Kevin Drum at Mother Jones has the GOP completely pegged:
When it comes to a modest tax cut that mainly benefits middle-class workers, Republicans had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the table, and even now insist that any extension has to be fully paid for. But when it comes to the Bush tax cuts, which are huge and primarily benefit the well-off, they fight for them tooth and nail and bristle at the very idea of paying for them. Funny, that. It’s almost as if the only tax cuts they really care about are ones for the rich.
I don’t remember who first said this, or where I first read it, but the GOP’s motivations can be boiled down to just two words: Cheap Labor. Keep the workforce poor, or on the brink of poverty, and limit their economic mobility so they’ll remain willing to work cheaply and enrich the wealthy with their labor. That’s pretty much it. If they pretend to embrace “family values,” or fundamentalist religion, or patriotism, it’s only for purposes of marketing. If they object to the work of the mainstream scientific community, or to people’s exercise of civil liberties, or to government transparency, those positions can all be traced back to cheap labor. If it promotes cheap labor, they’re for it. If not, they’re against it.
That’s the pattern. It explains GOP positions that are otherwise inexplicable. Take a look for yourself and see if the current political landscape doesn’t become more coherent and understandable.