Wasn't it Rove who told the Republicans to ignore the conservative base, because they had nowhere else to go anyway?
Instead, he & his cohorts kept positing the party needs to pander to what "independent" voters supposedly want, which to hear them tell it is big government & Demmie policies like amnesty.
McCain pandered shamelessly to this imaginary electorate, advocating amnesty & energy rationing. He also pandered to the media by backing restrictions on free speech. Romney, a far better candidate, still could not address the actual issues other than to make a blanket promise to repeal Obamacare without articulating what was really wrong with it.