As you read the various discussions, analyses, and finger pointings as Republicans struggle to understand just what happened to them, take a minute to notice that almost all of them reach backwards for a solution.
The religious right seems to believe they didn't push "social issues" enough, and the remaining "'94 Republicans" seem to be professing a belief that they have somehow abandoned "the principles of Reagan."
No matter which Republican group is making the self-acquitting explanations, all seem to rest on the premise that the answer lies in recapturing some past message or ideal with which they've enjoyed previous success.
After twelve years of a Republican Congress and six years of Congress plus Bush, does anyone have any doubt or question as to where Republicans stand on any issue? The problem isn't that the Republicans aren't shouting loudly enough or in the right language, but instead, that the problems and issues facing Americans have changed.
The current "kitchen table" issues, healthcare, drug prices, education, do not feel resolvable by an across the board tax cut, and it's become the general impression, that the bulk of those tax cuts do not benefit regular people. That Republican magic bullet now feels hollow.
I'll be curious to see which person or faction recognizes this first and offers vision on the Social/Domestic front.
(Ironically, if they'd really done it, "compassionate conservatism" could have matched this future as it did represent a look forward to these issues which are now on the national agenda.)