It is important to remember that the divide in the GOP began in December of 2012 with John Boehner's purge of conservatives from key committees. At the time a GOP aid told Roll Call , “You want good things in Congress and to have a good career? Better play along nicely.”
That move set the stage for what you see today. The "small group of conservatives" that are fighting for the good old fashioned principles of fiscal conservatism is certainly much bigger than we are being led to believe, but many don't want to go up against Boehner and the GOP leadership. This purge is directly responsible for the rudderless leadership on the debt ceiling debate, defunding Obamacare and the CR.
I believe this has also led to the criticism of the Tea party by GOP leadership. The Tea Party and other like minded fiscal conservatives were largely responsible for giving the Republicans the House in the first place. Now this great divide engineered by Mr. Boehner has come back to hurt him and the rest of us. It is time that we ended the division of the GOP and elect more serious and determined conservatives. It is also high time the GOP leadership pulled up its pants and started thanking and praising the tea party groups that put them in office in the first place.
The media believe the tea party is bad because Cher and Miley Cyrus tell them it is so. And we're probably not going to win that battle. But within our own party we should categorically reject such nonsense. If thrift, hard work, personal responsibility and fiscally conservative policy are extreme it means only that the nation has moved way to far to the left.