True conservatives were also very disappointed with both Bush presidents. They talked a good game - particularly W - but their actions were contrary to everything they said.
My one caveat is that the people in the shadows are not elite. They think they are elite, and they may be powerful, but they are not elite. They rule by deceit and violence, not by any virtue.
They took control of our book industry and education long ago, but a few of us remember that the American Revolution was NOT pro-democracy or against the aristocracy. On the contrary, it was a Revolution because it was a full turning - it was the restoration of aristocracy - which is a word that comes from the Greek that literally means "rule by the best". Some idiot invented the word "meritocracy" to describe what made America different from Europe, thinking he had discovered something new - but it is just another way of saying "aristocracy" - rule by the best. America simply revived something very old.
America's founders had seen that Europe's hereditary nobility was failing, that many of those who inherited titles were not worthy of leading a picnic outing, much less a country. Thus they restored the true spirit of aristocracy and a true elite - one that was NOT based on family lineage, though naturally some families were more likely to have capable and virtuous members than others. They reestablished a system in which those with the finest character and greatest capacity for governance could attain positions of leadership, while also maximizing opportunities for ordinary Americans to make decisions for themselves. The closest thing that America has ever had to a noble family - because so many of their members acted nobly and virtuously and effectively - was descended from a tailor.
We need an elite - not so much to rule as to defend the right of the people to rule their own lives - to benefit if they succeed and to suffer if they fail, because that is the only way that things ever get better. The problem is that our so-called "meritocracy" has failed, just as Europe's hereditary "aristocracy" failed. The people claiming to be an elite now, are not. They are usurpers, they are pretenders.