If you want an idea of how completely brain-dead the conservative movement is, you desperately need to read this post from Patrick Ruffini.
It starts strong:
If you want to get a sense of how unserious and ungrounded most Americans think the Republican Party is, look no further than how conservatives elevate Joe the Plumber as a spokesman. The movement has become so gimmick-driven that Wurzelbacher will be a conservative hero long after people have forgotten what his legitimate policy beef with Obama was. [...]In these serious times, conservatives need to get serious and ditch the gimmicks and the self-referential credentializing and talk to the entire country. If the average apolitical American walked into CPAC or any movement conservative gathering would they feel like they learned something new or that we presented a vision compelling to them in their daily lives? Or would it all be talk of a President from 25 years ago and Adam Smith lapel pins?
And then it ends . . . um . . . not so strong:
This is why I love Newt’s emphasis on finding 80/20 issues and defining them in completely non-ideological terms.
That’s right; the man to bring the right-wing out of its addiction to gimmicks and icons of the past is—Newt Gingrich! I could see someone arguing, perhaps, that these gimmicks are clever gimmicks but the idea that they’re an alternative to gimmick-based politics is insane.
See also what Chris Orr says here.