Baehr's review also criticizes Rand's "purism," which, he says, "brooked no moderation around the edges of the philosophy she developed."
Ayn Rand trusted ideas more than political parties. But for ideas to have impact, movements need to have political power. The Democrats have been better than the Republicans in recent years at selling their message and disguising their identity (Obama as the moderate post-racial candidate who would end the partisan wars in Washington) and expanding their tent, in order to win elections. They have run pro-life candidates, military veterans, and small government types in conservative leaning areas, so as to make characterizations of the statist nature of the Party more difficult. In the debate within the conservative movement, at the moment the purists seem to be winning, driving out those who cannot check off all the ideological boxes. It is, I think, a recipe for intellectual coherence, and continued electoral defeat.
I believe Baehr is largely correct in his criticism. Intellectual purism doesn't work in a democracy, because the voters who decide elections tend to non-ideological and pragmatic in their orientation. Moreover, under a democratic system, compromises must be made in order to reach the consensus necessary to get things done in legislative bodies. Purism, when taken too far, serves merely to insulate and remove its proponents from the political process.