Instead, against establishment types who were national figures, the conservative movement flung preachers and pundits (Pat Robertson, Alan Keyes and Pat Buchanan), has-beens and losers (New Gingrich and Rick Santorum), and others still worse (Herman Cain, for example), who on second thought lost even conservative primary voters.

To deny all this reality, some movement types invented a conspiracy theory. The Establishment met at the Country Club on alternate Tuesdays to undermine all the upcoming Reagans (who sadly enough never existed). This is untrue, and it keeps these movement types from facing the real problem — the failure of the conservative movement to find and develop successors to Reagan over the space of the past 20 years…

When things worked less well for conservatives who lacked Reagan’s luck and his genius, they decided their failure was explainable only by sabotage — after all, how else could they lose? On the way, the Right developed a sense of entitlement (the Republican Party owed them a nominee of their liking); an embrace of victimhood; a habit of translating their tactical failure to win over more voters into a moral failure on the part of those voters for not sensing their value; and a belief that they can manage to win more elections by purging all factions (and people) not wholly in sync with their views.