I'm reminded more and more of my old boss, Charlie Peters. Charlie founded The Washington Monthly magazine in 1969, and undertook to reorient a liberal movement that he felt had become hopelessly lost and inward looking. Charlie believed in a liberal vision for society--just not the means by which the Democrats of the 1970s and '80s were pursuing it. His philosophy became known as neoliberalism.
Think about that timeline. Peters started pushing what became known as neoliberalism in 1969, but it wasn't until Clinton took office in '92 that it really gained any political teeth. That's a 23 year gestation period.
Similarly, Goldwater's failed presidential bid in '64 needed 16 years before it burst forth in full flower with Reagan.
That's the kind of stint conservatives are probably looking at in the political wilderness -- two decades, give or take a few years on either side -- but that clock won't even start ticking until an actual movement starts forming counter to the current rabid Tea Party madness. So far, all they have is a few heretics running loose: Sully, Conor, now Frum, a handful of others. Nothing yet that can really be called a movement.
Not only are we looking at a two-term Obama administration, we could be looking at two terms for his successor, whoever they are.