From Costa's piece (my emphasis):
The debates over gun control, immigration, and President Obama’s appointees have fueled his rise. He has been out front on each issue, brashly battling Democrats and, if need be, his fellow Republicans. “He’s the purest of the young conservative senators — that’s how we see him,” says a consultant who works for a leading conservative group.
That ideological purity and Cruz’s presidential maneuvers make aides close to other Republican contenders nervous. The backroom Republican consensus is that a Cruz insurgency would hardly be a quixotic publicity stunt. He’d outflank almost all of the other candidates on the right, and his debating skills, which once won him national awards, would be formidable. It doesn’t hurt that much of the media already hates him with a passion.
And, according to Green, Cruz would be another Barry Goldwater, only worse.
I agree with both of these writers: the most conservative candidate will win the Republican nomination in 2016 and get just annihilated in the general.
And then the GOP can begin its slow march back to