The Republicans have controlled the presidency and/or at least one house of congress for most of the past 26 years. They have controlled the House for the past 12 years. For the last six years, they have controlled both houses of congress and the presidency. They have precious little to show for it, other than a lot of rich lobbyists and congressmen, but it is nevertheless an impressive political achievement. Let's consider how they have done it. The modern Republican Party has been a combination of five clearly defined core groups: --country club/big business republicans. The refined frontmen and financiers of the party --Evangelical Christians/family values proponents. The foot soldiers of the republican revolution. --low tax/opportunity society/small business voters. Middle america meets the Cato Insitute. --traditional paleo-conservatives/national security types. Pat Buchanan, we still love you. --neo-cons. Small in number but the big thinkers. Unlike the Democrats, whose various interest groups either get along or are at least broadly sympathetic to each other, the Republican coalition has always been an uneasy alliance. They share little, except a desire to wield power. Several of the groups, for example the neo-cons and the paleo-conservatives, despise each other. Country club bluebloods typically loath the Evangelical wing. The low tax crowd resents the family values faction's desire for non-supply side tax cuts, like child care credits. Etc, etc. President Bush was in many ways an ideal Republican candidate because he brought so many of these factions together. He was a blueblood, an Evangelical, a tax cutter, a defense hawk and his advisors were all neo-cons. The coalition began to unravel over Iraq. The traditional neo-con/paleo-con battle lines began to form beneath the surface. The big spending congress and the sight of Bush pushing big education and drug benefit programs infuriated the low tax and paleo's. The Dubai ports deal left all but the country clubbers scratching their heads. The Meirs nomination sent the Evangelicals over the edge and off the plantation. Bush's insane backing of amnesty for illegal aliens was the absolute final straw for all the paleo's and for many of the middle america/family values voters. Then came the recent election. A tidal wave of scandal, inept campaigning, poor strategy from the national party and of course Iraq doomed the party and left many of its supporters wondering why they were wasting time on a bunch of inept crooks and conmen who couldn't seem to get anything of value passed anyway. Now a weakened President has all but surrendered preemptively to the Democrats. His one silver lining? He can now get his immigration amnesty passed by the Democrats. I predict this will be the final straw that dooms the party to permanent minority status. A third party anti-immigration presidential candidate in '08 is inevitable. The Evangelicals likely will lose interest in politics. The Democrats may have wised up enough not to push culture war issues that will rile them. Since the Republicans did nothing for them anyway, why waste all that time and effort going door to door for them? Losing even a small number of this group will spell defeat for the party. The neo-cons are a spent force. Never large in numbers, the Iraq debacle has cost them any remaining credibility. The paleo's have never been fans of the Bush dynasty. They certainy will not rally behind a McCain candidacy. He is pro immigration and has a record of selling out conservatives. The country clubbers and low tax forces will likely stick with the Republican candidates, but they will not be enough to carry them to victory. The country club/big business types are eager to get along with whoever is in power, and the low tax advocates face the daunting statistic that half the country doesn't pay taxes anyway. Republicans could well be facing decades in the political wilderness, as they did in the 60's and 70's. The next Republican Party to control the congress will by necessity be far different from the current model. They may elect a president when the democrats send up one of their typical loony left candidates, but that will be an aberration.