I've never seen a high-flying demagogue so overshoot the runway--and in the process so joltingly bring down his entire crusade.
Thank you, Ted Cruz, for coming in way too hot, leaving your exasperated colleagues out in the cold.
For me the mental image of the Tea Party's smoldering wreckage flashed a few minutes into "Hardball" last night, as GOP Congressman Michael Grimm (NY) sat, via satellite, ripping into the movement's ideological intransigence by advocating a "pragmatic" conservatism. It seemed clear that Grimm was speaking on behalf of a majority of his House colleagues--they had had enough, they were through with the nihilists and bombthrowers, they could see where the Tea Party was taking them: headlong into a powerless minority. They were pulling up, and away.
Perhaps I misread the moment, and at any rate a reconstructed GOP somewhat to the left of the Tea Party still leaves a party far to the right. But hey, it's progress.
Concurrent with Grimm's declaration of independence came the GOP's Senate leadership's withdrawal from Cruz's crusade. Both Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Whip John Cornyn gave The Mouth the finger, announcing they'd not join him in obstructing Harry Reid's gutting of the House's recently passed obscenity.
Now Cruz is out in the cold, alone with a humiliated minority of the minority. Such devolutions tend to feed on themselves. Cruz can't cower and lick his wounds and go momentarily silent; he'll be compelled by the immutable rules of demagoguery to grow even louder and more obnoxious, so that the rabble is reassured that the fearless revolution lives.
Indeed this is an inherent, incremental stage of all such revolutions, and it helps to speed their death.