To be effective, a political party must work as a team. That doesn't mean that one must be in robotic lock-step following a rigid ideology passed down from some messianic leader. It simply means that you all know which direction you would prefer to go, so when it comes time to push the ball no one from your party is pushing from the other side.
President Reagan often expressed it as the 11th Commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill of Another Republican." I learned it many years ago in terms of "thou shalt not challenge an incumbent of your own party." If you wish to gain elected office, you can run where a vacancy occurs and compete vigorously. But what you don't do is challenge your own party incumbent when they are doing the job and virtually certain to be re-elected.
In Texas we are watching a violation of the basic rules. We've got a conservative Republican governor. He fought back a challenge from within his party last time when a maverick Republican state comptroller who had been a Democrat a few years earlier challenged him in the primary. When she lost, she declared herself an independent and challenged the governor in the general election where she lost again. End result was no great loss. She had no grounding in political ideology or party loyalty and voters figured that out.
This time around we've got US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison who after sixteen years in the Senate has decided to challenge Governor Rick Perry who has ten years in the governor's chair. He would be sure to be re-elected. Hutchison, as a senior incumbent senator would be sure to be re-elected. Why rock the boat?
The primary isn't until next spring, but already the posturing is going on. Hutchison claims Perry has been in office too long...lemme see sixteen is bigger or smaller than ten? She claims to identify more with Texas values, but she's been inside the fetid halls of Congress for nearly two decades, not in Texas. She doesn't look good in boots and she doesn't have a decent hat that I've seen. Dunno about cattle.
She claimed she would resign her seat "around November" but now realizes that would give Gov. Perry an appointment and would take her off a very well connected podium for national news-making. So, she waffles and may not resign so soon. But that disadvantages Texas Republicans in terms of retaining the seat for the party by delaying a stump for potential replacements to mount a campaign for senate.
Meanwhile both Hutchison and Perry must inevitably throw brickbats at each other to make primary election points. What should Democrats do but simply sit back and take notes to fill their speeches during the run-up to the general election.
I've got no great preference for either one at this point beyond understanding that both offices are secure if she had left well enough alone. Now, she jeopardizes the Senate seat and attacks the current governor, arming the opposition and thereby jeopardizing the governorship. That swings the balance in my mind.
The only conclusion I can draw is that Hutchison is driven by sheer ego. She is no longer on the majority team in the Senate, so despite her seniority she has lost stature. Therefore she seeks a new platform and in the process places herself above the good of the party.
Meanwhile, previously independent candidate Kinky Friedman has launched a campaign for the Democratic nomination for Governor:
This is going to be fun!