The Republican party doesn't know how to fit into a societal landscape furiously reorganizing before their blinking and largely uncomprehending eyes. They are the party, after all, that for generations now has proudly, if rather grandiosely and ridiculously, boasting of their supposed ability to "stand athwart history" in their manliest stance and yell "STOP!" in their most Charlton Heston voice.
While such a self conception might have provided laughs for those outside the fold, for many in the right wing ranks it was an effective and, until recently, empowering way to view the world and their place and role in it. Basically, just being the loudest shouters in the room proved remarkably, almost magically, effective. They could get their way if they just dug in their heels and talked, and if necessary, yelled, above everyone else and soon enough: Presto! They get most or even all of what they want. And, like spoiled children, they have grown accustomed to getting everything they want.
But now... Now the magic is fading. It doesn't seem to work like it used to. Everything is falling away. There's a panic in their eyes. As they recite the old pieties there is often a blankness to their stares, stares which vaguely focus somewhere off in the middle distance. There's a desperate quality to their mantras. Throats tight and mouths dry, even they are beginning to doubt their own incantations. They seem to be increasingly consumed with preoccupations that it won't be long now before it all falls apart.
In the context of this discussion, we can think of the House Republican caucus as being comprised of three groups: the establishment leadership, the rebels, and the true believers. The leadership wants what majority House opposition leadership usually wants. They want to subvert the president's agenda as much as they think decorum allows, position themselves to pick up seats in 2014, and position the party to take back the White House in 2016. The rebels essentially want the same thing, except they want to be the ones cutting the deals and banging the gavel and they want the deals to result in even more goodies for their side and more -- and more damaging -- concessions from Obama and Democrats.
The rebels used to be considered somewhat fringe-ish, or fringe simpatico, or fringe chic. They were able to get some of what they wanted but not enough. Certainly not enough to serve as a platform for a credible coup against establishment leadership. So they brought in ringers. They brought in some firebrands to go all medieval on everybody's asses. Which they have.
The true believers don't care about sabotaging their own political careers or the fate of a political party. They have an inexhaustible supply of self righteous certainty about their theology, ideology, and fantasies of standing in the path of a government they hate. They believe the federal government is evil to its core and they refuse to compromise or surrender to that evil.
But even they are beginning to be made aware, in the most faint and distant way, they catastrophe awaits if they actually go through with this. So, they are beginning to conceive of ways, in their view, shift the blame for the consequences of their actions on to Obama and the Dems.
But they are so deliberately out of touch that they send their overwhelmingly southern delegation to speak about how sad they are than Obama just does not seem to understand how serious this situation is and how necessary it is him to, again, give them everything they want and poke everyone else in the eye. In essence, they lament that they have to do it but they really just have to help this Obama boy get his mind right about the situation.
And they leave the interviews smiling, smug, and self satisfied, congratulating themselves on being so clever and so effective.
That is how out of touch these people are.
There's no negotiating with them; they want to burn it all down because they think they've already effectively pre blamed Obama for whatever they bring about.