Liberals are allowed to be as ideological as they wish, and the major media and too many among the unfocused public will mostly support them. The left is never told they must compromise their ideology when reality proves them wrong, or "work with Republicans and conservatives" to achieve common goals. That is the trap liberals set for conservatives, who are repeatedly told they must compromise their principles if they hope to win elections, but whose squishy politics then become as unappealing as cold oatmeal.
Here is the path Republicans and conservatives must take if they not only want to win, but bring positive change to the country. Instead of debating feelings and ideology with the left (territory on which they almost always lose -- recall "compassionate conservative"), conservatives should hold their opponents accountable. Are their policies producing the results they claim? Is the record debt good for the country? Are agencies performing as their charter demands, and should their budgets be reduced or the agency eliminated if it can't show results? Every government agency and program should be regularly required to justify, not only its budget, but its very existence.
Americans typically hate waste. It is why as children most of us were told to clean our plates because somewhere in the world there were hungry people. Requiring the left to prove their programs and policies are producing outcomes at reasonable cost would shift the debate from ideology and good intentions to reality. This is where conservatives have a distinct advantage if they will embrace it.