In assessing last night's results it is important to note that it was not a defeat for conservatism; it was a defeat for Republicanism, or at least, what Republicanism has come to represent. In the past 12 years, Republicans went from the party that promised "the end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public's money" to the party of the Bridge to Nowhere; it took control of Congress on a pledge to "end its cycle of scandal and disgrace" and went down in defeat as the party of Tom DeLay and Mark Foley.
Having abandoned its core principles, the Republican Party had nothing to run on this year, so its campaign strategy centered on attacking Nancy Pelosi -- a questionable tactic given that, according to some polls, more than half of the country had never even heard of her. ...
We will hear a lot of reasons for why Republicans lost this year. We will hear that they lost because of an unpopular war, an unpopular president, a culture of corruption, a traditional anti-incumbent six-year itch and a dispirited base. But one thing is for sure. Republicans did not lose on a platform of limiting the size and scope of government.
Quite right. Americans want smaller government, and they elected Republicans to give it to them. When their order wasn't delivered, they demanded a refund.