Chait's schadenfreude would be almost unbearable if I did not share it myself:
[M]ost elite Republicans understand that the red meat fed to the base isn't exactly right. It's useful to scare the daylights out of the activists, but writers for the Standard and the Journal editorial page understand that "freedom," as most people understand the term, is not really at risk. They understand as well that politics is a little more complicated than "if Republicans stay true to conservatism, they cannot lose."
But the conservative base is not in on the joke. And so Republican elites found themselves with just a few frantic days to undo the toxic and intoxicating effects of 20 months of relentless propaganda. Vote for the man who compromised with evil!
The cynicism of the neocons and Straussians in whipping up the masses they think are useful for the republic can occasionally, it appears, backfire. You have Yuval Levin sounding like Mark Levin on Adderall, while Kristol and Krauthammer and Rove suddenly try to put the brakes on the O'Donnell and Tea Party express. It's a cognitive dissonance too far. One day, even the tea-partiers will understand that these Village pundits and activists have as much quiet contempt for them as they do actual religious believers. And then maybe conservatism can find a serious voice again.