The unfolding Republican civil war seems to have drawn a line between teabagers and establishment Republicans. But I see a more interesting division: the Kochs versus Wall Street.
Firstly, I think its important to not lump all members of wall street or the chamber of commerce in the same boat. There are many responsible business owners who are civic minded (Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, etc.), and many other who are nothing more than well educated looters (Mitt Romney).
That being said, I'd like to propose what the current split in the Republican Party is really, is a split between big private monday, and big public money. Case in point is todays meeting between Obama and 19 top CEOs and the Chamber of Commerce on how to end this shutdown nonsense.
Remember what happened when the CEO of Whole Foods penned an op-ed bashing Obamacare? Huge backlash! Their stock took a dive, their revenues took a dive, and the board came down hard against any future shenanigans. Likewise when the head of Susan G Komen came out against Planned Perenthood, there was another huge backlash. From individual donors and volunteers, but also from many corporations that had products tainted with the now loathed pink ribbon.
These are corporations with boards, with shareholders, and with brands. Any kind of political backlash will effect their profits, so they stay out of it. Even private equity firms fall into this category... the goal is to eventually take a company public, so anything hurting the brand hurts the company.
But what about the Koch brothers? Their corporation is privately held. And they don't really sell directly to consumers... even if they did, oil is so important we can't just stop buying it. They are like cigarette companies: most consumers hate the company but keep buying the product. So any political backlash would not even register with them.
They don't know how out-of-touch they are, because there is no penalty for them being wrong. Sounds a bit like a teabagger in a safe district, yes?
The good news is that public money is more influential than private money... Mainly because private companies are either small, or have such small margins they can't have the influence of banks, hollywood, or telcoms with massive profits. If it came down to it, the Chamber of Commerce could twist enough arms if needed... The shutdown will end, and the debt ceiling will be lifted... in time.
But it is clear that the Kochs and the Tea Party can cause a significant amount of damage to innocent people, and suffer few consequences from being so completely wrong...
That, my friends, is the true underlying problem... it wont be solved any time soon, and its going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
HOW TO FIX IT: I didn't want this to be a complete bummer of a post, so I thought I'd offer what I think is the solution. We have problems with the Tea Party because the primary system is so bonkers! I'd suggest a fix: instant runoff voting (IRV).
IRV eliminates the primary entirely: both the primary and the general election occur on the same ballot. All candidates from all parties at the same time. Instead of voting for one candidate, you rank them in order of preference! That means there is no way a teabagger would ever win the seat again, since their approval rating is about 10% these days. That's enough to win a Republican primary, but not enough to win the general election.
This idea is not new: its a way to avoid spoilers ruining races, and to avoid electing somebody far outside mainstream opinion. And since currently IRV would mainly help establishment Republicans defeat Teabaggers in primaries, it might actually get bipartisan support for a change.