As a guy who's still registered as a Republican, it's not our ideals that were the problem, it's the people we voted for to uphold them. I mean, I have no doubt if Ron Paul were president over the last 8 years, the country would have a pretty decent opinion of conservative government policy (maybe thinking the man himself a bit of a nut, but he wouldn't care).
No doubt that the 2006 election is the clearest repudiation of Bush that we've seen, for a wide variety of reasons. Hyde, you're from the Ann Coulter wing of the right, and you do as much damage to causes I believe in as Michael Moore does for causes that liberals believe in. You're a shame to a decent cause. Fortunately for you, you're too stupid and too ensconced up in that mighty tower of godly righteousness to care about damaging the things you purport to care about.
(god I swear sometimes I love the sound of my own voice: that previous sentence is giving me a bit of a woody, and I wrote it! I shoulda chosen a bigger word for "stupid" but nothing came to mind so I went with it...)
One has to stop and examine political epochs and the general impression they leave with people who are rising to political awareness from the ignorance of their youth. For example, I became politically aware (pretty young, at about the age of 11) by the rise of Ronald Reagan. His populism and optimism, his belief in America, have been principals of mine ever since.
What George Bush has done to the Republican party over the last 7 years or so will likely erode Republican party support among younger voters such that it never recovers. Between a war that at best was unnecessary and ignorantly launched, a deficit that makes Lyndon Johnson's administration look fiscally ultra-right-wing, and his absolutely vapid leadership style, it will be remarkable to see anyone who grew of age between 2003 and now voting Republican unless they're beholden to the Christ-as-lawmaker, or the fatuous "liberals always suck" wings of the party. Those groups won't sustain the party long.
The only "hope" the Republican party has for retaining power in the November election is if Hillary Clinton successfully steals a nomination in which she has neither the plurality of states, popular votes, nor pledged delegates. Or if she's so successful at tearing down Obama that she convinces the general electorate (presuming Obama gets the Dem nomination) that "the devil they know" in McCain is better than the devil they do not in Obama.
Fortunately for the Republicans, that appears to be exactly what Hillary Clinton is successfully doing.
In my estimation, Hillary Clinton is not running for 2008 anymore. She's running to beat John McCain in 2012 by enabling Obama to get the nomination now, with so much collateral damage that he cannot win in November. She's setting the stage now to come in during 2012 and say "You guys tried with Obama and he lost to McCain, like I said he would, and look what 4 more years of Republican presidency has done! I will now save you if you do now what you should have done 4 years ago, and nominate me, in my infinite wisdom and experience."
You heard it here, maybe not first, but that's what I see happening.
"self-aggrandizing jackass" - it says it right on the label