Call it "Tea Party blowback." Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman and Tea Party hero, faces challenges in Tuesday's Texas primaries from several Republicans inspired by the conservative movement's small-government ideals. The rival candidates say Paul, who ran a longshot bid for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, isn't involved enough in his district, and that he's not effective because he doesn't like to work with other lawmakers. Paul's still a heavy favorite, but does the fact that he faces any competition at all mean that nobody's safe from the Tea Partiers' anger? (Watch Sarah Palin suggest the Tea Party get affiliated with a major party)
This is no surprise — the Tea Party hates incumbents: Ron Paul obviously has "solid anti-establishment credentials," says Alex Isenstadt in Politico, but he's also a 10-term incumbent. Even if Tea Partiers embrace many of the same ideals as Paul, it's easy to understand why some of them think Paul "has gone Washington, abandoning his constituents as he pursues his white whale — the presidency."
"Ron Paul burned by tea party blowback"
Tea partiers aren't turning on Paul: Anti-Washington anger found its way into the Texas primaries, says Todd J. Gillman in The Dallas Morning News, but most Texas lawmakers have "sterling conservative records," so they don't have to worry. And when the general elections roll around, Republicans are confident the Tea Partiers will focus their wrath on the Democrats, whose big spending earned their ire in the first place.
Judging from Paul's reaction, he deserves the backlash: Ron Paul's reaction to his primary challengers was telling, says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. He sent out an e-mail saying both parties were sending out their "attack dogs" in "my own primary." Sorry, Rep. Paul, "it's not your primary." It's the voters' primary, and saying it's yours "smacks of the same arrogance" the Democrats showed when they talked about a Kennedy seat in the Senate.
"Paul decries challenge in 'my own primary'"
SEE MORE OF THE WEEK'S RECENT COVERAGE OF THE TEA PARTY:
• Schwarzenegger vs. the Tea Party
• Joe Stack: 'Tea Party terrorist'?
• Exploiting the Tea Party
• Beck vs. Palin: Battle of the Tea Party 'leaders'