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Axelrod: GOP follows Cruz like lemmings

Former White House adviser David Axelrod on Tuesday accused Republicans of behaving “lemming-like” in their fealty to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and the Tea Party wing that’s threatening a government shutdown over President Obama’s healthcare law.

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“Does Ted Cruz have a constituency in the Republican Party as a result of this [threat]?,” Axelrod asked on MSNBC. 

“The answer is obviously yes … Why are all those primary candidates … when you look at these primary candidates, all of whom are taking the position, this crazy lemming-like position that Cruz is advocating, it gives you a sense of where the Republican Party is at and I think there’s going to be a hell of a battle in 2016 over who is actually in control of that party.”

Last week, the House passed a continuing resolution that funds the government but withholds funding for ObamaCare. 

Cruz has been urging his colleagues in the Senate to filibuster the bill to prevent Democrats from stripping the defunding provision, and has implored House Republicans not to pass a clean resolution once the Senate sends the bill back to the lower chamber.

However, Cruz has been met with a groundswell of opposition from within his own party. Many see Cruz’s tactic as a losing proposition because there is no chance the president will sign a funding resolution that kills his signature legislation. Some conservatives are also worried that the political blowback against the GOP will be severe.

“Yes, the leaders of the party are taking a sensible position by opposing this, but the rank and file are taking a different position,” Axelrod continued. “At least the activists in that party and that’s going to be a big battle coming into the next presidential race.”