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Hullabaloo


Thursday, February 21, 2013

 
Rand vs Ted: The quickening

by digby

Oh, this should be fun:

Even as the Tea Party movement, per se, may be waning, the activists remain and they will need a voice in Washington. The rapid ascent of the well-spoken Cruz has pleased many conservative activists hungry for more. “We salute you, Senator Cruz, and we’re calling for backup,” a much-shared RedState post read.

But it may not put any smiles on the face of Sen. Rand Paul, who is himself trying to become the de-facto leader of the very same movement and who helped get Cruz where he is today.

Endorsements from the Kentucky senator and his congressman father, Ron Paul, were critical in a primary race where the GOP establishment lined up against Cruz and behind Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, an arch-conservative whom the Tea Party nonetheless made out to be a moderate. But Cruz didn’t return the favor by endorsing the elder Paul’s presidential bid.

Rand Paul has been called Cruz’s “role model,” but the Texan is in many ways more accomplished and worldly than the Kentuckian. While Paul, an ophthalmologist with atypical credentials, had never held public office before his successful 2010 bid, Cruz was on track for this job since adolescence. At Princeton, he was a champion debater. After Harvard Law, he clerked for William Rehnquist, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, where he would return years later to argue cases as Texas’ solicitor general.

And while other Paul-endorsed candidates like Utah Sen. Mike Lee have kept a fairly low profile after getting to Washington, Cruz has been eager to upset the apple cart, threatening to upstage or even supplant the man who helped bring him there. He’s been called the Ivy League Marco Rubio and the Republican Barack Obama, but perhaps a better epitaph would be the Purer Rand Paul.

Cruz is the real Tea Partier and I have no doubt they will run with him if it comes down to it. Paul is an iconoclast who glommed on to the tea party the same way everyone in the GOP did in 2009 and 2010. The Tea Party is just the far right in a tri-corner hat. Young Rand is something else entirely. I don't think they know that. But I'm going to guess that Ted Cruz will have no trouble pointing it out. He doesn't seem to be the shy type.

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