Icarus at Peach Pundit examines the modern state of conservatism as an ideology by pointing to this column by Jay Bookman, that also examines the modern state of conservative ideology.
Both are fantastic reads, if you follow any politics at all.
One major point, especially in Bookman's column, is that conservatives are better suited to be out of power than in power. This isn't a new observation. Fellow HR contributor Dante has often noted the strenght of the GOP as an opposition party.
Also, be sure to note the Bookman & Peach Pundit comments point that "Ronald Reagan would be considered a liberal by modern conservatives."
That says a whole lot in and of itself.