“As the government health-care Web site chugs along, the Obama administration has begun a counter-initiative to combat Republican naysaying — and its weapons are of superior grade,” says The Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker. “The bunker buster is positive messaging and a return to hope and change. For Republicans, it’s whatever the opposite is. Despair and stagnation? Gloating and gloom?”

Apparently, the heavy burden of being exceptional to one another 24/7 is starting to take its toll on Republicans. But the Tea Party is possibly worse.

And what about Texas Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzBig Pharma must address high drug prices A guide to the committees: Senate Trump wants to cut red tape? He should start with the CFPB. MORE? Is he not just another Republican Bad Santa? So many of them are out there now and for so long. Did you hear what he said last week?

“But we should make them veto it [UN condemnation of Syria] on the world stage,” Cruz said on ABC’s This Week. “And if they do veto it, we should respond by, with respect to Russia, we should reinstate the anti-ballistic missile station in Eastern Europe that was canceled at the beginning of the Obama administration to appease Russia, and with respect to China, we should go through with selling the new F-16s to Taiwan that again this administration put the kibosh [on].”

John McCainJohn McCainA guide to the committees: Senate Webb: The future of conservatism New national security adviser pick marks big change on Russia MORE could not have said it better — or Lindsay Graham, or Gen. Curtis LeMay, “Old Iron Pants” who ran for president with Alabama Gov. George Wallace in 1968, popularizing the phrase “bombs away with Wallace and LeMay.” LeMay famously advocated the use of nuclear weapons in protracted war such as Vietnam. Like the use of torture (not advocated by Wallace and LeMay), the use of nuclear weapons in conventional warfare and even against terrorism is widely accepted today even by major candidates of both political parties. And is that what has become of the Tea Party? Is it now just an advanced generation of Wallace and LeMay revisited?

Has the Tea Party become just a new generation of Republican Bad Santas, louder and more odious even than the last?

But there is one voice, clear and thoughtful, and it entered alongside Kentucky Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulGOP healthcare plans push health savings account expansion Congress must reform civil asset forfeiture laws ­ObamaCare fix hinges on Medicaid clash in Senate MORE. Radio host Jack Hunter is the best thinker and writer to emerge from the Tea Party, period. He peddles softly today, so as not to get yelled at again by Washington Post apparatchik Jennifer Rubin. He goes alone. But his thinking on what should be the substance and soul of Tea Party is inspired.

“Conservatives should remember what happened last time promoting or defending war became a primary focus. Under George W. Bush, the debt almost doubled and government grew at a rate surpassed only by Obama,” he wrote last week in the Daily Caller.

Lest we forget: “The focus for Republicans at that time was defending the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping, waterboarding, ‘enhanced interrogation tactics, indefinite detention and other Dick Cheney heirlooms. It wasn’t just that these things distracted conservatives from shrinking government — support for war and an anti-civil liberties agenda had supplanted small government among conservatives’ priorities. The time in between September 11, 2001 and the rise of the Tea Party, conservatism simply became something else.”

Possibly Paul is the last man standing from the halcyon days. But the rest of us are lucky to have Hunter still around.