I learned the new use of a word while perusing my copy of the Sunday New York Times this morning.
The word is “Dewhursted,” referring to what happened to the Texas lieutenant governor in his losing effort in 2012 to be elected to the U.S. Senate. David Dewhurst – who was thought to be a shoo-in for the seat that Kay Bailey Hutchison vacated this past year – got outflanked on his right by tea party golden boy Ted Cruz in the state Republican primary.
Cruz then, um, cruised to a general election victory over former Democratic state Rep. Paul Sadler.
Thus, “Dewhurst” has become a verb, which is a form of praise in some circles. Those circles include those on the far right of the Republican Party, who now apparently are drawing a bead on the state’s other GOP senator, John Cornyn of San Antonio.
Emily Ramshaw of the Texas Tribune used the term “Dewhursted” today in an article published in the “Texas” section of the Times to describe what could happen to Cornyn if the tea party challenge to his candidacy next year succeeds. Ramshaw actually credits the term to some Republican observers, but I read it first in her story.
To avoid being Dewhursted, Cornyn is tacking to the right – or the far right – according to Ramshaw. Cornyn is trying to protect himself against what happened to Dewhurst, along with GOP Senate statesman Richard Lugar of Indiana in 2012. Dewhurst’s loss ended up with Texas electing a tea party flamethrower, while Lugar’s loss in Indiana produced a Democratic victory against the guy who beat Lugar in that state’s GOP primary.
What does this mean for Texas? It means Sen. Cornyn is going to take the bait that has lured other Republicans to the extreme right wing of their party. He’ll campaign for re-election by standing firm against virtually any idea that comes from the Democratic side of the aisle. Cornyn will promise he won’t compromise or negotiate if it means sacrificing his “conservative principles.”
The party’s harsh wing likely has gained another member who’s been spooked by the fear of being “Dewhursted.”