Kilgore nails the conservatives' core political problem dead-on: they believe a majority of Americans actually agree with their agenda.
[C]onservatives don't seem to have internalized the fact that every major conservative assault on the heart of the New Deal/Great Society legacy (Ronald Reagan's and George W. Bush's efforts to "reform" Social Security, and Newt Gingrich's drive to "contain costs" in Medicare) has failed dismally in the court of public opinion.
[Moreover], during both the Reagan and Bush years, public support for conservative efforts to make the tax system more regressive has declined steadily once the free-lunch assumptions of supply-side economics proved to be a fraud. And there has never, for a moment, been anything like a popular majority supporting the sort of broad-scale reductions in government services that could eliminate the fiscal problems associated with the conservative tax-cutting agenda. There's a reason John McCain's campaign based his fiscal-discipline message on the small but symbolic issue of appropriations earmarks, rather than the big-ticket "entitlement reform" that virtually all movement conservatives support. And for that matter, George W. Bush's "Big Government Conservatism," like its Reaganite predecessor, was an accommodation to public opinion rather than a gratuitous betrayal of conservative principle.
If today's conservatives succeed in convincing each other to embrace a more forthright message assaulting entitlements, progressive taxation, public education, regulation of corporations and Wall Street, just to cite a few domestic policy examples, they are almost certainly cruising for more electoral bruising.
In the same vein, these same conservatives have convinced themselves that an ideologically rigid and reactionary candidate like Sarah Palin is their ticket to victory -- a belief that's so far removed from reality that you'd expect it to be a prominent symptom in the DSM IV. Palin in 2012? Bring it on! Please! Poor delusional bastards.