After being denounced as a tax-and-spender and a pro-life liberal, Mr. Huckabee won four primaries in four Republican strongholds, including Alabama and Georgia. Mr. McCain split the frequent-churchgoer vote with Mr. Romney, and eclipsed him among evangelical Christians, even though the religious-conservative poobah James Dobson has promised to sit out the November election if Mr. McCain becomes the Republican nominee.
The failure of conservative voters to fall in line behind Mr. Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, among others, reflects a deeper problem for the movement’s leadership. With their inflexibility, grudge-holding and eagerness to evict heretics rather than seek converts, too many of conservatism’s leaders sound like the custodians of a dwindling religious denomination or a politically correct English department at a fading liberal-arts college.
Or like yesterday’s Democratic Party. The tribunes of the American right have fallen into the same bad habits that doomed their liberal rivals to years of political failure.
The Republican Reformation (New York Times, 10 February 2008)