You have to laugh at the brazen greed of outside groups egging the Republicans toward a suicidal leap.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) (Gary Cameron/Reuters)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) (Gary Cameron/Reuters)

Heritage Action, following today’s House vote, sent out –surprise, surprise–a fundraising e-mail imploring conservatives to send them money. “Moments ago, the U.S. House voted to permanently defund Obamacare and simultaneously fund the government. Today’s vote is a victory for the American people, who made their voices heard during the August recess. . . .Thank you for standing up to the big-government special interests who are profiting off Obamacare.” Oh, and DONATE says the big red button below that. You can imagine that those donations may go to vilifying or even to primary any Republican who steps out of line.

FreedomWorks, another right-wing group, did the same. Its e-mail told donors: “Your support made this possible. It wouldn’t have happened without the help of tens of thousands of Patriots like you. And now, the fight is in the Senate. I’m asking you to make the crucial difference once again. . . . Your support leads to results. Real results. Washington can’t ignore us any longer. But we need your help to finish the job we started in 2010. Let’s stop ObamaCare.” So send money. But they don’t really have votes to stop Obamacare because the GOP doesn’t have the White House or a Senate majority, right?

Then there is Jim DeMint’s former group the Senate Conservatives Fund. It announces, “Any Republican who votes for cloture is voting to fund Obamacare.” And it them makes Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (!) responsible for rounding up the votes. (“This is a critical test for Senate Republicans and especially for Mitch McConnell, the Republican Leader. It’s time for Mitch McConnell to show some leadership and deliver the 41 votes needed to defeat cloture on Harry Reid’s plan to fund Obamacare.”) And if not? While they’ll no doubt claim to be betrayed by McConnell (who did not come up with this and hasn’t promised he’d deliver the votes) and work to defeat him. Why isn’t, you know, the shutdown squad responsible for getting the votes? Oh, we can’t have that.

Today, not only House staff, but actual GOP House members spoke out, blasting Sen. Cruz (R-Tex.) who is egging on the disastrous fight. They are right to be annoyed; he’s got no game plan and will happily blast them or his Senate Republican colleagues when he doesn’t get what he wants, which isn’t attainable anyway. Even if McConnell got 41 votes to filibuster he doesn’t have 60 votes or even 51 for a vote to defund Obamacare. This, among other reasons, is why the entire exercise is pointless.

The reality is that not even a majority of Senate Republicans are willing to shut down the government and there are only about two dozen hard-core cranks in the House who have not been able to figure out what is going on. It is the army of self-interested self-interest groups and gadflies like Cruz trying to drive the GOP bus over the cliff.

The way to stop this? Donors: Stop donating to them. Members: Stop listening to them. And conservative and mainstream media: Report accurately what they are up to. Then the GOP might get off suicide watch and move a conservative agenda.