Had He Chosen Differently, John Cornyn Could Be Leading Now

Senator John Cornyn has been on the receiving end of a lot of punches lately over the NRSC’s decision to endorse Charlie Crist over Marco Rubio in the Florida Senate race.A lot of it is fair criticism, especially considering only days before he endorsed Crist, Senator Cornyn said the NRSC would stay neutral. Not all of the criticism is fair, however. I would crawl over broken glass to get John Cornyn re-elected to the Senate. He is a great leader, a genuinely good person, and an articulate spokesman for the GOP. But he has badly miscalculated on the Rubio matter and his miscalculation has been made greater by his failure to endorse Ted Cruz in the Texas Republican primary for Texas Attorney General — a position Cornyn himself once held.John Cornyn is known to believe the GOP must engage in effective outreach to the Hispanic community in order to expand its coalition. He has, in the past, encouraged Hispanic involvement in the GOP and has tried to encourage good Hispanic Republicans to seek office.Right now, Senate Republicans are running scared of the Sotomayor nomination because they don’t want to be seen as burning bridges with the Hispanic community. The Senate Republican leadership, typically feckless and cowardly the moment controversy arises, is gun shy.It did not have to be that way. Had Cornyn practiced what he regularly preaches, the GOP would not be in the box.Were Marco Rubio the GOP’s preferred candidate for the United States Senate, Rubio would be in a position to serve as a credible GOP voice on Sotomayor. Had the NRSC only made a different choice, the choices Republicans Senators now make regarding Sotomayor would be easier.Likewise, had Senator Cornyn endorsed Ted Cruz, he would have even greater authority on the issue of Hispanics being welcome in the Republican Party. While some have argued Ted Cruz is not significantly accomplished enough to be Attorney General, and therefore not worth big name Republicans like Cornyn bothering with him, arguably his opponent in the Republican primary is less so. Cruz is the only Hispanic to have ever served as a law clerk to the Chief Justice of the United States. He served for five years as Solicitor General of Texas, a position John Cornyn created when Cornyn was Attorney General. Cruz is an immigrant living the American dream.He would be an articulate voice the Republicans could use to combat the media’s charges of racism should the GOP get a spine and oppose the Sotomayor nomination.Had John Cornyn only practiced what he preached, he could be leading the GOP on a path out of the wilderness with a more diverse group of candidates and elected officials.There is still time. He could both endorse a guy like Ted Cruz and move the NRSC to being neutral in Florida or at least publicly pledging to spend not one penny, directly or indirectly, to help Charlie Crist — a white Pennsylvania transplant running against Rubio, the articulate Hispanic candidate who embodies all that Cornyn says the GOP needs.The GOP could oppose Sotomayor without alienating Hispanics if only they would, you know, start supporting Hispanic candidates. John Cornyn could lead the way.