Jeremy Lott, sometime Reason magazine contributor, reports from CPAC for the UK Guardian on Rush Limbaugh's insistence that everything is just fine, always was and always will be, with contemporary conservatism:
The American conservative project faces a problem of faction from people "within our own movement seeking power to dominate it, and worst of all to redefine it," [Limbaugh] warned. And he wasn't having any of that: "The Declaration of Independence does not need to be redefined and neither does conservatism. Conservatism is what it is and it is forever. It's not something you can bend and shape and flake and form."
That captured the mood of CPAC to a tee. On the whole, the conservative movement views the last two elections not as a failure of conservatism but a failure of nerve....
But what if the American people think they had good reason for tossing the Republicans out of office? And what if they don't hold conservatism entirely blameless? Consider this exchange between Limbaugh and the fired-up crowd:
Limbaugh: Did the Democrats want the war on Iraq to fail?
Limbaugh: They certainly did. They not only wanted the war in Iraq to fail, they proclaimed it a failure. There's dingy Harry Reid waving a white flag: This war is lost! This war is...
The really really traditional conservative position--all the way back during New Deal I--might have suggested that the proper conclusion to that last line would be "....a bad idea and not essential to the defense of the Republic." But that's ancient history, just like the W. Bush regime, and a Limbaughian conservative needs to look forward. Let's let Republicans be in charge of wasteful deficit spending and managing everyone's life again!