Cheney came to Texas this week to endorse Hutchison, buttressing her own reportedly shaky standing with the base of her party.
It now becomes clear that Perry is going to have to get to the right of Hutchison and Cheney, although it stretches the imagination to figure out how he does that.
The governor already has raised the secession issue with angry Texans. How does he get to the right of his wink-and-nod over the notion that Texans could get mad enough to want to leave the Union? Surely he wouldn’t actually advocate such a thing — would he?
Meanwhile, Hutchison — who doesn’t enjoy the full-fledged trust of many hardened Panhandle Republicans — has enlisted an important ally. Dick Cheney has become the poster boy for the conservative movement.
All this seems to mean that the fight for the hearts and minds of Texas Republicans is going to be fought on the far right fringe of the party, which is beginning to look as though it is gobbling up more and more of the GOP pie.