Maggie Gallagher

That's the heart of what failed -- and as Carville said, it failed spectacularly this cycle. "It's the middle class, stupid" is the inelegant title of his debate.

When a party decides it dislikes its own base, it has no pathway to succeed. When a movement decides the problem is the American people, it has announced its own death knell.

The biggest conservative failure was in not defining for voters why the economy collapsed and how President Obama contributed to its continuing deficiency -- and how a new GOP president would make them better off.

In the absence of a serious and persuasive public argument, voters stuck with the guy who seemed to be on their side.

Conservatives still have some serious thinking to do.

Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.