Ted Cruz: The Sarah Palin phenomenon

In Texas Gov. Rick Perry's last primary election for governor of Texas the entire Eastern conservative establishment, including George H.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and Karen Hughes as proxy for W. lined up in opposition. Their agent, Kay Bailey Hutchison, was well ahead. Then Sarah Palin came to the call of Perry. He won big. It opened the gate for him to run for president.

Then when the unheard-of Tea Party candidate for governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, was slandered by the old-school conservative rank and file, Mitt Romney came to her aid. But she didn't move in the polls. Sarah Palin came down and campaigned and Haley won in a landslide.

Recently, Palin backed little-known state Sen. Deb Fischer, who beat the well-known, well-funded rival to become the nominee for the U.S. Senate in Nebraska. And in Indiana she endorsed Richard Mourdock, who unseated the popular incumbent, Sen. Dick Lugar (R).

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But most interesting is the Texas primary race yesterday. As the Houston Chronicle’s blog reports, Perry supported the party favorite, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is running for the Senate seat held by Hutchison and his campaign has been airing an enthusiastic endorsement from Perry. But a new Public Policy Polling survey found that Perry’s plug is actually hurting him.

According to the poll, 24 percent of likely Republican primary voters say they’d be more inclined to vote for the candidate backed by Perry, while 28 percent say they’d be less likely to back the governor’s choice. They report that the picture is very different when it comes to Palin, who supports Ted Cruz. PPP, a Democratic-leaning firm, found that 36 percent of Texas Republicans say Palin’s support would make them more likely to back a candidate, while 21 percent consider it a negative.

ABC reports that hours after Palin endorsed Cruz, the staff at Cruz's headquarters in Austin reported a swift and positive reaction. Last night Cruz forced the establishment candidate into a runoff.

“In every other state, Sarah Palin’s endorsement has been a game-changer,” Cruz told Texas on the Potomac.

Is Sarah Palin underrated, a Washington Post blogger asks?

Palin is one of the most important and influential figures in conservative politics today, and she has been from the beginning. She is virtually rebuilding conservatism in America. One of these days the babbling conservative blogosphere is bound to catch on. Or are their plaintive cries and whispers, echoing through the night like those of abandoned coyote pups, the last complaints we are likely to hear from the Eastern conservative establishment?