… Republicans in the congress are willing to take the heat for obstructing popular legislation, even when they have an unpopular lame duck president of their own party who could veto it and let them off the hook. Normally politicians, survivalists that they are, would be trying to distance themselves from a 30% president by this time and he would be forced out there on his own. But here you have them racing over the cliff right along side him. That they have maintained such solidarity in the face of dramatic failure is quite impressive.
After identifying this puzzling behavior, the article offers this comment:
If one assumes that we are dealing with a party and a political movement that operates as the constitution expected politicians to operate, this would all be very odd. But they aren’t. The modern Republican party has somehow managed to create movement loyalty that supersedes not only the national interest but their own political self-interest.
The final justification for all this, according to the article, is that disgraced politicians feel secure that whatever their short-term losses may be, they will always end up landing on their feet, which is to say, there is no real disgrace. Lose one job or office and one is subsequently offered another position of influence. There doesn’t even appear to be personal finance consequences worth considering.
This may all be true, of course, but in explaining the what, how, and why of conservative politics as practiced today (and indeed for the last 30 years), the author misses perhaps the most obvious explanation: the conservative movement is populated by true believers. The willingness to put their reputations and livelihoods on the line suggests to me a hardened ideology rather than the knowledge that they’re secure taking a few personal hits before moving onto the next thing.