1. Life was good for John Boehner when the tea party won him control of the House of Representatives.
This all happened in the magical year of 2010.
2. But over in the Senate, Republican leader Mitch McConnell was not so lucky.
Some tea party overreaches in easily winnable districts kept the Republicans from gaining valuable seats in the Senate.
3. The House tea party caucus would laugh if the Democratic Senate ever sent over a bill…
4. …and if Obama tried to get legislation passed, Boehner would look at him like:
5. The tea party was able to stop loads of legislation and voted to repeal Obamacare 40 times!
6. Much of these achievements were simply ceremonial, since McConnell and the Republicans were not in leadership in the Senate.
And therefore could not get the House legislation to the floor for a vote.
7. And whenever the tea party wanted to run some legislation, McConnell would decline.
8. But all of that changed in 2012 when Ted Cruz fell into the Senate.
9. Cruz quickly became a tea party champion and mouthpiece for vocal outrage at the president’s agenda.
10. Cruz’s legislative strategy centers around cutting wasteful government…
11. …and ramming as many defund Obamacare bills as he can into Senate legislation.
12. Old guard senators like John McCain brush off the tea party actions.
13. But these new factions make it difficult for McConnell to corral a united Republican agenda.
14. In the meantime, Cruz and a handful of tea party senators have gained national fame and adoration from the Republican base for their bold legislative battles.
Some are even discussing a run for president for Cruz.
15. McConnell warmed up to the tea party after Republicans complained about his smaller conservative package.
Facing a primary and complaints that he didn’t have much ideological staying power helped McConnell’s decision as well.
16. Meanwhile in the House, tea party members were medicating after some losses in 2012.
And it was getting harder and harder for Boehner to work with them.
17. And when a routine funding measure came up to keep the government fully running, Speaker Boehner originally brushed aside a tea party wish list for passage of the bill.
18. In a forceful move championed by Cruz, the tea party caucus said they would not vote for the funding measure unless Boehner included a provision to defund Obamacare.
19. Boehner, shocked at the revolt within his own party, gave in to the tea party demands.
20. The vote to defund Obamacare passed the House Friday.
This was a concession by Boehner and a big win for the tea party, displaying the power they still hold over leadership.
21. The bill has no chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate, and even if it did, the Obama administration has promised to veto it.
22. On the national scene, the tea partyers may have tried to lift more procedure than they can carry this time.
23. If the bill is not passed it will lead to a government shutdown, which Boehner is really trying hard to avoid.
24. This would threaten Republican chances to win some contested seats in the Senate, since a shutdown would certainly hurt them in the polls.
26. Democrats on the Hill are watching the disfunction with glee…
27. …because the factious Republican debate on the debt ceiling is playing right into the talking points of the DNC for 2014.
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