One of the interesting things about the current government and debt ceiling impasses is that some of the harshest criticisms of Republican party tactics are coming from conservatives who can’t seem to believe how rapidly their party is going downhill. Here is Rod Dreher writing in The American Conservative asking, “Is this what American conservatism is turning into?” He cites a memo about what a focus group of Republicans revealed about what is driving the Republican party extremism.
Reading the entire memo (PDF), I found myself agreeing with some — some — of the things people in the various factions believe. For example, the Evangelicals are right that elite culture looks down on them and marginalizes them. The thing that alienates me in the extreme from the GOP base is the hysteria, and the apocalypticism. It’s not enough to call Obama a conventional Establishment liberal, which he plainly is; he has to be a “Marxist” in their eyes. They cannot seem to grasp that if Republicans in Congress compromise, it’s because they control only one house in the legislative branch of the government. They have to compromise. This is what happens when you emote instead of think, when you give your mind over wholly to ideology, abandoning empiricism, and live inside an information bubble that enables confirmation bias: you lose touch with the real world, and make decisions based on what you feel.
Dreher quotes David Freddoso who says:
Symbolism is trumping substance. Conservative lawmakers and activists are plunging into dead-end conflicts that do little more than inspire e-mail fundraising pitches; at the same time, they fail to stand up for basic conservative principles when given opportunities to win.
It’s almost as though conservatives are determined to fight only the battles they can’t win, and ignore those they might.
Opening meetings with a prayer is bad enough but singing hymns? Apart from the oddity of turning a political meeting into something resembling church, this particular hymn is one that is often sung at funerals and denotes redemption from sinful ways and thus does not exactly inspire confidence.