Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz faces Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst in a run-off Republican primary on July 31, to determine who will sit in Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's (R-Texas) Senate seat in the next Congress. This is the election; November is irrelevant. The winner of this contest will become the next senator from Texas.
Cruz has advanced his career very shrewdly. In November, he can go to Washington, D.C., in some capacity. I argue, however, that capacity by itself should not be enough to serve as the next senator from Texas. Hopefully, Cruz loses his first foray into the wilds of electoral politics. Such political positions should not be encouraged. He should remain a lawyer.
Cruz is a conservative extremist whose record shows that his brand of intransigent politics will only worsen and prolong Washington's hyper-partisan bickering. His election will only serve to make obstructionist positions the norm -- even more so than they currently are. This is a man trying to make obstruction of the nation's business look cool, not reform anything about the political process. To elect Cruz is to endorse and perpetuate the trend of 5-4 Supreme Court decisions and strict party-line voting patterns in the legislative branch that divide this country.
The Romney campaign, to switch gears, needs a rabid conservative voice like this one to advise the would-be (hopefully more moderate) presidential administration, in its legal dealings, and argue cases before the Supreme Court -- something Cruz has done nine times already as solicitor general of Texas. Cruz's considerable legal talents would be put to better use under a hypothetical Romney Administration.
A loss for Cruz, on July 31, would be a win for all Texans. Dewhurst will vote the same hyper-partisan way Cruz would, but he has been in legislative politics long enough to have learned the value of attempting to reconcile with political opponents. If in politics perception is reality, then maybe the appearance of being willing to talk to moderate Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, and Democrats will actually cause this to happen.