As a moderate with many liberal amigos, it was really weird to work for Republicans. Here I was, constantly told by my friends (1) What the Republicans were doing (2) How they explained the justification for what they were doing and (3) their real evil motivations.
And I actually knew different, and could usually prove it about the first two. When I heard from a UU pulpit (!!!) that the Republicans in Congress were plotting to privatize social security, I knew that information was largely wrong, both because I knew how ambivalent my clients seemed on it and because “Senior citizens scare easily and vote in huge numbers; don’t mess with social security if you’re worried about re-election” is a general Washington principle. (Second-term President Bush was the one pushing it, not congress. Especially not the House. Some folks, especially in the Senate, said good things about it, but not many. If Sen. Lindsay Graham isn’t on your side on your conservative issue, you’ve got problems.)
I’ve talked before about the many conversations I’ve had that ran approximately like this:
Liberal: "Head start! How could you POSSIBLY be against greater funding of HEAD START! Don't you CARE about the POOR at all? Or are you some sort of SELFISH CONSERVATIVE who doesn't care about kids in the inner city?"
Me: "Um... Head Start does sound really good in theory. Teaching kids during these formative years should have a permanent effect. But it doesn’t. When psychologists have studied it, they have shown that the effects of head start wear off. Even if you send a kid to the best nursery school in the world when you send them on to a badly underfunded inner-city school later, by fourth grade they are going to be right where the other kids are. So it seems reasonable to me to take the money you'd use on Head Start and use it to improve the schools at higher grades or do something else with it, because if what we're doing is wearing off, we're wasting the money now."
Liberal: "Oh. Well, I still disagree, but OK..."
And I had to correct several people who had heard about the Kelo decision and bitched about the conservative members of the SCOTUS who made it. (Twas the liberals.)
I don’t know as much about what’s currently going on in Republican heads as I used to, though I can typically make some reasonable guesses and ask around if I’m still unsure.
Politics is a weird field where everybody thinks they’re an expert and tells you so.
Now there are some good things about that, obnoxious though I personally might find it. In a Democracy, it is everybody’s duty to become to some degree an expert. A Democracy can’t run without an informed populace, after all.
To some degree, the same deal applies to UUism. Everyone thinks they are an expert on religion. We do have a pretty informed populace.
Unfortunately, this can lead to us being obnoxious about it, or being perceived as obnoxious when we were trying to be helpful.
Peacebang, as us politics folks like to say, “I feel your pain.”