Earlier in the year, there was some talk about Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) possibly facing an even-more-conservative primary challenger next year, but as 2013 progressed, no credible opponents stepped up. National Review reported yesterday, however, that far-right pseudo historian David Barton is “seriously considering” the race.
Rick Green, one of Barton’s closest advisers, tells National Review Online the following in an e-mail: “More than 1,000 (zero exaggeration, that is an actual number) tea party and republican party leaders have asked David Barton to run…. Like America’s Founding Fathers, David Barton will not “seek” this office, but if the people of Texas speak loud enough in the next few days, he could most certainly be drafted in by the voters.Another Republican consultant in Austin familiar with Barton’s thinking elaborates on that. “The conservatives are putting in a significant effort to get him into the race, and this is not a drill – he might actually do it,” the consultant tells me…. And JoAnn Fleming, executive director of Texas-based Grassroots America We The People, says that a number of tea-party leaders are slated to have a conference call with Barton in the next few days to discuss his senatorial prospects.
It’s not altogether clear why right-wing activists would consider Cornyn unacceptable, but whatever their motivations, Barton would be an exceedingly odd choice.
For those who’ve forgotten, Barton is a Texas-based Republican activist who’s positioned himself as the religious right’s go-to wannabe history scholar – despite not having real academic credentials or training. Barton, an extremely frequent guest on Glenn Beck’s program, sets out to prove the nation’s founders wanted the United States to be a “Christian Nation.” Unfortunately for Barton, his materials are filled with claims that don’t stand up well to scrutiny.
This became especially problematic over the summer when Barton published a book about Thomas Jefferson, claiming he was an orthodox Christian who really didn’t support church-state separation. When historians, including many at prominent Christian colleges, thoroughly discredited the text, Barton’s publisher was forced to pull it from bookstore shelves, ceasing its publication and distribution due to Barton’s inaccuracies.
For most folks, this would a career-ending catastrophe. For Barton, it’s the kind of humiliation that encourages Tea Party activists to consider him a credible Senate candidate.