Ezra Klein has been looking at that new Pew political typology survey and really, really thinks we could all get along if a few bad apples didn't spoil it for the rest of us:
One of the fascinating findings is that only one of the seven groups -- the "steadfast conservatives" -- says they prefer politicians to stick to their positions rather than compromise....That bit at the very end is based on a complete misreading of the "steadfast conservative" point of view regarding "big economic interests and Wall Street." Steadfast conservatives may be against "crony capitalism," but they're also against regulation. Look at Dave Brat, the guy who beat Eric Cantor. He may say he will "fight to end crony capitalist programs that benefit the rich and powerful," but he also says he will "work hard to provide the fiscal and regulatory restraint needed for a free people to thrive" (emphasis added). That's the standard line on the "steadfast conservative" right. These people are Randians -- they think capitalism is completely self-regulating by definition. They're unalterably opposed to increasing regulation on big business.
Steadfast conservatives make up only 12 percent of the country. But that understates their political power: they're 15 percent of registered voters and 19 percent of the politically engaged.
The irony is that the Pew survey shows there's some common ground between steadfast conservatives and solid liberals. Steadfast conservatives, for instance, tend to believe that the system is tilted towards big economic interests and that Wall Street does more harm than good. Liberals agree with them on all that --- but business conservatives don't.
Thus far, though, the Republican Party has somewhat uncomfortably adopted the positions of the business conservatives and the political style of the steadfast conservatives. The result is a congressional coalition ... where Wall Street is unpopular but where there's no chance of Republicans joining Democrats to impose stricter regulations on financiers.
In another post, Klein argues that Republicans won't impeach Obama. His evidence includes this:
There's an argument, increasingly popular among liberals, that after the midterms Republicans will control the Senate and then impeachment proceeding against Obama will begin in earnest. Barring some gamechanging scandal, I doubt it. The GOP's anger at Obama won't overwhelm their desire to win the 2016 election. And a party that wants to make gains among young and minority voters isn't going to make them by spending two years trying, and failing, to impeach Obama. This is a party that is exceedingly rational about what's required to win presidential campaigns. They nominated Mitt Romney, for Pete's sake!But the Republican Party doesn't want to make gains among young and minority voters -- at least not enough to make the party rethink voter ID laws and now-mandatory climate-change denialism and steadfast (if recently somewhat muted) opposition to gay rights and a stand-athwart-history-yelling-Stop approach to immigration. And, sure, the party nominated Romney in 2016 rather than Bachmann or Cain -- but Romney never tacked to the center after securing the nomination, just as John McCain never tacked to the center in 2008. Both picked running mates who were favorites of the zealots. No Republican candidate (apart from Ron Paul) would break with foreign policy Bush/Cheneyism in the 2008 race and no Republican candidate would agree to even a 10-1 ratio of budget cuts to tax increases in the 2012 race. Do Republicans want to win the White House? Yeah, but they don't want to win it that much.
Klein is right that John Boehner's lawsuit is intended to be an escape valve for the impeachment pressure:
You can already see Boehner looking for ways to satisfy* his base's belief that the Obama administration's lawlessness needs to be punished with his knowledge that actually attempting impeachment would be a disaster. This week, he announced his intention to sue Obama on the grounds that he has "not faithfully executed the laws" passed by Congress. It's a serious charge, but asked whether it could lead to impeachment proceeding, Boehner was dismissive. "This is not about impeachment, this is about his faithfully executing the laws of our country," he said.But why would an escape valve be needed at all if intense pressure weren't building? And is it even going to be enough?
Next year, I think Boehner might have to promise an impeachment vote to keep his Speakership -- or maybe he'll just go along with Ted Cruz's notion of impeaching Eric Holder as another escape valve. But even that may not be enough.
I don't think impeachment is inevitable. But I do think the crazies just get crazier. And Republicans are going to score victories in November, for which the crazies are going to take credit. That's going to make them crazier still.
*I think the verb Ezra wants here is "reconcile," not "satisfy."