a-party-divided1It is risky to speculate from a short time victory for Obama in reopening the government and raising the debt ceiling, But there is evidence that this might be a critical case illustrating the tension caused by the Tea party faction in undermining republican unity. We have predicted that the Tea Party faction would become increasingly marginalized and become largely a deep south and isolated redoubt over time. But, to its political, if not moral credit, the faction revealed continued influence in  the mainstream trajectory of Republican strategy during the shutdown crisis. The question is this: will the zealous but energized far right faction ultimately be a drag on the party’s national prospects in 2014 and 2016? We think yes. In fact we will be on the watch for signs, identified by some, that the power of this faction may drag the party down disastrously. The Democrats’ problem is as always, skill at softball in a hardball game. So far this seems to be working– but barely. Can progressives take advantage of conservative tactical errors? Here’s what the WASHINGTON POST’S AARON BLAKE AND SEAN SULLIVAN HAD TO SAY TODAY (ITEM FOUR IN A FIVE POINT LIST OF CONSEQUENCES OF THE BUDGET SETTLEMENT):

“4. The Republican Party increasingly looks like two parties. A Pew poll this week laid bare a worst-case scenario for the GOP — that their party is, in fact, two parties riding under the same banner (at least for now). Case in point: Republicans who back the tea party view Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) favorably by a 74-8 margin, but among all other Republicans, views of Cruz are 25 percent favorable and 31 percent unfavorable. That’s a massive split, as it’s very rare that any segment of one party views one of their own more negatively than positively. The Pew poll also suggested more moderate Republicans are tiring of the tea party. None of this is to say the GOP is going to split in two, but it’s clear there are two wings of the party that are on hugely different pages right now.” Washington Post, BLAKE/SULLIVAN, 10-18-2013