Not content with having just one of their own in the Senate, the Texas Tea Party is encouraging pseudohistorian and fiction writer David Barton to challenge Sen. John Cornyn in the primary next year.
Barton, who hosts a daily radio broadcast, has wide name recognition and respect on the religious right as a Constitutional scholar dedicated to restoring the America the Founding Fathers envisioned, though his scholarship on that point has been widely discredited in the world of academia.
Political analysts doubt he could take down a candidate as well-funded, well-known and widely endorsed as Cornyn. But they’re not willing to count out an insurgent from the right — not after watching Cruz come from nowhere two years ago. Barton has deep political roots, having spent nearly a decade as vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party. He is a skilled orator. And he’s got the stagecraft down pat: He travels the country to deliver rousing tributes to patriotism, often in red, white and blue Western shirts.
“When I get down on my bony knees this evening, it will be to pray that David Barton runs,” said Calvin Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University. “That would be a great show.”
Barton has strong ties to many tea party favorites, including Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas. Barton’s early endorsement helped propel Cruz to his improbable victory in 2012. He has also campaigned for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee once famously said that he wished all Americans would be forced — “at gunpoint, no less” — to listen to Barton’s lectures on the Constitution. Another big name in Barton’s corner: TV and radio host Glenn Beck, who devoted time on his show this week to repeating the phrase “Senator David Barton” over and over, with evident delight. Beck’s advice to Sen. Cornyn: “Quiver in your boots and hide.”
How much fun can one state stand? As digby notes, “Let’s just say that if he were elected he would make Ted Cruz look like Nelson Rockefeller by comparison.”