Late last week, as you may recall, conservative activists exploded with demands that the whole GOP devote itself to defunding Planned Parenthood, even if that required an actual rather than just a threatened government shutdown. By Friday afternoon it was beginning to look like the congressional wing of the party was willing to go along, at least rhetorically. The Senate’s planned a procedural vote on an amendment to defund PP later today; it will almost certainly fail, but that will get them into the August recess after which the full Kabuki theater can roll out, complete with an effort to tie up must-pass appropriations.

In the meantime, the rhetorical escalation will be fascinating to watch. At tonight’s “unofficial” New Hampshire “candidate forum” and the first “official debate” on Thursday, the GOP would-be presidents will certainly be asked about the Planned Parenthood videos, and it will be interesting to see how many of them volunteer support for a government shutdown scenario. Then next weekend most of them will be asked about this directly by Erick Erickson at the Red State Gathering in Atlanta.

Think about the trajectory of Crazy the Terri Schiavo affair followed, and you’ve got a pretty good indication of how this might develop.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.