As we have reported recently, the Republican Party is undergoing something akin to a civil war right now. On one side, traditional and establishment conservatives led by establishment figures such as John Boehner and John McCain seek to maintain their position while looking electable to the general electorate. On the other, the Tea Party/quasi-libertarian wing, led by upstart Senator Rand Paul and former vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, seek to change the entire Republican Party platform, which consists in large part of preventing any law from being pushed forward. There are many outside actors on each side as well, as was demonstrated on talk show Fox News Sunday, when pro-establishment Chris Wallace went on the attack against Tea Party Senator (and Joe McCarthy lookalike) Ted Cruz from Texas, armed with information from leading Republicans.
Ted Cruz used the Fox News opportunity to defend recent accusations of betrayal, following the basic acknowledgement that the bill to continue funding the government at the cost of funding the Affordable Care Act, passed by the Republican-majority House, would fail in the Senate, controlled by Democrats. There, Senator Cruz explained a plan to pass the bill in the Senate, using the filibuster to prevent Democratic amendments that would fund the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, since he thinks such measures would require 60 votes.
This sounded like a fine plan and all, except even Chris Wallace acknowledged the foolishness of this tactic. Wallace had to point out to Ted Cruz that Senate Rule XXII, which forms the basis of the filibuster, is only used to end debate, not vote on amendments. Bill amendments only need a simple majority of 51 votes to pass, which the Democrats have. Later on, Fox News commentators Brit Hume and Karl Rove, both known to lean pro-establishment at times, also pointed out the silliness of this plan. Senator Cruz attempted to pedal back by pushing for passing continuing resolutions in smaller departments, all the while attaching the "defund Obamacare" provision.
The story would be just that, except it turns that Chris Wallace was going into that show in advance with the idea that he would be attacking Ted Cruz. On the local Fox affiliate in Washington, DC Sunday morning, Wallace hinted to viewers in a preview to his show that he received a lot of information from fellow top Republicans, not Democrats, on Senator Cruz to use against him. Odds were that, had Senator Cruz held himself up well, Wallace may have had used that information to pick a verbal fight with him. That Wallace would consider that shows the depths of this infighting happening in the party. And to think these guys may take control of Congress completely next year says a lot of things right there.