Scott Brown likely won his special election to the US Senate through his retort to David Gergen in the final debate that he was running for “the people’s seat” in Massachusetts, not “Ted Kennedy’s seat,” when Gergen challenged his opposition to ObamaCare.  Conservatives cheered the populist message Brown sent to Democrats in one of the most liberal states in the country.  What will they make of Ron Paul’s statement about “attack dogs” coming after him in “my own primary”?

Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian-oriented Republican whose 2008 presidential run provided kindling for the Tea Party movement, suddenly finds himself dealing with the blowback: a handful of Tea Party-inspired candidates are seeking to dislodge him in Tuesday’s Texas Republican primary. …

In a January email alert titled “They’ve Turned Their Attack Dogs Loose On Me!”, Paul warns that both parties are “doing everything they can to make sure I am defeated.”

“These candidates include three Republicans in my own primary on March 2,” he wrote, “and they will stop at nothing to tear down and destroy all we have worked for.”

It’s not your primary, Rep. Paul.  It’s the Texas Republican Primary, and it belongs to the voters who use it to hold their elected officials accountable.  That smacks of the same arrogance that led Democrats to reserve one of their Senate seats for the Kennedys or their approved, hand-picked successor in Massachusetts.

Why might TX-14 Republicans want to replace Paul?  They’ve gotten a little tired of the show:

“Where are you Congressman Paul?” reads the website of Tim Graney, a small business owner who is one of the Republicans running against Paul. At a debate last week, John Gay, another Paul challenger, took a shot at the congressman’s national political organization, Campaign for Liberty: “I applaud Dr. Paul for what he’s done and I want him to retire and do the things that he likes to do and run the foundations that he’s started.” …

Gerald Wall, a chemical worker who is also challenging Paul, echoed their criticisms.

“The problem with Ron Paul is that he doesn’t spend any time representing his people,” he said. “Everyone knows that if we elect him to Congress he will spend one month in Congress and 18 months running for president.”

In two interviews I conducted with Graney, the challenger says the issue goes beyond being an “absentee landlord,” although that’s certainly part of it.  Paul is simply not effective in Congress, Graney argues, because of his predilection for grandstanding to an absurd degree while participating heavily in pork barrel politics.  Graney also thinks that Paul’s foreign-policy positions are extremist.

Even if one is inclined to support Paul, the primary process is a healthy way to ensure that incumbent politicians are listening to and serving their constituents.  Claiming ownership of a seat as an entitlement is the first sign that a constituency needs to find someone new to send to Washington. (via William Amos)