Between the leave-me-alone Paulists, the neo-con bloc (which remains hardy despite setbacks), the big government "heroic conservatives", the know-nothings, the coporatists, the increasingly noisy evangelicals, and the emerging right-wing populists ("Christian democrats" indeed), the GOP is actually starting to resemble the "big tent party" it has claimed to be all along. Some of these impulses are temporary, but I suspect that the days of mindless Reagan emulation are over.
Despite the appearance of certain unsavory characters, I for one welcome this change. There's so much talk about the death of the old social-fiscal-defense coalition -- well, maybe that's a good thing. I don't think the traditional Republican loyalties are gone, they're just rearranged, repackaged: they must be accessed and exploited through novel means.
In this hyperactive century, it's critical not to fall back solely on the "tried and true", even if that's the old school conservative thing to do. Getting stuck in a rut is about the worst thing a party can do to itself. Aren't there new alliances to be formed, fresh dynamics to be created? Let's forget the retro act and have on with this brave new party. Gazing backwards doesn't maintain political capital, it allows it to dimish via stagnation. Forget that.