And we see this again with their sabotage of the auto bailout last night. As Carpetbagger sums up, Bush and the Democrats came up with a deal that won bipartisan approval in the House, and then when Senate Republicans created a few obstacles to poison the deal, the Dems gave them almost everything they wanted. But of course, this ISN'T what they wanted. What they wanted was to have political cover for killing the deal, so they could pretend that the Dems were being unreasonable. They had multiple reasons for not wanting this to pass, but they knew that it would hurt the party politically if they couldn't come up with some decent sounding excuse for why they were killing it.
But because Dems were desperate enough to make this work, they gave in, and then the Republicans were screwed. The Dems called their bluff, perhaps without even realizing it was a bluff, but rather than play along in the trap they had created for themselves, the Republicans went ahead and killed the deal anyway. And now, not only did they kill it without any proper political cover to protect themselves, they look like ideological crazies who fiddle while Detroit burns.
And that's not what they wanted at all, but they just don't understand how the game is played. They've got a few tactical tricks they remember being a part of in the old days, but they don't know how to properly set them up or what to do if they don't work. And the biggest problem for them is that they couldn't create a strong enough poison pill to kill the deal, as anything too strong wouldn't provide proper political cover, as they'd still look too ideological. And even as it was, their objections looked bad and weren't strong enough to give them real cover.
And more importantly, once their gambit failed, they needed to fold up their cards and move on. They didn't have to vote for it, but they should have let the vote happen. But again, they don't have anyone around who knows how the game is played, so they were stuck in autopilot and could only keep moving on their original course. And so they got the worst of both sides and don't understand why they keep coming out on bottom.
Of course, they killed the deal, which is all they really wanted; so in a way, they won. But I'm quite positive that they have no idea why they wanted it. Their wingnut supporters were demanding they kill it, but I'm sure they don't know why they wanted that either. The best they can do is to continue following the last orders they were issued and try to fit those orders into whatever situation arises. And they fail to appreciate why the orders stopped coming or why they were lousy orders to begin with.
The chicken's head was cut off years ago, but the body keeps running around anyway. And while the frenzy of activity is random and pointless, it's enough to screw things up anyway. And the best we can hope for is that the new Dem majority next year will be big enough that the few sane Republican Senators left will be enough to make the chicken irrelevant.