Ted Cruz has led the quest to martyr the GOP in the name of defunding Obamacare.  The strategy is as simple as it is stupid: if the Republicans refuse to fund Obamacare for long enough, eventually the public will blame the Democrats. With the support 18 Republican senators, the junior senator from Texas has put this strategy into action, sacrificing any Republican who gets in his way.

The gambit has turned into a witch hunt with Tea Party Republicans attempting to excommunicate those whom they deem RINOs, or Republicans In Name Only.  The Senate Conservatives Fund labeled Rep. Pete Sessions a “Texas RINO” and threatened to “fund a primary challenger” against him in the next election after Sessions opposed Cruz’s strategy.  Similarly, Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) was called a “RINO scared of his own shadow” after being the only Republican to vote against the plan to defund the health care act.

Republicans who are experiencing backlash against this stubbornness—arguably all of them, seeing as the latest Gallup poll notes a 10% drop in the GOP’s favorability in the past month—bear it with a tone of martyrdom.  Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), whose recent poll numbers show that his stance on Obamacare endangers his Congressional seat, said that he’s willing to bear “whatever the consequences of doing what’s right” are.  Similarly, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) earned a standing ovation at last Friday’s Values Voter Summit by stating that the Republicans “make no apologies” for their unyielding stance on Obamacare—the same stance that caused Lee’s favorability rating to plummet 20 points since June.

Even, the Koch brothers, billionaire supporters of the Tea Party and donors to Cruz’s senatorial campaign, have spent the last few weeks distancing themselves from the party.  David Koch recently gave $20 million for a child-care facility at MIT, a notoriously liberal institution.  The brothers’ company, Koch Industries, has released a statement, saying, “Koch has not taken a position of the legislative tactic of tying the continuing resolution to defunding Obamacare” nor has it lobbied for the provision.  Of course, the great irony of this is that the Koch brothers must now run from the monster they created.

The days of Ayn Rand’s rugged individualist are long gone.  The idea of conservatives standing up for their absurd beliefs as individuals almost seems quaint. Today’s Republicans operate as a cult, fighting the liberal enemy with one voice, suffering as a group, and excommunicating the disloyal.  However, these excommunications and seppuku suicides are not sustainable.  Eventually, movement conservatives will sacrifice too many of their own to come back.