This last Super Bowl is a classic case of how bad calls can put you in a hole.
On 4th and 13, rather than risk a long field goal that was within his kicker's range, Bill Belichek decided to go for it, and failed. It manages to top "kick to Devin Hester" in terms of poor judgment (I suppose the special teams coordinator for the Broncos will feel better). The result: No margin for error late in the 4th quarter, when the Patriots surely needed it. As a result, they emulated the 1942 Bears, rather than at least forcing the Giants into overtime.
Today, some very bad calls by the right have put the GOP in a hole. For the GOP, the problem was they allowed certain people to set the bar to a well-nigh unreachable level for any electable candidate. Jeff Jacoby has a good column about that matter.
Patrick Ruffini explains the fallout. Short version: The purity wars left conservatives split several ways. The alleged heretics who disagreed on one or two issues (Miers and immigration were two biggies) who got pissed off enough at the hard-liners decided to back McCain - along with his natural base of military voters, moderate Republicans, and independents. The rest divided between Romney and Huckabee.
Huckabee's attack on Sean Hannity is a classic case of the purity war gone out of control. Since this is Mark Levin, it's more a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
But the price has been clear: People like AJ-Strata and The Anchoress had been reliably Republican voters during the Bush Administration. When the Congressional GOP decided to let Ingraham, Levin, Malkin, and Noonan do their thinking for them, they began to say, "What the hell?"
Even McCain's win is going to have some fallout - and largely because of Huckabee. Huckabee's staying in for one reason, and one reason only: Stopping Romney. Article 6 Blog has some good analysis, and more fallout.
The right has gone non-linear, and that means that the GOP is in a hole. Worse, the result could be a Democrat in the White House, possibly one who will owe his nomination to the organization who gave us the "General Betray Us" ad, or his primary opponent, who voted against condemning the ad.
Conservatives blew the calls in 2005 and 2006. The price for that remains to be seen. If they do end up benched (which a McCain nomination would be), it is a benching that they have earned. When people with you 80% of the time aren't willing to support your preferred candidates, you have problem. People in the center just are not comfortable voting for the GOP as a party, but will support specific candidates.
The right screwed up, and needs to own up.