Long before the compromise measure to extend the debt ceiling and fund the federal government was passed Wednesday night, the backlash had already begun.
But as news broke that the debt deal had been passed by both houses of Congress, the conservative Twittersphere exploded with vengeful messages, many of them aimed at Republicans.
The line among far-right critics was that the GOP had given up, lost its backbone and capitulated in allowing the vote to even come to the floor of the Senate, never mind get through the House of Representatives with practically no concessions to the right in its text.
A number of hashtags began making the rounds: #DefundTheGOP and #DefundTheRNC were probably the most popular, but #throwthebumsout and #implodethehouseoflords also popped up.
Much of the ire was directed at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., whom they saw as being responsible for allowing the deal even to come to a vote in the Senate, and whose home state was given more than $2 billion for a dam-related rivers project in the final bill. He's already being challenged in the primary for his re-election, which is more than a year away.
Here are some choice tweets aimed at McConnell, which eventually led to the hashtag #ditchmitch becoming hot on Twitter:
â€” Ophidian Pilot (@ophidianpilot) October 17, 2013
â€” Steven Bolen (@bolenstx) October 17, 2013
â€” Scott Barbour (@drscott_atlanta) October 17, 2013
Former George W. Bush mastermind and super PAC mogul Karl Rove also took a lot of heat on Twitter for being a less-than-committed supporter of the go-for-broke GOP strategy.
On Thursday, Rove offered an assessment of the debt ceiling/government shutdown debacle and its result that was heavy on criticism of President Barack Obama, but also included passages that angered many conservatives.
"Barack Obama set the trap. Some congressional Republicans walked into it. As a result, the president is stronger, the GOP is weaker, and Obamacare is marginally more popular," he said, according to USA Today.
Cases in point of the anti-Rove backlash by right-wing Twitter users:
â€” @ManeCoon51 (@ManeCoon51) October 17, 2013
â€” Melissa Marks-Shih (@mmarksshih) October 17, 2013
Of course, Karl Rove. You feckless fool. Gormless wonder. "Obama set trap for GOP with shutdown http://t.co/NoRwWhqqce"
â€” Aurora Wall Jacobsen (@Auroramwj) October 17, 2013
But as the endless tweets featuring the ubiquitous #defundobamacare hashtag faded into history, they were replaced Wednesday evening and Thursday morning with #defundtheGOP and #defundtheRNC, a sign of the troubles to come for the Republican Party and its so-called RINOS (Republicans In Name Only):
â€” zoesmom (@GlendaBoykin) October 16, 2013
â€” Jules (@jeissleeping) October 17, 2013
â€” JamesJinSC (@JamesJinSC) October 17, 2013
As the vitriol continues to flow both online and off, the leadup to the 2014 congressional races will be a difficult time for establishment Republicans facing tea party and far-right challengers. Only time and ballots will tell who’s left standing in the GOP in the wake of the debt ceiling showdown and government shutdown's ignominious end.