Earlier this month, New York Rep. Peter King said he might run for president in 2016 as a response to less interventionist Republican senators. King said he wanted to counter "a lack of a real defense policy or defense debate among Republican candidates for president, focusing primarily on Rand Paul and Ted Cruz." King's fellow hawk, Arizona Sen. John McCain, has called Paul, Cruz, and Rep. Justin Amash "wacko birds" for filibustering over drones. (McCain also doesn't like Cruz's manners in the Senate.)
The wacko birds' most recent victory was Amash getting a vote on defunding the NSA's phone metadata surveillance program. House GOP leadership didn't want the vote, and, according to The National Review, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's aides "gave what Amash thought was a more threatening overture: There’s bound to be a procedural technicality we can use to kill the amendment, they said, and we’re going to find it."
There's a huge fight among Republicans in Congress over whether they should shutdown the government unless President Obama agrees to defund Obamacare. Utah Sen. Mike Lee has written a letter saying he won't vote to fund the government unless Obamacare is defunded, and 11 other senators signed it: Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, James Inhofe, John Thune, Mike Enzi, Deb Fischer, Chuck Grassley,David Vitter, and James Risch. A similar letter has been signed by Reps. Marlin Stutzman, Michele Bachmann, Jim Jordan, Steve Scalise, and Amash.
But Obama won't sign a law killing his signature achievement, and a shutdown would risk making the House GOP very unpopular, according to Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole. "The only way Republicans will lose the House is to shut down the government or default on the debt," Cole told Politico. "I'm not inclined to jeopardize the crown jewel... and the House of Representatives is the crown jewel in this election cycle." Sen. Tom Coburn agreed it'd help Democrats retake the House, and Sen. Richard Burr said it's "the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of." On Tuesday, Sen. Bob Corker called it a "silly effort," adding, "I don't look at that as very courageous… Most of us see through it and realize that these people are really just taking themselves out of the debate." In an editorial for FoxNews.com, Karl Rove said Republicans "must resist a game of chicken with the president."
Rush Limbaugh does not like the sound of that. "I don't think they were ever serious about repealing health care, the Republicans," he said on Monday. "[H]ave you noticed in the last, I guess week to 10 days, an increasing number of Republicans, House and Senate both, in leadership and high-ranking, are just totally caving on it? And they want no part of Mike Lee's effort, and they're out laughing at it or making fun of it or saying it doesn't have a prayer or it's dumb or it's stupid or what have you," he said. He hinted there was something to be done: "The thing that's guiding the Republican Party today is just abject fear, and they're afraid of the wrong things. I mean, fear can be a good thing. It can be an incredible motivator." RedState editor Erick Erickson put it a little more plainly: "Defund Or Be Challenged."