Martin Kettle captures the essential vaudeville of Republican posturing: it’s about the theatre, not about the policy. A nugget (emphasis added):
But the bulk of the explanation for the embattled mood lies with the American right’s increasingly implacable warrior Marxism. That’s Marxism tendence Groucho, as one 1968 Parisian poster had it. Groucho’s “Whatever it is – I’m against it” could be today’s Republican party anthem. Perhaps surprisingly, the ourselves-alone conservatism of the Gingrich and Bush-era Republican party has barely faltered, in spite of the 2008 election, and is now accelerating once more. But the urgings of the Tea Party challenge are re-energising the increasing partisanship that, as Ronald Brownstein and others documented, defined the politics of the past two decades. Last week, the latest example among many came when every single Republican in the Senate voted to strip the federal Environmental Protection Agency of authority to regulate greenhouse gases.