Or, The GOP Could Go The Way of the Whigs

News analysis pieces looking at the battles going on within the Republican Party always do so within a restricted logical space. Notice the failure of imagination in this NYT story comparing Rand Paul and Ted Cruz

The divergent strategies undertaken by Mr. Cruz and Mr. Paul not only put them on a collision course should they both pursue presidential candidacies. They also could help determine whether the Tea Party — right now a muscular and rebellious force within the Republican Party — remains at war with the establishment or is eventually more smoothly integrated into the party apparatus.

The obvious third possibility--that the "civil war" between establishment and Tea Party Republicans ends up destroying both sides--somehow goes unconsidered.