Tension is brewing in the Republican Party as the federal government shutdown enters its seventh day and far-right members of the GOP show no sign of letting up.
The shutdown -- which has already affected hundreds of thousands of federal employees and hit critical government programs -- is bringing the Republican Party to a boiling point, angering GOP fundraisers and throwing a wrench in the works for the upcoming 2014 elections.
“People are totally annoyed,” one GOP fundraiser told the Washington Post.
Backers of American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS -- two influential Republican fundraising groups -- attended a conference in Washington D.C. over the weekend. According to the Post, many attendees had similar concerns: they wanted to see the end of Obamacare just as much as the next conservative, but not at the cost of a government shutdown.
“It appears that we’ve got a bunch of crazies running around — one from Texas and some from other places,” Al Hoffman Jr., former finance chairman for the Republican National Committee, told the Post. “I love the idea of defunding Obamacare. However, I don’t think it’s going to happen until we have a majority in the Senate and in the House.”
“I oppose Obamacare as much as anyone else does, but this is not the way to repeal it,” Bobbie Kilberg, a Republican operative who has worked for Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, said to the Post.
Members of the Republican party have voiced concerns over the "Ted Cruz wing of the party": Tea party-backed members who have relentlessly pushed defunding Obamacare at the cost of a government shutdown. Now, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and their colleagues are jeopardizing the party's funding.
“There are a lot of major donors who feel that until the Republican Party can field people who have a vested opinion of what to do and to do it in a prompt and efficient way, we’re going to withhold giving money,” Hoffman told the Post, saying the freeze could affect “a lot of current far-right Republicans.”
The shutdown fallout could also clear the way for more center-right candidates. Tea party-backed candidates are losing the support they once had at home. Their backers are disappointed in their unwillingness to compromise and refusal to collaborate.
“The traditional governing wing of the Republican Party is fed up with this dysfunction, this ‘no’ to everything, this refusal to engage the other side to find solutions," Steven C. LaTourette, a former Republican congressman from Ohio, told the Post.
The glory days for the tea party could be coming to an end.
“All the energy in the Republican Party the last few years has come from the Tea party," said Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman from Minnesota. "The notion that there might be some energy from the radical center, the people whose positions in the conservative mainstream are more center-right but who are just furious about the dysfunctionality of government — that’s different.”