The late House Speaker Tip O’Neill once said “all politics is local.” Texas Governor Rick Perry won last night’s GOP primary by standing that adage on its head and nationalizing the race. He pounded his main rival, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, as a Washington insider and tagged her as “Kay Bailout” for her support of the 2008 rescue of major financial institutions.

Mr. Perry said the results were a triumph for conservative principles: “Texas voters said ‘no.” They said ‘no’ to Washington bureaucrats making decisions that state leaders and citizens should be making for themselves.” He won 51% of the vote, with Tea Party activist Debra Medina pulling in another 18% of the vote. By avoiding a runoff, Mr. Perry put himself in a good position to take on former Houston Mayor Bill White in the fall.

Some Tea Partiers supported Debra Medina, but — as with Scott Brown — more seemed focused on supporting a candidate who could win.

Related: Medina Lost, But Tea Party Set The Tone For Texas Primary.

UPDATE: Reader Scott Hanshaw writes:

An opinion on the Texas Tea Party and Rick Perry: Rick Perry was an early Tea Party adopter. He was at the April 15, 2009, Tea Party in Austin, and gave a rather spirited defense of states’ rights, even raising the possibility of secession, kinda, sorta. At least, it was reported as such. Was Medina the Tea Party candidate? She certainly tried to pick up the mantle, but the fact is that Perry is as much a Tea Partier as Medina. I would put Medina in the category of self-anointed Tea Party candidate. I suspect we will see more people pronouncing themselves as such.

Yes, and some will be false-flag plants. And “kinda-sorta” is putting it mildly. I mean, it wasn’t like Vermont or anything.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Austin reader Audrey Baum writes to remind us that Perry was initially booed at his 4/15/2009 appearance:

…but he is a very skilled politician and had the audience cheering him by the end of his speech. John Cornyn was also there but was booed off and on during his entire speech and finished quickly. The crowd was definitely anti-establishment but Perry was able to turn the crowd around. He reads his audience very well.

I voted for Perry in the primary only because a vote for Medina would possibly cause a run-off and waste money better spent on defeating the Democrat. I also felt that we need a dependable “No” vote on Obamacare and we are better served with Hutchison staying in the Senate for now. Perry is a slick, good-ol’-boy but at least he has kept the state running reasonably well (don’t get me started on his obsession with toll roads).

That’s the kind of pragmatic thinking I’m talking about.