For Michael Barone and Ramesh Ponnuru, conservative principles remain empirically true despite elections. The growing revolt against tired tax-and-spend policies embodied in the Tea Party movement and recent electoral wins for conservative candidates seem to indicate Americans are remembering their conservative heritage, the one that understands the growth of government inherently restricts personal freedoms.

“I’d say conservatism is in the early stages of what could be a robust recovery,” said Ponnuru, a National Review senior editor. “I think there remain some very strong conservative impulses on the part of the public, and the material to build a center-right coalition is out there.”

Barone, one of conservatism’s stalwarts, borrowed from Mark Twain: “The rumors of the death of conservatism are greatly exaggerated.”