’t elected a Democratic senator in over 20 years, so no one seems to care.
The Democratic candidates spoke at a public television station in Dallas and complained that Dewhurst and Cruz have spent millions on their campaigns, whereas Sadler has reportedly spent $90,000 so far and Yarbrough $80,000. Federal Election Commission records report that Dewhurst spend upwards to $17 million campaigning in May, mostly attacking Cruz, and Cruz spent approximately $4.5 million.
Cruz and Dewhurst are set to debate once more before the July 31 runoff election, but unless the Tea Party movement suddenly decides they care about public education and affordable healthcare, don’t expect any new quotes.