by Sanford Levinson

Open UniversityDavid Brooks's columnNew York Times
On Capitol Hill, there is a strange passivity in Republican ranks. Republicans are privately disgusted with how President Bush has led their party and the nation, but they don't publicly offer any alternatives. They just follow sullenly along....
They are like people quietly marching to their doom....
The big question is, Why are the Republicans so immobile?
There are several reasons. First, there are structural barriers to change. As it has aged, the conservative movement has grown a collection of special interest groups that restrict its mobility. Anybody who offers unorthodox tax policies gets whacked by the Club for Growth and Americans for Tax Reform. Anybody who offers unorthodox social policies gets whacked by James Dobson.
Second, there is the corrupting influence of teamism. Being a good conservative now means sticking together with other conservatives, not thinking new and adventurous thoughts....
Third, there is the oppressive power of the past. Conservatives have allowed a simplistic view of Ronald Reagan to define the sacred parameters of thought....
Fourth, there is the bunker mentality. Republican morale has been brutalized by the Iraq war and the party's decline. This state of emotional pain is not conducive to risk-taking and free and open debate.
Times