How is a rump like the suicide caucus able to to wreak all this havoc? It's because they don't face consequences for what they do.
They don't face consequences for taking these hardline positions. When you hear members talk candidly about their biggest victory, it wasn’t winning the House in 2010. It was winning the state legislatures in 2010 because they were able to redraw their districts so they had many more conservative voters. The members get heat from the press but they don't get heat from back home.Because of this, it is not clear that there is an easy out to this. They are true believers, and John Boehner's main motivation appears to be that he likes the privilege of being Speaker. (Aside: I was at an Event last year at a posh SoCal resort -- I was one of the minions sitting in the back by the kitchen -- when all the Big Shots in the front stood up and started glad-handing someone. It was Boehner, who happened to be at the resort for some other reason and had come in to say "hi". (He's not very tall, and he is disturbingly tan. I could almost hear his epithelials whispering "melanoma! melanoma!") The Big Shots all fell over themselves trying to shake his hand. Buncha rich Republicans.)
This is yet another example of the importance of mid-term elections, and another reason to be angry with the young folks and the Democrats who can't be bothered to vote in them. It's the same thing as happened on Colorado: two state senators who supported sensible gun measures were recalled this summer because the NRA supporters could be bothered to come out and vote.
Meanwhile, much has been made of freshman TX Senator Ted Cruz, a Princeton graduate and Harvard-educated lawyer, who is gleefully leading the charge over the cliff. Despite an education in two bastions of liberal higher education, Cruz isn't just conservative, but firmly aligns with the Tea Party wing of the Republicans, and considers Harvard law school to be a haven for communists. He's also notably arrogant and there are rumors he is behind the scenes manipulating the House.
Cruz's father is a Cuban immigrant in Texas, and a fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist preacher. The HuffPo has a detailed examination of Cruz pere's Christian Dominionist views. Could these have colored his son?
The theological ethos of Rafael Cruz's vision is in Christian dominionism; he talks about preaching a "message of dominion" that all Christians have received an "anointing as kings."....
Cruz shares that two types of people were anointed in the Old Testament, kings and priests:
Priests were anointed primarily to minister the glory of God. They were anointed to pray for the people, to offer sacrifices, to care for the temple, to be God's representatives before the people... Kings were anointed to take dominion. Kings were anointed to go to war, win the war, and bring the spoils of war to priests so the work of the kingdom of God could be accomplished. The king needed the blessing of the priest in order to be successful in battle... The priest also needed for the king to be successful in battle because the priest needed the spoils of war in order to repair the temple, in order to carry out the ministry that God had entrusted him.
.....The seamless move that Cruz makes without any justification is to say that because kings and priests were anointed in the Old Testament, that means there are two kinds of Christians today: kings and priests. Forget about the body of Christ and all the spiritual gifts identified in 1 Corinthians 12. Forget Jesus' exhortation in Mark 10 not to be like the Gentile princes but to be servants instead of kings. ...
So to pull all this logic together, God anoints priests to work in the church directly and kings to go out into the marketplace to conquer, plunder, and bring back the spoils to the church. The reason governmental regulation has to disappear from the marketplace is to make it completely available to the plunder of Christian "kings" who will accomplish the "end time transfer of wealth." Then "God's bankers" will usher in the "coming of the messiah." The government is being shut down so that God's bankers can bring Jesus back.Be afraid.
And here's the thing. When you get a lot of people together in a megachurch, you can do some pretty impressive things with your mission projects. You can feed thousands of people and host ESL classes and job training programs and medical clinics. And I imagine that seeing your accomplishments could give you the hubris of thinking we don't need a government at all to make our society run; our church can be the new government.