Tea partiers are fed up with the status quo and demand change. So they elect people like Texas GOP Senate nominee Ted Cruz, who by emphasizing his own unwillingness to compromise ensures that nothing will change and that Congress will remain at least as paralyzed and powerless as it already is for the foreseeable future. Great move, Liptonites.
The come-from-behind victory by Cruz in a Republican runoff election Tuesday against Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is being widely hailed as another sign not only of the tea party's political might, but its disdain for establishment Republicans. Both are certainly true. But I suspect future political historians will look back at victories like Cruz's -- and those of other conservative pit bulls against purebred Republicans in such states as Delaware, Nevada, Utah and Florida -- as the early stages of the spread of a kind of political nihilism, a philosophy that bears the seeds of its own destruction.
Which is to say, the thing that's new about the tea party isn't its fundamental opposition to taxes, which has been a GOP plank for decades, or its opposition to abortion or gay rights, or its support for the 2nd Amendment, or its distrust of big government. In the battle between Cruz and Dewhurst, it was often tough to distinguish the two men on such ideological terms, since their opinions were identical. The only notable things that set them apart were their backers -- with Cruz being the clear tea party favorite -- and their rhetoric about compromise, with Cruz being adamantly against it while Dewhurst, like all establishment politicians, had to run against a record of sometimes reaching across the aisle. And that really gets to the heart of what the tea party is about: sticking to an ideological opinion and never giving an inch.