As a good Millian liberal, I turn the mike over to John Emerson:
Honest Conservatives Should Shut the F--- Up: I think that when the "honest conservatives" reject Bush they're just setting up their assault on the Democratic president they expect to see elected next year. Their way of digging themselves out from under the Bush disaster (and obscuring their own massive role in that disaster) will be to swear that "Never again can an American President be allowed that kind of free hand!" This will justify their fighting the new Democratic President tooth and nail for every inch of ground.
For example, Bush's politicization of the career staff in Justice and elsewhere was a very bad thing, no? And certainly this kind of thing has to stop, no? So we will forbid the new Democratic President to interfere with career personnel, with the result that all of the political hacks Bush put in civil service positions will be untouchable. (When that happens, can we expect the media to understand what's going on? No, of course not. Can we expect the Democrats to understand? Not really, but this is one area where I'd trust Rahm Emmanuel. Send a hack to catch a hack.)
Now that they've stolen the horse, they're going to lock the barn door. It's just like January 2001: once Bush was inaugurated, the media and the Republicans decided that sabotage by impeachment and Gingrichian nastiness are really very bad things after all. So now the same people who worked so hard trying to impeach Clinton for almost nothing are telling us that it's unthinkable to do anything serious about Bush's much graver crimes.
In the long run we need a two-party [or multi-party] system, so ultimately we want the Republican Party to be rebuilt on sane, civilized principles [or replaced by a different, non-insane party]. But let's not rush into this. For the moment our task is to boot the Republicans out of office and start repairing the damage they've done.
The role of the sane conservatives in this will be to sit in the back of the room with paper bags over their heads and their hands folded quietly on their laps.