This is a wonderful lede:
Here’s a question for conservatives and Republicans: Going into the 2012 Election Day, or even in the last few days before Election Day, did you think Mitt Romney was going to win? A couple of months ago, did you think the strategy of threatening to shut down the government or prevent raising the debt ceiling, to force the outright repeal or defunding of Obamacare, would really work? Romney lost by 4,967,508 votes, 126 Electoral College votes, and 3.85 percentage points. That’s not very close. Obamacare isn’t going to be repealed this year, and it’s not going to be defunded.National Journal
So the question is whether conservatives and Republicans should begin to worry if their instincts—specifically, their judgment on matters of politics and policy—are a bit off. Maybe “spectacularly wrong” would be more accurate.
He goes on to list a few more examples of the disconnect from reality, and then, being a Villager to the core, has to pour some weak "both sides" tea - without, of course, noting that the stuff he attributes to Democrats was not espoused by any leading Democratic figures, while the stuff he mentions for Republicans was accepted by virtually everyone in the party leadership as gospel.
That is, our fringe is fringe, the GOP's fringe is treated with respect by their leaders. And then he goes all sciency on the Republicans:
I consulted a psychiatrist and a psychologist on this question. Both said there is no formal term for the behavior some Republicans are exhibiting, but one described the groupthink as “hysterical delusional affirmation,” and the other named it “delusional synergy.” One said, “It entails suspension of logical intellectual processes with a selective consideration of only confirmatory input. Paranoid people typically experience ideas of influence and control where they believe that they see things that others cannot. This process is often propelled by delusions of grandeur, quite often messianic in nature.”Illogical.
Inside a bubble.
Believe they see things others cannot.
Delusions of grandeur, possibly messianic.
Does that describe anyone you can think of?
A Facebook friend?
So here is our problem. Our President and the Democratic leaders in Congress have to try to keep our government functioning when the "loyal opposition" contains many leaders who, for want of a better phrase, suffer from a sort of "mental illness" and are elected by those suffering from the same disease.
More below the Orange Squiggle of Power.
The similarity to some religious communities where adherents are encouraged to not associate with those of different faiths, and where "blasphemy" and "heresy" are charges leveled without irony seems obvious.
There is also this, regarding "The Backfire Effect", from the Columbia Journalism Review. In brief, information is not sufficient to change deeply held beliefs; in fact, it causes people to dig in and cling to their beliefs all the more tightly.
Although the article does not directly address this, I assume that learning IS in fact possible, since I observe few phlogiston chemists roaming the halls in university chemistry departments. I believe that different people may have their opinions changed by differing amounts of evidence, and for some people it just takes more time for a lesson to sink in.
And for some people, the lesson may need to be personal - they have to experience reality in their own lives, rather than learning about the life of some other person.
Here enters the Affordable Care Act. As millions of people obtain health insurance, and millions more have someone they care about in that group, that personal lesson is being learned.
It will take time. It will take forever for some people, who will die believing the Tea Party is correct. But the cult of Tea Party conservatism will be destroyed, and the same Obamacare that helped start the disease may well help cure it.