Rep Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) says:
The fastest way to reassert our relevance is to focus on the basics. This must start with the size and scope of government and fiscal responsibility. The conservative vision of small government is effective only if that government is simultaneously competent, accountable and responsive.
There's a lot more about opposing the coming entitlement tsunami and broken Obama promises, but there is this idea.
George Will not too surprisingly points to St Ronnie as the answer:
The conservative ascendancy that was achieved in 1980 reflected a broad consensus favoring government more robust abroad and less ambitious at home -- roughly the reverse of Tuesday's consensus. But conservatives should note what their current condition demonstrates: Opinion is shiftable sand. It can be shifted, as Goldwater understood, by ideas, and by the other party overreaching, which the heavily Democratic Congress elected in 1964 promptly did.
It is my view that the Republicans have two choices, they can be the Party of Cultural Warriors or they can be the Party of Conservatism. The marriage is way too uncomfortable. The social warriors will insist on playing on the ground of anti-intellect and anti-science and theocracy, which is horrid for economic growth. When you place thought and technological innovation on top of American drive and determination you have economic success brewing within a reasonable framework. Business knows this, ignorance and superstition are alien to their model. Pragmatism rules successful businesses, nothing in the business world's environment is more critical than an ability to adjust to new trends and demands.
Social warfare is social conservatism in operation. Change and newness are the enemies. There are 'long' established ways things are done and that makes them right and proper. This explains the pre-eminence of certain Biblical books or passages from other's books to the exclusion of the entire message. This piece of the puzzle will not ever gain great influence in the country at large. It is anti-intellect and anti-science and scares the snot out of huge swathes of the nation. It does gin up tremendous emotional response, that is a very large problem for the movement - those emotions are in operation on both sides of the issues. Thinking that only a "base" will turn out is a mistake.
The laisse faire economic wing does have an intellectual basis beyond sheer greed, their difficulty is how it works in operation. When the facts on the ground flatly contradict your intellectual assertions your credit takes a beating. I do note that the advocates of small government have not actually ever had their ideology tested in full measure. Their difficulty is that the accrual of power seems to drive them into the direction of more governmental interference - with a different emphasis.
I offer the Republicans no advice, I am confident in their ability to eat themselves for awhile and I find that prospect entertaining as well as fruitful. Some Republicans are going to find ground they can work with Obama on, their future in their Party is open to question. Politics is a hard edged game, but there is also a measure that needs to be taken - who are your opponents and how to approach them. These are individuals and taking a hard line on the basis of a (D/R) guarantees mistakes of consequential effect.
It has been a Republican refrain that they are the Party of ideas and decency, the problem is that they keep proving to be neither. I am sure they can simply wait for the Democrats to become arrogantly overweening, but in today's Democratic Party that could take awhile. They can continue on the path of division, hate and fear driven politics - it is risky, it tends to bite back. Working on the basis of ideas puts them into the problematic position of there already being a Democratic Party. At this point I can't find it in me to with them well - not while we're going to be this busy cleaning up after them.