This is a response of sorts to Brad DeLong's American Conservatism’s Crisis of Ideas: Project Syndicate Monarchy, Patriarchy, Orthodoxy Weblogging.
There is no crisis, Brad. Where we see problems in need of solutions - millions of people with no jobs and no jobs available for them, tens of millions of people without health insurance, millions of people working full time but still not having enough money to live on, crumbling infrastructure, millions of young people either not being able to afford college, or coming out saddled with unconscionable piles of debt, money in politics drowning out the voice of the people, millions headed to retirement age with 401(k)s without any money in them, people not having any sick days to take when they or their kids get sick so that they have to keep working anyway, you name it - they see stuff that they're basically A-OK with.
And ideas, in politics, are for solving problems that can, and that you believe should, be solved by some sort of governmental action. The conservative dearth of ideas is because they don't see problems, or believe that they should be solved through market forces and individual choices.
So in response to actual problems, you get conservative ideas like this: if you're poor, you must be poor because being poor didn't give you sufficient incentive to do something about it. So we'll take away what little public aid there was, because you need more incentive. The fact that there are no jobs out there, and that means of improvement like affordable education and training aren't there for them, isn't a problem in their eyes. Oh, maybe we should get rid of the minimum wage, then there'd be more jobs. The additional jobs wouldn't pay enough to live on, but they don't see that as a problem either.
When they regard something as a problem, they're creative and persistent enough. Rich people still have to pay taxes - that's a problem, so they keep pressing for more tax cuts for rich people. Corporations still have laws and regulations they have to follow - that's a problem, so they keep pressing to remove regulations. Poor people and minorities can vote - that's a problem, and they've been very creative in their attempts to solve it. More people vote for Democrats rather than Republicans, which would be a problem if it resulted in Democratic control of the government, so they've been attacking that with gerrymandering of House districts, and schemes to split the electoral votes of states that vote Democratic in Presidential elections.
But most of the stuff we see as problems, they don't. So of course they don't have any ideas about solving them. Sometimes political realities prevent them from straightforwardly admitting to not seeing something as a problem. In those cases they generally take the solution to one of their problems, like lower taxes for rich people, and claim it's really a solution to the problem the rest of us are grappling with. But that's just pretense.
So the absence of conservative ideas isn't a crisis for conservatives; it's the natural reflection of who they are and what they believe. It isn't a problem, so they aren't going to solve it. It's here to stay.