Jamelle Bouie makes the point today that having strong views doesn't necessarily mean you'll never compromise. So the mere existence of extreme tea party sentiments doesn't really explain why modern Republicans are so hellbent on never compromising their beliefs. But what does?
This seems to stem from an attitude that emerged during the 1994 elections and has only grown since—the idea that conservatives aren’t just opposed to liberals but that they’re at war with liberalism. It’s why Republicans have dismantled key norms governing Congress and other institutions (see: the filibuster and the 60-vote Senate), and have taken to opposing everything associated with the Democratic White House. If immigration has a chance, it’s because it isn’t identified with President Obama. And insofar that individual Republicans see it as such, they tend to be opposed.
For what it's worth, most movement conservatives appear to feel exactly the same way in reverse. They believe that Democrats don't view them merely as political opponents, but as enemies to be utterly destroyed. What say you, commenters? Is this true?