Mr. Bush’s political feat was to bring together social conservatives, fiscal conservatives and moderates into one coalition. ...
“He did not treat conservative voters of faith as the red-headed stepchildren of American politics and in my view, no future presidential nominee is likely to do so again,” said Ralph Reed, the former director of the Christian Coalition. “He really mainstreamed the role of faith in our politics in a way that no one had really achieved.”
It reminds me of the clever guy at a party who brings together a few of his girlfriends and introduces them to each other and says, "lets have an orgy," and wonders why they claw each others eyes out instead. Sure it was an act of genius, they are still reeling from the massive catfight this brand of politics created within the conservatives. :P
As for the second paragraph, the reason no one had elevated the cause of the religious conservatives to national policy before is that most people in the country think they are crazy (if the question is worded narrowly enough as in not to net moderate Christians under the label). It is not an act of genius to do something suicidal- even if it got him some instant gratification, it really did a lot of damage to their brand name and woke a lot of people up to the great soap opera going on under the guise of a boring "lesser of two evils" political stalemate.
The excerpt was from the New York Times article: Republicans’ Mixed Emotions About Bush