It's only been two and a half years since Hugh Hewitt wrote Painting the Map Red: The Fight to Create a Permanent Republican Majority, offering his "insider's blueprint" for an electorally-validated one-party state in the United States.
That's right, only thirty months, at most, have passed since Republicans and conservatives were last seen adopting the swagger of President George W. Bush, the man they proudly held forth as second only to Reagan in hard-nosed, brass-knuckled executive virility—and big- and small-D democrats alike fretted at the political and cultural consequences of such hegemony.
With that dream broken for the nonce, if not forever, some Republican partisans are dusting off—or sandblasting the rust from— their intellectual and analytical apparatus and, motivated by the abject desperation and bitterness that only a failed attempt to seize autocratic authority can bring, are making an earnest effort at the unfamiliar task of objective retrospection.
A recent Amazon review of another title had one thoughtful conservative scratching his chin thus:
Had social conservatives and economic conservatives only been bound together by common enemies? After Communism and Clintonism both vanished, the two groups have awakened and realized that neither has much to gain from the marriage anymore.
I will venture that most dispassionate observers of the Republican Party over the last twenty (forty?) years would have responses ranging from a simple "yes" to a forehead-slapping "duh!", but I wish to complement the embarrassment of our hubristic conservative neighbors by offering some prognostications of my own regarding the upcoming Presidential election. To maximize my chagrin quotient, I offer predictions for each of the two likely outcomes.