Meanwhile, establishment Republicans are growing restive. Writing in The Hill, former Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., complains that “These are folks who have never governed and are not inclined to do so. Rather, their goals are improved fundraising and, in some cases, individual advancement. They have hit on an issue that plays well on the stump, producing numerous effective one-liners.”
Gregg sees the Cruz/Boehner backup plan of threatening to default on the national debt as even crazier, “the political equivalent of playing Russian roulette with all the chambers of the gun loaded. ... At some point, the debt ceiling will have to be increased not because it is a good idea but because it is the only idea.”
Gregg retired from the Senate in 2010. Back then nobody had ever heard of Ted Cruz. Today, however, win or lose, the Tea Party has found its champion.
Gene Lyons is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.