I still think one of the most important factors in why the Republican Party is the way it is today is because they spent so much time during the 20th-Century in the minority. From 1931 to 1995, the Republicans had control of the House of Representatives only twice, and both times they had it for only a single two-year cycle...
The history of the Senate is much the same. The Democrats took over the Senate in 1932 and held it with the same two brief interruptions (1946-47 and 1953-54) until the Reagan Revolution swept them into power in 1981. They lost their majority after the 1986 midterms and gained it back in 1994.
When you think of all the changes the country went through between 1954 and 1994, and you realize that the Republican Party didn't have much control over the federal government in Congress during all that time, it helps explain their pathological hatred of Washington DC. And, for conservatives, who weren't very keen on most of the changes going on in the country, the situation was even worse than for your polite Yankee banker Rockefeller Republican-types.
We're living with the accumulated bile of a power-deprived movement. It's no wonder that they act with the viciousness of a dog who was tortured as a puppy.
So what's the prescription for dealing with a "dog who was tortured as a puppy?"