An interesting dynamic is shaping up for the 2014 House elections. It could wind up being a classic Tragedy of the Commons, wherein what is in each individual member's own interest winds up being a huge loss for the Republicans as a party.
As I write this, the Republicans are on the verge of pushing the country over the fiscal curb. Much more dangerously, they seem willing to hold the debt ceiling hostage in their tantrum to get their way (or, as Krugman says, to "use vandalism to subvert the constitutional process").
Clearly, they're adopting these extremist positions in deference to their ultraconservative base (whether or not you want to call them "Tea Partiers"). They're desperately afraid of getting primaried in 2014. But if they do wind up wreaking severe damage on the economy, the voters aren't likely to look kindly at them in the general election. The result would be an almost certain Democratic takeover of the House.
So the choice is: (a) be a little bit reasonable and sensible and risk losing the primary, or (b) stick to your wingnut guns and get booted in the general.
I expect most of them will choose option (b), leading to a classic Tragedy of the Commons for the Party.
Frankly, though, that's a tragedy I could live with.