Ames makes an interesting point over at Submitted to a Candid World, about how Republican Rep. Steve King has proposed a "truce" on "culture war issues" in favor of productive governing and is gathering flak for it from his peers.
I simply don't think it's going to happen. The culture war is like an addictive drug, you may know it would be good for you in the long term to give it up, but not only does it just feel so damn good, it's so damn easy. You don't have to come up with ideas on how to fix the economy, just drop buzzwords like "anchor baby," "welfare queen,", and "the lazy unemployed," and, *bam*, you've got a campaign. You don't have to worry about complicated economic proposals -- those are for the intellectual "elites" -- just what sounds good as a soundbite on FOX News.
The GOP and their unholy spawn, the Tea Party, has successfully merged culture, religion and nationalism into one monolithic force. Sarah Palin's latest book is subtitled "Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag." (I shall leave the absence of the socialist, European Oxford comma without further remark.) Along with American exceptionalism, another touchstone of the Right, you've got a political philosophy that makes America synonomous with goodness and Truth.
You can't just get up one day to decide to abandon that. With the inclusion of religion in the mix, what Rep. King is asking Republicans to do is make a literal, not metaphorical, deal with the Devil. (There can be no truce with the Shadow.)
The Republicans have grabbed the tail a tiger made up of those three forces: culture, religion, and nationalism. Once you grab that tiger, you can't let go, or it will eat you. The really scary part is that, when that frenzy gets control of a nation, especially one already under economic stress, the results are usually catastrophic.