“Rank-and-file Republicans remain, by all indications, staunchly conservative, and they appear to have no desire to moderate their views. GOP activists and operatives say they hear intense anger at the White House and at the party’s own leaders on familiar issues – taxes, homosexuality, and immigration. Within the party, conservative groups have grown stronger absent the emergence of any organized moderate faction…
‘My e-mail overfloweth,’ said David Overholtzer, a longtime GOP activist in western Iowa’s Pottawattamie County. ‘Amnesty is still very much a hot-button and gay marriage especially is here in Iowa. The view is that we’ve got to hold our legislators’ and governors’ feet to the fire.’
‘I’ve never seen the grass-roots quite as motivated, concerned and angry,’ said Steve Scheffler, the head of the Iowa Christian Alliance and the state’s RNC committeeman…
Asked about how a presidential candidate urging the party toward the middle on cultural issues would fare, Scheffler said flatly: ‘They’re not gonna go anywhere.'”
“At a recent listening session that Ryan held in East Troy, a constituent told him she was so disturbed by Obama she could hardly open her eyes in the morning.
‘I think he wants to destroy private enterprise. I think he’s really out to destroy this country,’ she said.
Ryan let the comment go, one of several he fielded over the course of six listening sessions that day from conservatives angry and exasperated over Obama and Democrats in Congress.
‘It’s like you’re their psychiatrist but you don’t charge them. They just want to get this stuff off their chest to you so they can vent. So just let them do it,’ Ryan explained later, paraphrasing the advice his wife, Janna, once gave him about handling what Ryan called ‘comments in frustration.'”