There was at one time a large swath of American voters whether right or left leaning that made up a middle ground. It was the target of any politician running for office. It was a necessary function to appeal to that middle. Somewhere along the line the concept of promoting and campagning to the middle got lost. Maybe it was the "Contract for America" that set all this in motion I don't really know, but when the republicans signed on to that it seemed like they were signing a blood oath with the mafia. It's as if they had checked their morals at the door and all were to agree with their leaders no matter what. As they gained more and more power the idology moved swiftly to the far right where it remains today. The voters however are not as stupid as they might appear. But there is another factor here. It used to be that the political pendulum would swing quite slowly. With a core of politicians it was only the edges that gradually changed faces and the core people were focused on pleasing the center. They knew if they didn't they'd soon be out of office. Now in the last 15 or 20 years the pace of change has accelerated. Everything must now happen in an instant. A time frame of years is now expected to happen in months.
If the republicans ever hope to want to regain any power they're going to have to swallow hard and do an Oprah makeover the likes that has never been seen. Clinging to ideals to an ever shrinking base is not going to win elections. Specter put his finger square on their problem when he pointed out that there is no longer room in their party for moderates. To have Steele get up and say the party is looking for the hip hop urban and suburban folk is nothing more than trying to put tinsel on a turd. It still stinks. It's all become very clear that the republican party does not come close to representing the majority of America but a very small and elite class of wealthy. They are just trying to sucker you in to do their dirty work i.e. giving them more weath and power while you suffer and grow poorer.
America was fed up with what happened the last eight years and yanked the pendulum in the other direction. For the republicans to try and yank it the other direction at this point would be foolish. It's a guarantee for more lost seats in congress. If they don't change they will disappear. That's a basic law of nature. Adapt or die.