Tea Party Blasts Lawmakers for Fearing Town Hall Obamacare Fight

That's why target No. 1 for Bozell, whose group For America partnered with Tea Party Patriots to release a new ad targeting senators who oppose the push to defund the health care law, is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

"Senator McConnell, conservatives don't need a chicken when it comes to Obamacare," the ad's narrator says. "Leaders lead, but if you fund it, you own it."

In the case of McConnell, Bozell's message is boosted by the fact that McConnell has a serious tea party challenge in self-funded businessman Matt Bevin, who released a web ad Wednesday with a similar message. And Bozell says activists have made thousands of calls to McConnell's district offices on the subject.

He and Tea Party Patriots will also launch a new Exempt America tour in the coming days that will eventually take them to McConnell's turf.

McConnell hasn't outright come out and denounced the defunding strategy, but he hasn't supported it either.

By targeting McConnell, the groups have made it clear that they're looking for leadership and loyalty, even if the strategy inevitably stalls in the Senate chamber, where Democrats hold a majority.

"He needs to do the right thing, not play games of playing both sides," Bozell said. "If he is going behind people's backs and trying to undercut this effort and it becomes part of a narrative of his re-election campaign, he will be one minority leader not re-elected."

It might well be the case that come September, when lawmakers return to Washington, establishment Republicans like Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., or Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., will fail to have a proverbial "come to Jesus" moment and back a strategy to defund the health care law, which they believe will lead to a government shutdown.

But the dissatisfaction is still there, Bozell says, and the establishment's tone deafness could end up costing them in 2014.

"It's well within the realm of possibilities that if they don't do something, they'll lose the House next year," Bozell said.

"The best way to put out that fire is to build support for this."

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