What do the debt ceiling negotiations tell us about the state of the Republican party and, specifically, Boehner's role at the top? In truth, nothing all that new. Tea party conservatives feel no loyalty to Boehner and nothing he can say or do convinces them to get behind a piece of legislation. There are enough in that bloc (somewhere between 30-50 depending on the legislation) to ensure that passing a vote with GOP votes alone is impossible. Boehner is then left with two bad options: 1. Allow things like the debt ceiling to be breached or 2. Turn to Democrats to provide the necessary votes to pass controversial measures. He has typically opted for option 2 but, in so doing, has made his chances of winning reelection as Speaker (if Republicans hold the House in November) that much more perilous.The only point in having another party in a two party democracy is to have an opposition. If one of the parties doesn't oppose anything the other espouses, what is the point of having the second party and what is the point of thinking you live in a free and democratic republic?
Why would the TEA bunch feel any loyalty at all to a party that believes in more taxes and spending more money? What is there to be loyal to? Nobody can kick if some members of the majority are not wholly onboard with all the idiot notions of the majority. That's America. The majority believed in slavery. The majority believed in 'separate but equal.' The majority consistently believe many many things that the courts later overturn and declare unconstitutional.
The majority still believe that nobody is above the law. Nobody gets to decide what laws to obey and refuse to obey....except guys in black robes. And dictators. It's difficult to feel any loyalty for either.