Every time liberals win an election, a victory defined as a shoveling a Democrat into office, their intellectuals indulge in an odd, portentous imputation. They believe that the conservatives have lost in a very significant, very meaningful way, and that this loss is attributable to some dramatic failure in the conservatives' onto/epistemo constructs. They write well and often insightfully, but what it boils down to is that the conservatives have lost because they have bad cess in their heads, the poor things, and the bad cess has interacted with numinous forces to cause their defeat. It follows, then, in a scholarly enthymematic progression, that liberals have won because they have good stuff in their heads. The numinous forces have smiled. Needless to say, the conservative intellectuals indulge in the same game. However more of them get paid, they get paid more, they say "emergent" less often and they have a better understanding of their place in the food chain. They too elide a systemic critique, but more of them understand that's a job requirement.
In the recent election, the victorious liberal candidate out-fundraised, out-organized, out-charmed and out-maneuvered everyone who got between him and the presidency. There was no epochal clash of ideologies. An enormously talented, very good looking man sailed right by a sad collection of mentally unbalanced hacks, in his own party. On paper, his policies were quite similar to theirs. He was, simply, the better politician.
His conservative opponent had been delivered a bed shat in over eight years by Cheney-Bush and measured for him by Corporate Procrustes, who was determined to make sure it never fit, no matter how hard the poor sap abased himself. He had no principles left after a lifetime in politics, and no ideas with which to contest. So he offered up his self-regard. In the end, he became the useful idiot for a minor celebrity. No loss, none at all. Procrustes can work with Obama through the super yuppies from the Hamilton Project (motto: Your people, sir, is nothing but a great beast!).
It was a farce. The heirs of John Kenneth Galbraith did not square off against the heirs of Russell Kirk. Just try to imagine any of the popular pundits so much as referencing them in support of an argument, never mind attempting to explicate their ideas. Al Gore offered more ideological content in his loss to George Bush. There should be a clue in that. Hip urban intellectuals swooned over a man who read Stendhal. No one else was moved. Gore was ridiculed and subjected to endlessly petty, ideologically empty calumnies in the media. His supporters dutifully tracked all of them down. He rewarded them by caving in a noisy and craven fashion. Any takers on a bet that Barack Obama has read Galbraith? But he wisely stuck to platitudes and to being good looking. He won and as has already been made abundantly clear, his supporters can expect no more in his victory than they got in Gore's loss. To drive it home to them, he's using Rick Warren in the same way George Bush used John Bolton at the United Nations: as a living, breathing insult.
There is no crisis in American conservatism. The Republican Party has a human resources problem, a public relations problem and a brand identity problem. Talent is thin. They need to recruit. The brand needs to be adjusted to fit the needs of the organization in a way that does not alienate the consumers. The beshat bed left by Cheney-Bush has a new occupant already. Their revenue stream is secure. The managerial core is demoralized, but capable of seeing this through. It is a proud corporate concern with deep roots in the community. It can and will offer a robust, scalable nationwide management solution, with improved moral hygiene and fewer Big Gubmint calories than ever. If needed, and as needed, they can count on a hand up from their colleagues, offered for the good of the country, in the same spirit that got them the votes for the Iraq war, the continued funding of it, the Patriot Act, its extension, the slow sabotage of the factory farm schools, through NCLB, and their replacement with pay-to-play targeted training, the "self-regulating" financial services industry, the War on Drugs, the conversion of manufacturing to services, services to temping and temping to taking out loans for reeducation, etc. etc. A kindly hand, with many dimes in it to be displayed as tokens of managerial rivalry.