Are you concerned that the government will shut down?

Ted Cruz

Photo: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

“Just a week before the federal government could shut down if no agreement is reached to fund it past the end of September, it’s anyone’s guess whether Democrats and Republicans will avoid plunging over this particular cliff,” writes NPR’s Frank James.

“More certain, however, is that if a shutdown happens over Obamacare and Republicans wind up taking the heat, many GOP fingers of blame will point squarely at Sen. Ted Cruz.”

The Texas Republican will likely become the face of the 2013 shutdown, just as Newt Gingrich became the poster boy of two government shutdowns of the mid-1990s.

What we’re seeing, in part, is the lack of loyalty and the distrust that runs in both directions when a group of relatively new members of Congress, with a grassroots political base that scorns the establishment, operates independently of and often at odds with the party’s more traditionalist members.

Today, it’s the Tea Party movement which helped Cruz get elected. Three decades ago, it was the large post-Watergate class of freshmen Democrats elected in 1974 who drove more senior Democrats crazy with their impertinent demands that party elders be more accountable to them.

David Brooks shared his dim view of Cruz on the NewsHour.

What’s going on in the House, and a bit in the Senate, too, is what you might call the rise of Ted Cruz-ism.

And Ted Cruz, the senator from Canada through Texas, is basically not a legislator in the normal sense, doesn’t have an idea that he’s going to Congress to create coalitions, make alliances, and he is going to pass a lot of legislation. He’s going in more as a media protest person.

And a lot of the House Republicans are in the same mode. They’re not normal members of Congress. They’re not legislators. They want to stop things. And so they’re just being — they just want to obstruct.

And the second thing they’re doing, which is alarming a lot of Republicans, is they’re running against their own party. Ted Cruz is running against Republicans in the Senate. The House Republican Tea Party types are running against the Republican establishment. That’s how they’re raising money. That’s where they’re spending their money on ads.

And so they’re having a very obstructive role which is going on this week, and I think it’s going to make John Boehner’s life even more difficult.