The infighting between the social right and the rest of the right is reaching...well, a fever pitch is far too strong of a term for what's essentially a national ideological passing of the buck. Anyway, Ramesh Ponnoru wants us to get our facts straight: it is beyond offensive to declare that social conservatives are in any way responsible for any of the bad things that have happened to the GOP. To prove this, he uses the only tool Republicans ever need to prove that Republicanism works: at some point, they won.
In 2002 and 2004, Republicans ran hard on social issues and the courts — and scored victories at every level of politics. In 2006 and 2008, they left those issues off the table, and got walloped.
You remember 2002! How Republicans at every level completely avoided foreign policy and terrorism, and instead ran on abortion and same-sex marriage. And you also remember 2004, where Republicans didn't run on character and foreign policy (again), and instead pinned their entire electoral hopes on same-sex marriage bans, with no other arguments or policies coming down the pipeline. Of course you do, because you're a smart person, and also because Ramesh Ponnoru is paying you.
There's a reason that Republicans are going to take forever to change what's wrong with their party - the party's constituted of magnificent liars with an unbelievable capacity for denial. Republicans never, ever lose. Ever. Republicans don't fail, it's that losers calling themselves Republican just aren't Republican enough. And when you take that core idea and then translate it to the many factions of the Republican Party fighting with each other, it becomes difficult to see how they're going to rectify a schism that requires someone, at some point, to admit failure.
Whatever the solutions are to the nation's problems, this is what gives me faith more than anything else that they're going to come from the left rather than the right - for all of our coalition's problems, there's a general realization that we can, in fact, fail, and that the failure should be met with something on the order of a change. The nature, purpose and correctness of that change are always up for debate, but the basic maturity required to realize that you can be wrong is something wholly missing from the current iteration of the GOP.
After all, real Republicans won every race they ran this year.