There are three reasons Republicans can’t do the obvious (open the government, raise the debt ceiling) …
1. They think they’re always losing. Even the smart Republicans see their party through the prism of constant defeat. That sounds crazy to Democrats and especially to progressives, who believe conservatives have been on a winning streak for more than 30 years, pushing American fiscal policy further and further to the right, getting a progressive president to sign onto the Heritage Foundation’s notion of an individual mandate to buy healthcare from private insurance companies, and steering the national conversation, including in the media, away from jobs/poverty toward debt/deficits.
But inside the conservative bubble, they see every “win” as a loss, a compromise, and an instance of being sold out by their elected leaders (who over time have promised them everything from the outlawing of abortion to a flat tax and not delivered.)
2. This sense of defeat extends past budgetary issues, to societal ones. The notion that the core demographic of the Republican Party — white, older denizens of “middle America,” many of whom used to be blue collar Democrats — have lost the culture wars, lost the vestiges of a fantasized Ozzie and Harriet America, and the country promised to them by their parents, is deep seated, it’s bitter, and it’s intractably embedded in the psyche of the Republican / tea party base. It’s not explicitly racial, but race/culture is intertwined with it. And Barack Obama is the human embodiment of that loss — “Obamacare” the latest exemplar of its totality.
The topline takeaway? This is how the most conservative Republicans in the country feel on a given day:
And these are the key findings in the report:
3. Congressional Republicans are afraid of the tea party, mainly because their unofficial strategist, Jim DeMint, specializes in losing national elections by putting forward untenable, right wing platforms, but he’s expert at taking down fellow Republicans. John Boehner knows it. So does his caucus.
So they don’t dare back down.