A liberated John Cornyn


Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

Note: This column originally appeared in The Quorum Report. Join us there daily for coverage of Texas politics and government. 

There’s been a lot of chatter in Austin and Washington about what kind of an approach Sen. John Cornyn would take with the Tea Party now that he’s successfully fended off primary challengers from the right, faces no serious opposition in the general election and may even have a shot at being the Republican Senate Leader should Sen. Mitch McConnell fail to secure reelection in Kentucky. Polling, by the way, shows McConnell in real danger of losing to a Democrat this fall.

Well, we’re starting to get a glimpse, via Twitter, of perhaps what Cornyn has wanted to say all along about some of those on the right who have been among his harshest critics over the last two years or so.

This past week, Cornyn shocked some observers by mocking former Tea Party candidate Katrina Pierson, who as you may remember unsuccessfully tried in the primary to unseat longtime Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas. When a conservative took to Twitter to say that the conservative movement’s only mistake “was not running @KatrinaPierson vs RINO @JohnCornyn,” Cornyn’s response was that Pierson “Did so great against Pete Sessions.”

Sessions crushed Pierson 63% to 36%, by the way. She rose to prominence with the right by being one of Sen. Ted Cruz’s most visible volunteers in his race against Lt Gov. David Dewhurst two years ago.

Dallas radio host Mark Davis – a conservative – noted that Cornyn’s office told him the mocking tweet did come personally from Cornyn and not a staffer. Davis called it “not a great moment.” Others in the Republican Party, however, may be encouraged to see one of their senior leaders ready to brush aside attacks from Tea Party activists.

Conservative sites like Breitbart Texas have documented the backlash Cornyn drew online after he mocked Pierson. Some, including celebrity blogger Michelle Malkin referenced the fact that Pierson is both a woman and African-American and said Cornyn was hurting the GOP’s outreach to women and minorities.

Lest anyone think Cornyn was rattled by all the anger from the right, he followed up on Twitter the next day with a critique of the thinking of many self-identified Tea Party members who demand politicians agree with them on virtually everything.

“Anyone who calls themselves Conservative or Republican, who doesn’t vote for the nominee of the party in the general election is neither,” he said. When someone asked “What if the Republican nominee isn’t conservative?” Cornyn responded “And the Democrat is (conservative)?”

Copyright May 21, 2014, Harvey Kronberg, www.quorumreport.com, All rights are reserved. Reprinted with permission. 

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