Score one more for the Law of Unintended Consequences. In 2008, voters hungry for new ideas chose Hope and Change. What they have now is an extreme example of the ancient phenomenon of closed-mindedness.
What Newt Gingrich is encountering fits perfectly the sociological definition of Groupthink “that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive ingroup, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action.”
Republican opposition to the Obama Administration has morphed from wall-to-wall resistance to every proposal to a quasi-religious fervor that punishes even talk of apostasy as harshly as the Spanish Inquisition ever did.
Appearing before the head of the Tribunal Rush Limbaugh, the sinner Gingrich pleads that his Meet the Press reference to “right-wing social engineering” was misunderstood:
"It was not a reference to Paul Ryan. There was no reference to Paul Ryan in that answer."
When Limbaugh demands to know why then he called Ryan to apologize, Gingrich grovels further: "It was interpreted in a way which was causing trouble which he doesn't need or deserve. My answer wasn't about the budget, and I promptly went back to say publicly that I would have voted for the Ryan budget."
As a preview of the 2012 primaries, such self-flagellation removes any suspense from the campaign since no one but Ron Paul will be saying anything to offend Tea Party theology.
One sure sign of how toxic deviation from the party line has become is that sly Democrats have taken to praising Mitt Romney, Mitch Daniels and other moderate Republicans to stir up doubts among the GOP faithful. Just the kind of thing that used to go on in Salem.