Tom Frank puts his finger on something here:
The movement’s greatest idealists often turn out to be its greatest scoundrels—think of Jack Abramoff, or of Oliver North, or (as Rick Perlstein has pointed out) the gang of hard-right purists who signed up to do dirty tricks for Richard Nixon. In truth, there seems to be no real contradiction between conservative morality and following the money; to be a capitalist true-believer is to sell yourself.
Free-market idealism, after all, is about applying market forces to the state. This is what everything from Citizens United to toll-road privatization is all about. To be true to such a principle means respecting incentives, answering the call of money. And it ain’t small business who has the money in Washington these days.
A number of years ago I wrote about the market-minded men of the Bush era who did the bidding of lobbyists and who filled the federal agencies with hacks and fools, and I think my verdict on them still applies: “They did not do these awful things because they were bad conservatives; they did them because they were good conservatives, because these unsavory deeds followed naturally from the core doctrines of the conservative tradition.”
So the cycle goes on, uprising after uprising, an eternal populist revolt against leaders who never produce and problems that never get solved. Somehow, the free-market utopia that all the primary voters believe in never arrives, no matter how many privatizations and tax cuts the Republicans try. And so they seek out someone even purer, someone even more fanatical. They drag the country into another debt-ceiling fight, and this time, they say,they really mean it! But what never occurs to them is that maybe it’s their ideals themselves that are the problem.
From the planted acorn grows the oak tree, but then the insane compulsion of those who planted it to chop it down beause it didn't grow into a flowering dogwood.