Will Lamar Cruz?

Tennessee's U.S. Sen. Bob Corker says U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's moves to defund Obamacare are "silly." Tea Party groups in Tennessee are waiting with bated breath to see if U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander agrees with him or whether Alexander will vote with their fave guy Cruz, a Republican from Texas.

The showdown will likely be Saturday when Cruz will try and get 41 votes to keep a continuing resolution to fund the government from coming to a vote. If the resolution gets 60 votes it avoids a filibuster and then comes up for a floor vote, then the Democrats will strip out the House provision that defunds the president's Affordable Care Act, and then the Democrats alone can pass it.

So Alexander either votes to let the bill go to the floor, or he sides with Cruz. If Cruz is successful there will be a government shutdown.

Alexander is being challenged from the right and a vote with Cruz will keep the Tea Party from having an issue against him. (Though it won't win them over.) But if he votes with Cruz and it leads to a government shutdown, it will likely alienate non-Tea Party voters, especially the rather large number of government workers in Tennessee.

Alexander is in a box, unless Republican leaders can somehow head off a vote on the issue or get Cruz to back off.