America Loves Conservatism
So basically in 2008 you had people tiring of the Republicans, who weren't exactly acting like the torchbearers of conservatism, and electing Obama for a change, hoping all his empty rhetoric meant he'd just sit around and be smiley, and they'd have a break from all the bickering and the whiny hippies. But Obama went liberal, and, as is quite obvious now, people hated that. Hated that. Hated. Did not like. Thus you had the quickest change in the public's opinion of the president's competence since William Henry Harrison dropped dead thirty-two days in. Liberals just came in and started going crazy, demanding everyone's money and spending it on whatever they wanted -- they were like muggers but much, much more patronizing -- and it fired up the public's anger in record time.
Americans hate being pushed around in the form of government expansion or a bunch of liberal elites spending hundreds of billions of dollars when it's quite obvious none of them have the economic know-how to run a hot dog stand. And that's Americans everywhere -- even in Massachusetts! The recent election made that inarguable; the number one complaint of those voting Republican was the Democrats' health care takeover. Democrats worked hard toward achieving that holy grail of liberalism, and it got them the most stunning defeat since … well, ever.
So America loves conservatism and hates liberalism, but which has been the greater factor recently? The two do seem pretty intertwined, because a big part of conservatism is hating useless people who are convinced they should run everything, i.e., liberals. Still, if I had to pick one as the more powerful force in politics, it would be hatred of liberalism. While everyone hates patronizing dimwits who would spend their money and push them around, most people don't care enough to join a political movement and wax on philosophically about the principles of conservatism. Then again, not caring is actually kinda conservative. Still, it's not like you can build a consistent movement out of that and keep people interested when they have their own lives to deal with.
The best strategy to keep the public engaged is to expose liberals for what they want to do. Liberals will always try to hide it, but if people see clearly what liberals’ goals are, they're going to hate those and want to smash them. That will always be true while America is still around. Unfortunately, as we now see, the easiest way to do that is to put liberals in charge.