POLITICS
08/08/2013 01:09 pm ET Updated Aug 08, 2013

And Now John Cornyn Is Somehow Not Conservative Enough For The Tea Party

As a person who has been alive since at least 2008, it's hard to imagine how you get to a point where two-term Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is insufficiently conservative for the conservative base. After all, in 2010, Cornyn was in an eight-way tie for first in National Journal's rankings of the "Most Conservative Members of Congress," and the American Conservative Union lauds him as an "ACU Conservative." As near as I can tell, the last person to contend that Cornyn wasn't up to snuff was his 2008 primary opponent, Larry SECEDE Kilgore -- who, yes, literally changed his middle name to "SECEDE" in all capital letters, because he is way, way into the idea of Texas seceding.

But the fractured GOP is continuing down its recent path of having the Tea Party faction eat their own -- because you gotta eat something, I guess. The movement that began with taking out rock-ribbed conservatives like South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis, Utah Sen. Bob Bennett, and Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar remains as hungry for flesh as ever, and the National Review's Betsy Woodruff reports that John Cornyn has been looking awfully tasty lately:

Louie Gohmert for Senate? That’s what a number of Texas tea-party activists are hoping for. They’re not happy with Senator John Cornyn, and Katrina Pierson, who serves on the Texas Tea Party Caucus Advisory Board, tells me she’s heard from a number of activists pushing for the outspoken East Texas congressman to challenge the senator.

And JoAnn Fleming, the executive director of East Texas–based Grassroots America We The People, says she’s hearing the same thing. She knows Gohmert personally and says she’s had numerous activists tell her she should ask the congressman to run.

As Salon's Jillian Rayfield notes, Gohmert has already told the Washington Examiner that he is not going to get into a primary with Cornyn, saying, "I don't feel it in my heart."

But Woodruff reports that tea partiers in Texas are still hoping Gohmert will run. What on earth has Cornyn done to deserve this? According to Woodruff, Cornyn's decision to separate himself from Sen. Mike Lee's (R-Utah) plan to shut down the government until the Affordable Care Act is repealed looms the largest. But it's impossible to paint Cornyn as a fan of Obamacare, unless you live in a world where not being willing to blow up Washington over the issue is proof of impure conservative bodily fluids.

This is the basic reason that the GOP leadership continues to stage utterly futile repeal votes -- the basic hope is that everyone can get their ya-ya's out and prove their bona fides in a way that doesn't inflict a lot of electoral collateral damage. (This is also why Republicans continue to vote to defund the long-dead-and-gone ACORN.) The contemporary governing strategy of GOP legislators in Congress is basically to follow the same model as methadone clinics.

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