Jay Livingstone observes:
"the Republican leaders' obsequiousness to Trump after they'd passed the tax bill ...Paul Ryan: "Something this big, something this generational, something this profound could not have been done without exquisite presidential leadership.” Mitch McConnell: "Mr. President … this has been a year of extraordinary accomplishment for the Trump administration."
This despite Trump having insulted them on Twitter ("Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan." "Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn't get it done.”) … I wondered how these leaders, public and important men, could fawn like this. Don't they know what they look like? Don't they know how others see them?
My sociological spider sense tells me to think about them the way we think about any small-group culture. American sociology, since its early days, has shown how groups develop a set of ideas about what they do, especially when what they do is seen by others as strange or wrong. Howie Becker's essays on marijuana-using musicians in the 1940s may be the best known example. … [T]he question implicit in Becker's Outsiders and all those other studies of deviance in groups: How do you insulate yourself from the perceptions of others?"