David Frum talks about his decision-making process for vetting Republican candidates, and hits a tremendously important point:
Through this campaign season, many Republican primary voters have asked the question: “Is Candidate X conservative enough?” Whoever can claim to be the stronger voice of protest against Washington has tended to win, even when that protest comes from a strange or suspect quadrant, as with Rand Paul in Kentucky or Sharron Angle in Nevada.

I’ve had a different ballot question in my head. Republicans got into trouble in 2006 and 2008 because we did a disappointing job of governing the country in the 2000s. Incomes didn’t grow, job creation was weak, wars were not won, we lost control of spending, and almost every major presidential initiative launched after the first 6 months in office floundered: Social Security reform, reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, immigration, healthcare.
The simple fact is that Republicans put themselves in exactly the spot in which they now find themselves -- and it wasn't because they didn't adhere rigidly enough to a set policy line, but because they did a fairly terrible job of actually governing, of making the hard choices about what was best for the country.