MAKING THE RANK-AND-FILE LOOK REASONABLE BY COMPARISON…. Jay Bookman notes a couple of interesting poll results this week, measuring Republican voters’ attitudes on some key issues.

Gallup, for example, found that almost half of the country’s GOP voters support repealing the existing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Soon after, the Pew Forum released a new report noting that a 58% majority of rank-and-file Republican voters believe the budget shortfall should be addressed through a combination of tax increases and spending cuts.

With this in mind, Jay noted that we’re looking at an interesting political landscape — GOP lawmakers are more conservative and ideologically rigid than their own supporters.

[Y]ou can’t get a Republican on the Hill to even utter the word “tax hike,” lest they be condemned as a RINO. The sole focus is on cutting programs (of course, in a general rhetorical sense that rarely gets down to specifics.)

On other issues, the gap between Washington Republicans and GOP voters back home is less dramatic, but still significant. According to Gallup, 40 percent of Republicans opposed extending tax cuts for the wealthy or wanted the cuts ended across the board, for everybody. Yet Washington Republicans were unanimous in demanding the cuts for the wealthy be extended. Forty-three percent of Republicans, and 38 percent of conservative Republicans, supported extending unemployment benefits, but again that division of opinion was not reflected at all in Washington.

In other words, it’s not merely that Washington Republicans won’t compromise with Democrats. They won’t compromise even with their own voters. The national party is in the grip of radicals who accept no deviation from the approved party line, and who demonstrate no tolerance for the broader, more reasonable range of opinions that exists within the Republican electorate they claim to represent.

Yep, that sums things up nicely.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.