The MSM and the conservative media said little about it, but the Republican establishment changed RNC rules at the 11th hour so Ron Paul's delegates would be disenfranchised and the convention would play out as a scripted coronation of their candidate, Mitt Romney. As far back as the beginning of the primary process the establishment has ensured that everything about their candidate has been scripted. They barred Romney from speaking live on conservative talk radio (the campaign offered surrogates instead), and they even disallowed media access to several key campaign events. The Republican establishment controls candidate Romney, and they would control a President Romney, whose cabinet would "operate like a board of directors".
The establishment wants everything that scares independents and libertarians away from the GOP. They want the police power of government to control what people do with--and put into--their bodies. They want military adventurism and the big defense spending that enables it. They want erosion of civil liberties in the name of national security. The establishment is banking on independents and libertarians holding their noses and voting for their candidate for the simple fact that he's not Obama. But independents and libertarians are so turned off by what the establishment supports that Romney trails in most polls to an incumbent who has presided over the worst economy since the Great Depression.
The Karl Rove strategy for the GOP is a zero sum game. The gains the party has made with evangelicals and neoconservatives is negated by the loss of independents and libertarians. And, as the older evangelicals and neoconservatives die off, the strategy will become a losing one. The 2010 elections were an anomaly based upon knee-jerk reaction to the nascent Obama presidency and the über-liberal 111th Congress. The Republican establishment will never repeat that success.
I'm thoroughly convinced that the United States will always have a two party system, and independents and libertarians must influence the Republican party in order to rise to prominence. The Republican establishment's obstinacy is frustrating and will cost the party more and more elections as the political disparity between the establishment and the average American grows. Unfortunately, all we independents and libertarians can do is continue running as Republicans and let nature take care of the evangelicals and neoconservatives. It's just a matter of time.