How did American conservatism end up so detached from, indeed at odds with, facts and rationality? For it was not always thus. After all, that health reform Mr. Romney wants us to forget followed a blueprint originally laid out at the Heritage Foundation! [Gary: a conservative think tank]
My short answer is that the long-running con game of economic conservatives and the wealthy supporters they serve finally went bad. For decades the G.O.P. has won elections by appealing to social and racial divisions, only to turn after each victory to deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy - a process that reached its epitome when George W. Bush won re-election by posing as America's defender against gay married terrorists, then announced that he had a mandate to privatize Social Security.
Over time, however, this strategy created a base that really believed in all the hokum - and now the party elite has lost control.
Thus we see conservatives screeching incoherently, conflating religious liberty with birth control--when said religious freedom actually isn't threatened by women controlling their bodies (hint: it's only the male-dominated patriarchy social construct that's threatened).
Also we see the righty base seemingly voting against their own self-interests: demanding smaller, cheaper government with less taxes, all the while saying keep your hands off my Medicare and Social Security...and also all the while looking the other way while the party elites keep pushing deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy.
All this dissonance makes my head hurt.