"...conservatism lacks effective political leaders to clearly articulate the case for conservatism, such that we never have a true referendum on conservatism."
Actually, we did have one of those. Reagan. Ever since, the spineless R leadership has shunned success. Bush 41 caved to the Dems who promptly crucified him for (wait for it) .... caving to the Dems. Bush 43 only looks conservative next to Obama. McCain is a good man, but not a good conservative. Romney ATTACKED his conservative base and was all over the place on Obamacare. Boehner and McConnell have been officially listed as examples of invertebrate species.
Let us hope that Jindal, Rubio, Cruz and more can make the case. Looking forward to this very uphill battle.