Ready, fire, aim!
It's not clear, and may never be, exactly why the Republican powers-that-be are so furious with Cruz. Perhaps they realize that his efforts to turn the defund-Obamacare kabuki into the real deal, flirting with a government shutdown in the process, threaten electoral disaster in 2014 and beyond since Republicans will rightly be blamed. Perhaps he (unknowingly?) dissed the Senate pecking order in some way. But for whatever reason, the knives are out: McConnell and Cornyn are openly opposing Cruz, and un-named "top Republicans" offered Chris Wallace dirt on Cruz before a planned Fox interview. Firing back, commenters on hard-right sites like RedState and Hot Air side almost unanimously with Cruz against the "squishes" and "RINOs" (now defined as pretty much any Republican willing to compromise with empirical reality); even a guest post allegedly by Reince Priebus trying to re-direct teabagger rage against Democrats was contemptuously swatted down by commenters determined to keep not-insane-enough Republicans squarely in the crosshairs. The Moderate Voice blog has an overview of the looming civil war on the right.
Cruz's pseudo-filibuster, by the way, ended in ignominious self-pwnage when he couldn't even get Dr. Seuss right.
OK, that was the fun part. Now for those barrels of nitroglycerin.
Congress has less than a week to straighten this out before the threat of a government shutdown hits. Despite Cruz's antics, the Senate will send a clean CR back to the House. The question is what happens then. Averting a shutdown depends on Boehner having the guts to face down the teabaggers, who these days are about as easy to deal with as a pack of demonically-possessed rabid pit bulls with their nuts caught in a mousetrap. Assuming we avoid a shutdown, in a few weeks the debt ceiling will need to be raised again, and Boehner (in an act of blatant hypocrisy) has threatened to demand a one-year delay of the ACA in exchange for this routine and necessary action, raising the specter of the government being unable to pay its bills, endangering its credit, and sending shock-waves of uncertainty through a still-weak global economy.
Obama say he won't negotiate about the debt-ceiling hike. That's a start. And my guess is that big business (a constituency Republicans listen to) will be exerting pressure behind the scenes to avoid a disaster which would harm their interests too. But even the threat creates dangerous uncertainty.
However this plays out, we need to make sure the whole mess doesn't keep repeating itself. The goal should be to take back the House and get a filibuster-proof Senate majority in 2014. Teabaggerdom will be helping us -- they're already threatening to primary the shit out of every non-flaming-nutball Republican they can, giving us more Mourdocks and O'Donnells to run against. Even if our majorities won't accomplish much because they include more conservative red-state Democrats, the point is to get the Republicans out of any position of power. We cannot continue to have the planet's largest economy threatened with destabilization every time these idiots decide to stage one of their feces-flinging tantrums about something or other that they barely understand. Get them away from the nitro and put them in the playpen until they grow up.