I want all the True Conservatives(TM) who are still whinging about McCain's having won the primary, and get angry at every conservative leader who turns around and endorses McCain to understand the following:
You are complete hypocrites if you take any sort of amusement at the Democrats' current dilemma. Mostly because the only way to have kept McCain from winning the primaries would be for the GOP to have the same proportional representation and superdelegate primary system the Democrats have. Yes, the very same system that is currently causing the upcoming floor fight in Denver. Somebody is going to walk away from Denver mad, and with partisan identification numbers hovering in the 50-50 range, the Democrats can't afford that in the general election. Is this what you want for the GOP in the future?
Besides, I think it is much more fun to snicker at the Democrats from a position of the GOP having followed its own rules. So you might not be happy with the results? Given the list of candidates who actually ran, I doubt anybody would have made you happy, truly. If it wasn't McCain's amnesty bill, it would have been Rudy's gun-grabbing, Huckabee's, well, being Huckabee, Romney's past in MA, or Thompson's past. And Ron Paul? Fuggedaboutit!
Let's also forget about people who didn't run, or who dropped out before Florida. They either chose not to run for very good reasons, or dropped out due to this little complication called very poor poll numbers. You can't take nostalgia and sympathy to the bank and it produces no delegates come convention time. And if a candidate can't get delegates to the GOP primary, what makes you think they would win in the general election?
As for the True Conservative (TM) vote having been split, please add up the numbers for all those candidates, except Romney, who you could have lived with (Romney was a last-second decision and a marriage of convenience and you know it. If your favorite were doing better you wouldn't have given Romney the time of day). How many delegates would that mythical conglomeration of True Conservative(TM) have gotten at the convention? Oh, he still wouldn't have won, would he?
This is not due to some conspiracy by Rockefeller Republicans against the poor little True Conservatives(TM). Santorum? You have nobody to blame but yourselves, guys. Another major factor in the candidate list in 2008 was the deliberate targeting of electable conservatives by the Democrats and their Shadow Party. Shekar Narasimhan, the co-chair of the DNC's Indo-American Council? That was his son following George Allen around with a video camera, waiting to get his "macaca" moment. Also look at the relentless attacks on Jean Schmidt. And digging up the cats Bill Frist dissected in medical school? You gotta have a lot of money or a publicity machine bought on credit to find that stuff.
What's the way out of this situation? If Democrats start losing elections into which big donors put lots and lots of money and publicists put lots and lots of credit, eventually the money and credit will stop coming. If there is another Reagan out there, he or she can emerge from the safe Red State coccoon in which s/he is hiding, trying to protect what dignity s/he has from the Democrat attack machine. The Dems made their first mistake by making McCain inevitable as the GOP nominee. They have further screwed up by stabbing the Clintons in the back. Losing in 2008? That's strike three.
The only way forward is to deal with the situation with which you are presented, and move on from there. McCain is the nominee, and you will have to deal with it, or be no better than the "selected, not elected" fools after the 2000 election. If you want another Reagan, vote for McCain and get the attack machine out of his or her way, or you will have to settle for the moderate-but-scandal-proof slate of candidates for the foreseeable future.