The conservative era has ended with “a resounding, bone-rattling crash,” said Rod Dreher in The Dallas Morning News, and “now the scattered and demoralized armies of the right will turn on each other.” This is a new era, and conservatives have to face the "failure of ideology" that produced this defeat. "The duration of conservatism's exile from power depends on how long its civil war lasts—and who wins it."

The first thing Republicans need to do is disown "Comrade George W. Bush," said Deroy Murdock in National Review Online, and the Republican congressional leaders who helped him betray conservatives by spearheading "the most aggressive federal expansion since Franklin Delano Roosevelt." The GOP is supposed to be the party of small government and free markets! It can't "regain America's confidence—nor should it—until the guilty parties have been cast into the nearest volcano."

Accusing Bush of betraying the "true faith" is an increasingly popular conservative refrain, said Jonathan Chait in The New Republic. But that just shows how poorly Republicans understand why voters rejected them. And the fact that so many GOP stalwarts remain smitten with Sarah Palin, "the most Bush-like figure conceivable," just shows that the future of the Republican Party will look a lot like the present.