There's a deep conviction among conservatives that it's not the message that's wrong, but the messenger. Mitt Romney, like John McCain, is too leaky a vessel for their hopes. He's tainted with the sin of past compromise and lapses in conservative orthodoxy. Even though all of the deep crimson conservatives who piled into this season's competition foundered so badly that they could not win a majority of votes even from highly conservative Republican primary voters, the right is convinced that if the banner of conservatism were only held by pure hands, they would gain the victory they richly deserve. Presumably by capturing all those conservative Democrats out there.
The inability to move the electorate solidly into the conservative camp is especially frustrating because the Republicans have the one thing on their side that is supposed to ensure an easy victory. In short, the economy sucks. With this Excalibur of issues in their hands, they expected to slice through the incumbent administration like government surplus cheese product. Romney was selected for this fight specifically because, even though the rightest wing if the party didn't trust the ex-gov's purity, the merely righter GOP voters believed Willard's prowess with high finance made him best suited to wield this weapon.
But extreme and ultra-extreme Republicans alike got it backwards on both counts, and that's what so exciting. It's not the messenger. It's the message.
With apologies to H. L. Mencken, the Republicans are about to go bust by underestimating the intelligence of the American public.