It is interesting to me that after the Republicans are handed a decisive loss in the 2012 election, they have decided to make as much of a display of their least popular ideological dogmas as possible.
Taxes - they went to the mat to avoid raising taxes on the wealthy and forced The Sequester. The House of Representatives voted for Paul Ryan's harsh budget which raises no taxes on anybody, especially the super wealthy, while cutting services to the middle class and poor. To me, by refusing to raise taxes or cut defense spending they demonstrate that they are not serious about the budget, but only serious about cutting government services. Only the true believers are on board with this harshness.
Choice/abortion - they ban abortion in some red states as early as six weeks. This thrills evangelicals, but there are many more voters who are not evangelicals, especially young ones and women.
Gay marriage/gay equality - they are going to the mat to ban gay marriage currently in the Supreme Court, fighting to stop something increasingly accepted by young voters. Denial of equality always seems unfair.
Gun control/second amendment - even in the wake of the Newtown slaughter of small children they refuse to limit magazine clip size and insist that rapid fire spray guns are protected by the second amendment. The gun manufacturers masquerade as second amendment purists, but I think they repel more than they attract.
Affirmative action - they are pushing to revive the debate about affirmative action in college admissions. They never stop the attack.
Health care - they keep promising to overturn Obamacare. I guess they think losing is proof that they have a winning hand?
All of these things excite the conservative base. But they do not attract non-believers. They seem to be doubling down on the ideology that lost them the election with the well worn, Limbaugh and Beck type calls for more hard core conservative crusades. The faithful still seem to think they are the vanguard of a movement that is sweeping the country and the world.
I think they have lost touch with reality. Just as they thought they were going to win a landslide victory in 2012, they still seem to think their only problem was that they weren't conservative enough, so they double down.
One thing that I think they are doing is deeply branding themselves with their old and worn out ideas, just when savvier party politicians see that they need to re-brand themselves with new approaches.
The old white guys are strutting their stuff, but their rigidity, stubbornness, and delusions are what they are really showing, or so it seems to me.
My hope is that this brand of conservativism becomes seen as the past of the Republican Party and becomes more and more marginalized, while the Republican Party itself finds a new center that speaks to values of conservatism in creative and innovative ways - and a new and exciting Republican Party is born.
The old war horses aren't going to change, but most likely just gather themselves together and charge off at every increasing speed - over the cliff into the obscurity of a past that is long gone.