We see it every election. The conservative candidate gets up and spells out everything wrong with the liberal position. And then he gets elected, and tosses it all to the wind. The same problems continue and actually get worse. The behavior seems irrational, because even the candidate is a hypocrite, it seems as if would be safer in a cost-benefit analysis to follow through on his promises, than to abandon them.
A democratic system requires that politicians cultivate voter bases. And the easiest way to cultivate such a base is by pledging to fight an ongoing problem that a great many people care about. But eliminating that problem would also risk eliminating the base that they're depending on. Which means that the key to political success is to keep the problem, while pledging to fight it. This way both sides can come back to their base on election day and demand their help. And then rinse and repeat every other election day after that.
Such deliberate political stalemates are often cynically cultivated in order to "farm" a given voter base. In America, abortion is a case in point, with politicians on both sides using it on election day, while generally doing their best to see that once in office the football doesn't move either way on the issue. But while this sort of political cynicism is obnoxious enough, what happens when only one side is committed to the stalemate? Essentially the same thing that happened to the French, the Poles and the Russians in WW2. Blitzkrieg.
Imagine one army is aggressively looking to conquer, while the other army is mainly interested in dressing up in uniforms and putting on a show for the folks back home. That is what's been happening to the conservative side on a lot of issues, as conservative politicians put on their shiniest medals and brassiest uniforms, blow horns and shot out a lot, and then retreat on the signal, and repeat the same thing again the next day. Because they're not really interested in winning. They're interested in putting on a good show for the folks back home.
Many conservative politicians see liberal policies as a political threat because they risk seducing away their voters. And so they fight a political war to hold on to a base, rather than an existential war to protect the country from the result of those policies. These politicians are also usually the first to emphasize "moderation", when they downshift from being firebrands, and to utilize "steal their thunder" solutions, in which they essentially propose watered down versions of those same policies. Because they don't actually want to alienate anyone. And they view ObamaCare in he US or immigration in the UK, as a political problem, not an existential problem.
The lack of forward momentum and new ideas, is among the most obvious characteristics of political conservatives. Because they're not interested in moving forward, but in farming the base. Occasionally they will try to steal the other side's thunder by co-opting their ideas and rebranding them in order to appeal to younger voters. That is the limit of their reach, and it is once again an attempt at political survival above all else.
They excel at telling voters what they want to hear, and doing it sincerely. But their goal is political success, either for themselves or for the party as a whole. They see their niche as catering to voters suspicious of change and eager to hear that someone will fight it. They just don't mean it, because as they see it, if they actually succeeded, they would find themselves out of a job.
And so they keep on saying things they don't really mean, because it's safer than saying the things that they do mean. Which is that they believe most problems can be solved with some good old fashioned horse trading, that both sides are basically the same, and that most politics are absolutely meaningless. They will often say these things in their memoirs when they retire and no one is paying much attention to them anymore. And that's the problem.
Politics without substance is fine as entertainment, when nothing real is at stake. There are times we can afford it, and laugh at the spectacle of corrupt politicians denouncing each other. But there are times when big things are genuinely at stake. When it's not just about swapping pork, personality clashes and a government car-- the usual things that so much of politics boils down to. There are times when the world itself, or at least the country is at stake. And survival means shaking up the corruption and getting serious about fighting back. It means sending away the shiny medals and gorgeous uniforms, and putting on khaki, and fighting the unglamorous battle against an existential threat.