One wing of the Republican Party cares nothing about
re-election while another cares only about re-election
Compare and contrast:
1. We don't care about re-election ... re-election is the farthest thing from my mind," freshman Republican Tom Reed tells the New York Times, explaining right wing intransigence on the debt ceiling.
2. "I refuse to help Barack Obama get re-elected by marching Republicans into a position where we have co-ownership of a bad economy," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declares, opposing a Republican engineered default on the debt because, "it destroys your brand ... that is very bad positioning going into an election."
One wing of the Republican Party cares nothing about re-election while another cares only about re-election. It's the latter wing, the McConnell wing, that out of shortsighted electoral self-interest gave a minority of tea partiers their leverage. As Barney Frank has said, (and I paraphrase) policy is being made by people afraid of losing a primary to a nut job.
The nut jobs are not guilty by reason of insanity; at least they have the courage of their crazed convictions. It's the politicians who lack courage or conviction, members of the McConnell wing, who bear moral responsibility for the gratuitous debt crisis.