For all the No Labels wanking about non-extremist Republicans forming a “centrist” third-party, the truth is Joe Scarborough and Lindsey Graham will leave the Republican party in a wooden box. Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, though….they’ve got the moxie to strike off on their own.
David Frum (correctly) gives a good argument to this effect and then (incorrectly) claims that a Palinista exodus would be good news for conservatives. You can guess why: it will free up Burkean moderates to appeal to the radical center. Nah. Guh. Happen. There may be all kinds of great reasons to vote for Republicans 2.0 or whatever the Teabagless GOP decides to call itself, but Republicans spent the last 40 years aiming their sales pitch at Neoconfederate nut jobs. Karl Rove (et al.) is a certain kind of girl, and Joe the Plumber is his ideal boyfriend.
Most Republicans, no matter how much they think the shutdown is a shit show, know this, that the Tea Party could (and would) secede from the GOP, and that this secession would completely destroy the Republican party.
And that’s why they’ll do whatever the Palinese Liberation Army wants them to do.