CHRIS MATTHEWS: American democracy has rested on the people's changing loyalties between two major political parties, like two teams taking their turns at bat. For a century and a half we have chosen either a Democrat or Republican to be our president. Democrats or Republicans have controlled each of the two houses of Congress. But, what if one of the two parties goes ballistic, heading so far off the spectrum that it is no longer competing for the majority of the voters' loyalty?
What if the Republicans get hijacked? If the Republican Party becomes a torpedo headed for the U.S. Capitol, and becomes a "Cruz missile" targeted at the government itself. What then?
Well this is the scary ambition of a certain senator from Texas. Who not only aims to topple Republican Party leadership but smirks publicly at the trouble he has created. To Ted Cruz of Texas, government shutdowns and debt ceiling defaults are all in a day's work. They are the business he has chosen. For him compromise is a curse word and Republican senators, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, spend their days "running from fights," as he puts it.
Today we hear news that he is forming a group of the right wing that wants to topple not just Mitch McConnell, but a whole slate of Senate Republican leaders and veterans. Can he bring down the Republican leadership, can he explode the party leaving it unable to compete, for example, with Hillary Clinton next time? All this so that his wild bunch can rebuild it to a smaller, nastier political party home only to the hard and bitter right wing?
MATTHEWS: Gentlemen, this is rare in American politics. We've got left, right, center, but we only have one guy I know of who seems to have a ballistic purpose, to blow up his political party. Rand Paul wants to move it to the right. We know that, he may succeed, but this guy wants to take it apart starting at the top.