(Article changed on November 20, 2012 at 10:31)
Stuck dancing with the sclerotic herd that brung you
Beyond rightwing foment and self-flagellation, epic dilemmas bedevil all Republican dreams of regaining a national majority:
1) Fealty to manifestly discredited belief systems (cultural, economic, religious, and scientific);
2) Fealty to disgraced, ideological leaders whose arteries are hardening, rhetorically-suicidal and/or slow to get demographic "death spirals;"
3) Justified anxiety that "rebranding" different enough to engage newly-empowered centrists will alienate far more base zealots already feeling besieged from both sides.
4) Reactionary robber barons will keep afloat any "anti-business Obama" gang, whatever the setbacks, with plenty more billions to secure favorable permits, subsidies, laws, and deregulation.
In a nutshell, how does a party of insular, rigid true believers, thrusting warlike middle fingers towards modernity, talk itself into modernizing just because it lost one election? Aside from putting lipstick on a pig, where's the miraculous (earthbound) agency that modernizes angry, resentful Tea Partiers whose outrage targeted the very diverse, younger, secular crowds now crowning the future?
GOP loyalty to losers
On point, unlike liberal losers who politely leave the stage (nearly all but Carter and Gore since 1980), Republican flops and misfits endure for decades, poisoning hate media and Sunday talk shows, even wreaking havoc across GOP primaries. That Newt Gingrich, or shameless, still illiterate Sarah Palin types get to harangue anyone beyond pets, testifies to the unholy resilience of party-wounding blowhards. In fact, Mitt Romney looks to be the exception by getting the quick boot, but then his staggeringly dumb remarks justify exile to the W. gulag. Dick Cheney gets more respect.
What close observer thinks that rightwingers will adapt simply because minority status looms? In fact, authoritarian control freaks live off opposition, especially from upstarts with darker skins with less money (thus moochers voting themselves "gift' handouts). Face facts, as Mittens speaks for most Republicans (certainly hordes of over-compensated CEOs), his party is beyond "rebranding" but needing once-a-century reformation -- or more devastating national defeats.
Further, since Tea Party fanatics would rather fight and lose than switch, they won't abandon prime commandments. Certainly not 1) big government is bad government, except when killing enemies. Or 2) only low taxes guarantee growth and job creation (ditto, less regulations and red tape). That 3) states rights are still divinely-ordained (bring back the Civil War), or 4) Christianity is, let's be honest, the world's best, truest religion. And, finally, what reluctant reformers doubt 5) free-market capitalism isn't authorized by whatever Biblical texts defend profits, exploiting the earth, and infinitely expandable markets. Hands, anyone?
Disasters only blessings in disguise
Why should hard-hearted, religious fundamentalists, in lock step with economic fundamentalists called robber barons, reconfigure such magical thinking simply because unwashed minorities screw up popular elections. That'd be surrendering under siege, and good Christian soldiers reflexively distort momentary defeats into blessings in disguise, spiritual tests airmailed by God. After all, the big, cosmic truths are self-evident and fixed, and quick, selective historical readings proving majorities are far less perfect than the Good Book. Plus, the GOP is still armed and dangerous, knowing how to organize, collect billions, forge unanimity of thought, marry old-time religion with employment and regressive values, even do what Mormons once celebrated, "lying for the Lord." For more on the narcotic of lying, see Amanda Marcotte's excellent piece, "Conservatives' crisis of confidence."