The strongest and most powerful high-level strategy of the conservative movement has been to keep the conservative movement "on message", and to make the Republican party identification secondary to that message. This strategy entails that the movement is going to lose some elections (Carter, Clinton, 2006 congress, etc.), but it also means that a lost election is not a defeat, merely a setback.
This strategy has additional benefits. Even when the Republicans lose an election, the continued power of the conservative movement still affects the behavior of Democrats. We have only to look at Clinton's evisceration of welfare, his sacrifice of labor rights and environmental concerns to his free trade agreements, and his support of the blatantly anti-free-speech Communications Decency Act. The spinelessness of Democratic politicians continues precisely because there isn't a principled progressive movement underlying the Democratic party's electoral success.
I don't read many conservative or Republican sources, but I never see any Republican politician or movement conservative trying to promote compromise as an intrinsic virtue. Rather, every compromise is presented as an incremental gain for the overall goals of the movement; compromise is not itself a principle, it is merely what the conservatives have to put up with until the scourge of liberalism is someday eradicated.
I often see liberal and Democratic blogs take the Republicans to task for "pandering" to their base. It's of course important to note precisely to whom Republicans are pandering, but the notion that politicians in general shouldn't pander is preposterous. I don't know about you, but I want my politicians to pander to my political beliefs, and I do not want my politicians to ask me to pander to their professional limitations. If they want me to pander, they can pay me $165K/year.
Yes, I vote for my politicians knowing that they're going to cut deals, but I want them to come to the table asking for the whole cake, not giving half of it away before they even sit down.