As Digby says, conservatism cannot fail. It can only be failed.

So now that we have one of the most conservative major parties ever to present a presidential nominee, running on one of the most conservative platforms ever presented by a national party, that nominee, Mitt Romney, is in danger of failing.

It’s time, two months out, to identify scapegoats. Because that’s how the GOP rolls. Having presented for the public’s consideration the author of America’s experiment in universal health care — call it RomneyCare or ObamaCare — who once said he’d be better for gay Americans than Ted Kennedy and was firmly pro-choice, the GOP may actually be headed for an historic loss, looking at the post-convention landscape.

They have nominated a non-conservative (for the second time in a row) and if the GOP goes down to defeat, it will not be the failure of conservatism. It will be because conservatism has, again, been failed.

This is actually an important distinction for the future of the GOP. If true conservative believers are convinced that it is Mitt Romney’s liberalism that lost them the presidency against an incumbent in a time of economic uncertainty, continued high unemployment, and quiet simmering race hatred, then there is simply no telling how far off the cliff the GOP will run after November.

Ann Coulter, human fromunda stain, first called this play eighteen months ago from a CPAC podium:

“If we don’t run Chris Christie, Romney will be the nominee and we’ll lose.

And now, here’s the liberal network’s Joe Scarborough, conservative former Florida congressman and arbiter of morning coffee-time discussion, this weekend:

“Romney will lose if he doesn’t dramatically change his strategy,” he said. “Negative ads won’t substitute for conservative ideas.”

The ‘Morning Joe’ host continued: “The Romney campaign is not conservative. It is just as cynical and risk-averse as Team Obama. A real conservative would be winning now.”

This echoed the Wall Street Journal’s excoriation of Romney and his campaign in July, which ended:

Mr. Romney promised Republicans he was the best man to make the case against President Obama, whom they desperately want to defeat. So far Mr. Romney is letting them down.

Last month, Dave Weigel predicted the theme of CPAC 2013, next February, should Mitt fail to unseat Obama:

If a Romney-Ryan ticket loses, Sarah Palin will appear at CPAC 2013 and confirm Bill Kristol’s column about how the watery, weak Romney candidacy failed Paul Ryan.

And it is in this climate that Mitt Romney proposes that voters be satisfied not with the details of his plans, which he won’t provide, but with his ‘principles:’

Mitt Romney argued Sunday that voters should have enough of a sense of his principles to have confidence in how he’d handle the nitty-gritty details of taxes, spending and health care as president.

This makes me think that Mitt Romney believes he can now become more vague about his plans, since he thinks voters know his principles. He may see that as a path to victory. But, with the right-wing of his party, and his party’s media, seemingly unclear on how he can win, I think we may have seen the high point of Mitt’s polling against the president in the rear-view mirror last week.